At 14 weeks pregnant I had a realisation that, I hope, will change my approach to food forever.
I am 34 and for as long as I can remember, I have had a TERRIBLE relationship with food. I play it off to friends and family as being “health conscious” or “fuelling my body” or just “being aware of what I eat”.
What it really is, is an obsession, a control issue and an inability to enjoy food and what it means.
I track everything to know how many calories, fats, proteins and carbs I’m consuming, Then all of a sudden I’ll binge eat something because I’ve restricted myself from it for so long.
When I was doing Crossfit I did it “to perform”, when I was weightlifting I did it “to make weight” now that I’m pregnant I’m doing it “to make sure I’m eating enough”.
This is all BS. I do it because food terrifies me and because I often have no self-control. I think that by planning out what I’ll eat in a day that it’ll stop me from overeating. However, when I see a few leftover calories I use it as an excuse to eat more – even when I don’t need to – which then results in overeating.
I sometimes try to avoid going out for dinners with friends because the food at the restaurant scares me. Other times I’ll go to a brunch with girlfriends and eat so much and pretend that’s just how I am because I love food and it’s totally normal. Even when I’m not hungry.
I eat when I’m not hungry, because I know that soon I’ll tell myself I can’t eat X, Y, Z so I have to get it in now.
I also use the pregnancy excuse, and I allow other people to tell me that too. However, my baby is the size of a small beetroot and this excuse is utterly pathetic – my unborn child does not need extra Nutella, he/she needs good, healthy and nutritious food.
I want to improve my relationship with food because the last thing I want to do is pass this unhealthy obsession on to my child. I don’t wish this on anyone and I want my baby to see me enjoy dinners with friends, enjoy the process of cooking good food for my family and not restricting anything.
So what am doing about it?
I made the decision today to stop tracking my macros. I think it is an amazing tool for people who really understand food, for people who are genuinely eating to perform and for people who use it properly.
For me, it fuels my obsession and not in a good way. I eat when I’m not even hungry to fill my calories. Then I over eat and don’t log it so it “doesn’t count.”
From today, I am going to start really listening to my body:
- Am I actually hungry?
- Do I really need to eat half a jar of Nutella in one sitting?
- Does this food give my body what it needs?
- Are there people you love round the table? If so, the food doesn’t matter.
But also: one treat is not the end of the world, just stop at one.
I am sure there are many of you reading this who have experienced this in some way – more or less severe.
I want you to know that you’re not alone. You’re not broken. You’re not disgusting.
Your intentions are good, perhaps just a little misdirected – as mine have been for the longest time.
Food is good! Food brings people together, food shouldn’t control our lives.
For me: I need to learn the difference between wanting to eat and needing to eat. I need to learn to listen to what my body REALLY needs.
I also need to be OK with treating myself, EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE!
I know this process won’t be easy. But I know that the result will be worth it. To pass on healthy habits to my child and hopefully to help and inspire others in the process.