“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” -Virginia Woolf
It feels like it’s always been there. That niggle. The voice. You know, the one that says “you shouldn’t have that”.
The voice that shoulds all over a nice meal. The one that labels the things we eat as “good” or “bad”. I don’t even know where it came from. But it’s always been there.
To be honest, I feel like this post is really only skimming the surface of not only my journey, but my thoughts on wellbeing as a whole. I’ve already touched on this internal shift I felt earlier this year. You can read about that here.
I’ve also talked about my eating disorder before. I was the girl who ordered a salad at a beautiful restaurant because I was not only trying “to be good”, but I was so afraid people would judge me. “No wonder she is fat when she eats like that,” is what I thought they’d say if I ordered something I really wanted. The pasta menu was never even considered. I would secretly binge on “bad food” to fill a void that was never ever going to be filled by anything that came in a packet.
Just a small glimpse into the distorted way my mind would take over.
Then the world of wellness came along. And I immersed myself wholeheartedly in its teachings. I lapped up every word. I felt better about myself than I ever had before. I lost weight, found clarity and found a whole new version of myself. It felt good.
But I ended up switching the word “dieting” for “way of eating”.
Still labelling. Still restricting. Still shoulding.
About 2 years ago, I found myself leaning into vegetarian-ism. Then one night, I was CRAVING meat. I ignored it. A few weekends later, every single fibre of my body was calling out for some lamb that my Mum had beautifully prepared. But I resisted.
I don’t eat that anymore.
Rules. Restrictions. Labels.
And a few weeks after that, it hit me. Why on earth (for NINE whole months) was I denying my body something that in that moment would have brought me so much pleasure, joy and nourishment? Why was I ignoring what my body was calling out for?
I was done.
It’s taken a little while, and I have had to practice hard and sit in some serious discomfort, but I finally feel FREE when it comes to food. Food no longer consumes me.
Now, I feel like I should preface this by saying that what you do with food is your business. The way you eat, the type of food you eat, what you do or do not eat – that’s your journey. Not mine. I am not here to judge anyone else’s relationship with food.
Ok, back to me. 😉
PLEASURE. That’s what I was missing, lacking and craving. I had been operating from fear. Will this make me fat?
Will this be considered unhealthy?
Will others judge me for eating this?
Will I judge myself for eating this?
Is this *insert “way of eating” label here* enough?
Most food that passed my lips had some kind of negativity behind it. No matter how “healthy” the food is, surely that’s not good for you?
I had forgotten what it was like to eat for the JOY and the LOVE.
For the past few months, I have let it ALL go. I don’t even want to use the word “indulging” because that creates a negative connotation for me. Instead, I have been ENJOYING. Like really enjoying. Every single bite.
I eat with intention. I eat to satiate my appetite, and stop when I feel comfortable. And every bite is nourishing my body, filling my heart and healing my relationship with myself. It doesn’t matter so much what I’m eating, but how I’m eating. And that’s with love.
I finally listen to my body, rather than someone else’s teachings (or the stories I kept telling myself). Of course, I seek inspiration in recipes (cookbooks are like crack for me), but I no longer hide behind the labels I once felt so restricted by. An obsession with health can also be a distorted way of living (any obsession is really).
I am grateful for the Wellness Industry and to anyone who spreads a message of health. For a time there, a lot of society lost its way in a sea of processed, packaged food and quick-fix meals or diets (it’s still happening) and the wellness warriors of the world reminded us to come home to whole foods and natural ingredients. #grateful
But now it’s time to let my body lead the way. Her pleasure is now what drives me. No restrictions. No labels. No fear. Zero guilt, and zero fucks. Just good quality, beautiful food.
And in doing so, I am rewarded with a happy, healthy, content and whole vessel to live this life in.
Certain foods (for now) are still rarely seen on my plate, but not because of a label or because someone else is or isn’t eating it, but because at this moment in time, my body simply doesn’t react well to it (having said that – if someone places some Fromager d’Affinois in front of me – you can bet that I will devour it and deal with the tummy upset later!). Organic Sourdough, something I used to fear (I can’t believe I was afraid of bread!), has become one of my favourite things to eat. #breadislife
I want to fill my body with the best ingredients possible (I’m not interested in random unrecognisable words in my food), but that means eating all of the food, rather than less of it. No more being scared of anything related to carbs or sugar or gluten.
I have found the simple delight of food again. And I truly believe it has been reflected in my body, mind, skin and vitality. It’s a work in progress, sure. And I will continue to have to bring myself back to love if I slip into old habits. But trust me, joy and pleasure is so much more fun.
I feel amazing. My body feels loved from the inside. And self kindness has never felt (or tasted) so good. Follow your heart and trust your body. It knows.
Life is for living, not limitation.