I have pretty much always had a weird, disordered relationship with food. I learned at a young age that certain foods were bad, certain foods were “good” or preferred (but rarely wanted) and that there was only one speed to eat your food- FAST. This wasn’t taught to me intentionally. The people around me were victims to diet culture and all it took was me noticing their relationship with food to begin building beliefs around it.
I remember watching the women in my family diet, binge (or should I say “cheat day”), and repeat. We didn’t have much money, so we often ate fast food because it was cheap and easy. There was no preparation time involved. My single-mother worked a lot and did not have the resources while working and going to school. This is no shade to her or any other single-mother in this situation. I cannot even fathom how hard it is. With all of this being said, cheap and easy food was frequent in our home and when we were doing well, and had enough money to survive, my mom would often splurge on diet food so that we could finally become the skinny females we were always meant to be. She tried to do what she thought was best, and that is noted.
I learned at a young age that food would be a coping mechanism for me. I continue to struggle with my “feel good fix” and I am getting better. It was not until very recently that intuitive eating became something I saw as a lasting solution to my rollercoaster relationship with food.
I have been so, so, so happy as of late. I have been actively working on my self-esteem, self-love, and body positivity. I have changed the words I hear, the photos I see, the words I speak, and the thoughts I think. I have actively been making better choices in many parts of my life and I am reaping the benefits every day.
Despite these great things, I have come into a particular time of “hardship” when it comes to money. I have chosen to work fewer hours. This has left me with fewer healthy options for food. Rather than feeling sorry for myself (which I did for a while) I decided to work with what I have: cheap food that comes from boxes or cans, frozen meat, and the occasional apple.
I know very little about the rhetoric around intuitive eating but I know what “intuitive” means, and I certainly know what “eating” means. I decided to do what works best for me with as little resistance as possible. I know that if it is too much of a change for me, I will fail miserably. I have come to terms with the fact that slow is fast and fast is slow.
So, how did I begin to “intuitively eat?”
I grabbed a box of regular mac and cheese, a can of chili and cooked myself some chili mac:
- I turned off my phone
- I turned off any sounds in the background (radio, podcast, etc..)
- I didn’t look at my phone while eating
- I didn’t watch tv while eating
- I concentrated
I went through the process mindfully. I made myself ONE bowl, I grabbed ONE flour tortilla, some regular sour cream, and sriracha sauce. Once my serving was portioned out, I put everything else away. This was a sign to my brain, “This is the only serving you get.” Then, I sat down and ate. I did nothing but chew my food and listen to the birds chirp. I ate ONE bite of food, chewed thoroughly, and repeated this until all of my food was gone. I can honestly say that is the first mindful meal I have ever had in my entire life. I finished all of my food. I felt comfortably full but not stuffed. I also felt incredibly proud of myself and hope for my future with food was revived. I can maintain a healthy weight no matter how much money I have or the quality of my food.
It was a liberating moment to say the least. I honestly felt the tether and fear around food loosen. I felt a certain weight lift off of my shoulders. It was a path not usually taken but it actually worked out. It was most definitely foreign and I reached for my phone several times. I didn’t die though. I survived.
This whole “body positive” thing has been invaluable in my life. I can now honestly say that “diet food” is a thing of the past for me. If I simply sit and mindfully eat a meal, I can eat all types of food anytime I fucking please. I can do this by reminding myself that I don’t need to eat it all because I can (and will) eat some later. This isn’t a “cheat meal” or a “cheat day” in which I have to get my jollies in before the clock runs out. I can eat this tomorrow, too. Lastly, I’ll never have to utter “Oh my God, I’m so bad for eating this cupcake.” I’ll just eat the fucking cupcake, enjoy the fuck out of it, and move on with my life.
What a fucking thought,
The Curvy Broke Girl
A Body Positive Blog