No one ever taught me that I needed to develop a relationship with food. Actually, my relationship with food surfaced without my own knowledge and crept up upon me with no warning. You see, it doesn’t matter if you care about your “relationship” with food or not, or if you deny even having one, because the truth is, a relationship with food is an inevitable factor of life.
The hardest thing about the addiction of an eating disorder was that unlike any other addiction, you can’t quit food. And while my eating disorder swayed between bulimia and binge eating disorder, the essence of my problem was an innate fear of food. Without even knowing it, I had a love / hate relationship with food. Kitchens scared me, meals taunted me, and I avoided showering or being naked at all after a meal, fearful of how I would look bloated and disgusted at myself for having “indulged” in a meal or a binge. I tried quitting food. It didn’t work and instead it launched me into the cycle of binge-starve-binge that controlled my every move and thought.
You can’t avoid food. You can’t go cold-turkey on a food addiction, even an addiction as in my case to control food, because without food, we die. If you have anything other than a healthy relationship with food, you live hour-by-hour haunted by reminders of food around every corner. Perhaps it’s the candy jar on your co-worker’s desk, or the lunch-out that you must eat in front of others, or maybe your lack of portion control on carbs at night after a long day. Food provides us company, solace, and pleasure, but the moment our relationship with it looses its equilibrium is the moment that food stabs us in the heart.
A negative relationship with food is like any negative relationship: toxic. As in all relationships, work is required to develop a blossoming, healthy cohesiveness; with the right willingness to embrace change, a toxic relationship can be transformed. Relationships mold us. The transformation of my relationship with food from a negative, toxic relationship to a positive, carefree and healthy one hasn’t just changed my body, but it has renewed my mind. For me, finding freedom in my relationship with food, that is, actually finding joy and pleasure in food, freed my inner relationship with myself to be fully alive. As a result, my confidence soared and the pathway of my life changed completely.
Food is a wonderful thing, in balance. Everything is permissible to eat in moderation.