Personal: My Relationship With Food
*WARNING – This post contains embarrassing and at times, personal images of myself that I don’t often share with people as I’m actually pretty ashamed of them. What better way to put it in the past than whacking it on the internet for all to see, ay?*
*WARNING #2 – This post is NOT about fat shaming, or skinny shaming, or any weight shaming at all. It’s a personal post that I wanted to share and I don’t want readers to think I’m fat shaming people over 10 stone and skinny shaming those under 8stone. This is about my size, my relationship to food and my journey. If you’re going to take it as anything other than that please don’t read it.*
My relationship with food has been turbulent to say the least. I was chubby when I was younger (even if my mum says I wasn’t – thanks mum), then I went very skinny towards the end of secondary school (about 7.5 stone), then 18/ uni/ drinking multiple times a week happened and this meant I ballooned, not massively, but enough for me to look back at photos and be like, woah, nahhh. Uni years I was probably at my heaviest, close to 10 stone, and I felt it. I wasn’t really exercising, I drank excessively, I ate shit and at the wrong times and it just wasn’t a good lifestyle.
April 2009, close to 10 stone. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate this photo. It genuinely makes me want to cry
I started going to the gym in my third year at uni after a summer of working out and eating better and shifting a few pounds at home. I just didn’t realise at that point that going to the gym, but still having a ridiculous intake of calories, meant my weight wouldn’t increase, but it didn’t decrease either.
September 2009 – approx 9.5 stone
I left uni, I got myself a job I wasn’t happy in and dropped weight again, as I don’t eat when I’m stressed/ upset and spent my evenings taking out my emotions on the treadmill. Roll forward to 2012, I got myself into a decent job and much happier place, old eating habits returned and that’s when I started looking for the quick fix.
Truly awful photo of me, but this was a size 6 dress that is so small my friend’s 11 y/o sister can’t get into it
I tried a couple of quick-fix diets; Special K diet, cutting out carbs, eating between certain times etc etc but none gave me the results I wanted. I then tried the 5:2 diet, which saw me plummet to 8.5 stone in about 8 weeks, might sound like a long time but it really wasn’t. I started loving how quickly the weight was dropping off, but then the obsession started and I thought that I just needed to move a couple more pounds, that I was skinny, but not skinny enough. I kept on that diet for about 9 months and I started looking ill. Bones were sticking out, I wasn’t eat properly on the days I wasn’t fasting to see if I could lose more weight and, in the end, it just wasn’t the right diet for me.
I eventually weaned myself off it, because I could see it was no longer healthy, and again, because my calorie intake had increased (obviously) on my two fast days, my weight increased. I was back up to the mid 9 stone mark and I was unhappy with the weight gain – I ALWAYS gain weight in my face and I get puppy fat cheeks.
The final mark was Christmas 2014, I went to Amsterdam with my boyfriend for New Year, ate ALOT of there and came back sluggish and not happy with my figure. I knew something had to change in 2015 and I knew what my downfall was. I had been working in the PR department of a gym which meant I was prive to a lot of insider information and knowledge and I knew what needed to change.
I had two areas to focus on: diet, and exercise.
Exercise was easy, I upped my cardio in the form of running regularly (gym and road) with sporadic HIIT workouts too, and I also started going to spin classes. I HATED spin when I was younger and now it is, by far, my favourite class at the gym. You get sweaty, you get breathless but you feel so damn good after it. Also, I incorporated more weights with my cardio sessions. Now, my gym routine consists of anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes cardio and then equal, if not longer, on weights. I work abs, biceps, triceps, legs and back and I’ve noticed such a difference from it. I get inspiration for weight exercises from magazines such as Women’s Fitness and Health & Fitness, Instagram snaps from the likes of Emily Sykes or The Body Coach or simply googling ‘bicep exercises’ or ‘core exercises’. It doesn’t need to be expensive to get help.
My diet has changed in a massive way. My first change? Instead of restricting any foods, I cut out the snacks and meals that I knew weren’t good for me. No one is that stupid, you know when something is good for you and something isn’t. Snacking on an apple is better than chowing down on a bag of sweets, half a plate of potatoes with a handful of greens isn’t right, and a salad at lunchtime is always going to be better than a soggy carb and fat filled cheese sandwich. I don’t restrict what I’m eating, I don’t count calories (that much, there’s still a bit of that in me from the 5:2 days), but its more portion control and what goes on my plate. I up protein and vegetables, reduce carbs (but still have them, I think they’re important for refuelling) and I always try to eat wholemeal. It’s the little changes. I cut out my ‘cheat day’, instead opting for a ‘cheat meal’, which means I can have a decent dinner of what I want with a dessert if I fancy it as I’ve still been good all day.
I stepped on the scales after New Year and I had gone from 8st 13 to 9stone 3, I had gained 4pounds. I went back onto my healthy eating and exercise and guess what? 3 weeks later I’m back down to 9stone. My BMI is perfect for my age/ weight/ height and my body fat percentage is at 15, I’d like to be back down to 12%, which is what I was at in Summer last year but I know it’s achievable with time.
2015, just under 9stone I think
I was convinced when I was younger that it wasn’t possible to lose a decent amount of weight without restricting yourself, and I’ve realised through what I’m currently doing that that just isn’t the case. The 80/20 way of eating works really well for me. My goal is to be at about 8stone 11 or 8 stone 12, comfortably under the 9stone mark, and I know, with exercise and healthy eating, I’ll get there. At the moment, I’m happy with my relationship with food, and that’s a massive achievement considering how much I used to hate it.
This doesn’t mean I’m happy with my figure. Although not diagnosed, a lot of people think I suffer from body dysmorphia as I just don’t see myself as skinny, never have really. When I look back at photos, I know I was, but I just don’t feel it when I’m in the present moment. It’s another one of those things that I have to work on but a word of warning to people, skinny shaming is just as hurtful as fatshaming. Be mindful when you say that someone is attention seeking if they say they look big in an outfit when they don’t in your eyes. I say this a lot when I get dressed up, and people tell me I’m being stupid or that I’m too thin as it is or similar, but it’s genuinely how I feel, and it shouldn’t dismissed with a hurtful, throwaway remark.
Thanks for reading,