First we eat, then we do everything else.
There is a lot of confusing information out there about what we should eat. It seems to go in trends, just like fashion, or the seasons. One day something is bad for you, the next it is the trending ‘super food’. No wonder most of us struggle with our relationship with food. I don’t think it will get any simpler any time soon either.
Personally, my nutrition, or diet (though I have grown to dislike that word) has been one of my greatest battles. I have tried multiple different ‘diets’ in the passed, in the hopes that one of them would make me more energetic, leaner and therefore happier. I found that when I felt most insecure about my body, that was when I attempted another diet that promised those things I searched for.
My lowest low was ironically when I was training towards my first Fitness Show. In order to step onto the stage and look fit enough, with everyone scanning me, I knew I had to change my lifestyle drastically. The first thing to change was my food. I started seeing food as numbers and macros (How many calories? How many carbs? How much protein?).
I kept a diary to record everything that passed my lips each day, instantly feeling guilty if I went over my planned intake. As a result, I became very stressed and isolated. I said no to brunches and dinners, as I was so strict on my diet. I felt incredibly lonely.
The moment I stepped onto the stage I learnt three things:
- 1. There is only one ‘winner’. Everyone else is left feeling like they didn’t do enough. Would that extra workout at the gym have made a difference? Should I have starved my body of carbs days earlier?
- 2. The fitness industry can focus on looking fit and healthy. This may be the complete opposite on the inside.
- 3. I was no happier.
That was a huge turning point for me. A much needed one. I made a serious decision about my relationship with food. I started treating food as fuel for my body and mind. I wanted to put nourishing, colourful, tasty food into me so I would feel better.
I am still very mindful of what I eat. But I a6m much more realistic and kind to myself. I focus now on eating the rainbow, and fueling my body for the day’s energy demands. I feel much more energetic, confident within my body, and free. I feel happier.
When you start eating food without labels, you no longer need to count calories.
Take Home Note: Learn to see food positively. There may still be days that you struggle. Try the 80/20 guide: 80% healthy food and 20% whatever you like!