I myself have gone through a long hard struggle with my relationship with food, that began in high school. Just like many of you, high school is a difficult time where you are trying to fit in and make sense of all of the changes that your body is going through. Even for the strongest teens with the greatest support, it can be extremely hard to feel OK in your own skin at this time, never mind love your body! This is where dieting, and diet culture seems to come in and offer the cure for all of your insecurities. It promises to make you beautiful, popular and loved. I am here to tell you that dieting fails at every single one of those things! It makes you more insecure, and you become obsessed about calories, carbs, dairy, gluten, sugar, and every ounce of food you have or have not eaten. This leaves no room for fun, friends, family or quality time with yourself! This is NOT how life is meant to be lived, especially in your teen years, which should be fun and care free! Trust me there is enough things to worry about as an adult, high school and all of its drama should not be one of them!
Unhealthy food relationships and disordered eating have sadly become a normal part of many young women’s lives. Many carry this on with them into their marriage and adult lives. They try all of the latest fad diets, failing at every one of them, and with each failed attempt, deepening the hate and mistrust that they have for their body. For me it was just trying to make sense of all of the negative body talk, and “food facts” that flow around us all day long. How are we supposed to know what to eat, when every month they are telling us something different? What is actually good for our bodies, and what should we do to feel our best? I have tried cutting carbs, counting calories, cutting dairy, vegetarian, vegan, detoxes, juicing, eating at certain times of the day, and the list goes on. But Guess what? None of them made me feel better, maybe at first I could trick myself into believing that it was making me feel better, but it didn’t last.
Then there is the time factor. How do you juggle, working full time, having a social life, having time for yourself, taking care of things at home AND taking the time to prepare and eat a nutritious diet? It took me years to find the balance that I have now, and it is still work in progress. The number one thing that I have found is PLANNING. This is huge! I set aside 1 day that I can plan the meals for the coming week, get the groceries that I need, and then meal prep. For me this came gradually, starting with planning only 1 day a head. This meant that I knew the night before what I was going to make for dinner, and then grew from there. Planning meant that at the end of the day when I was tired and hungry there was something ready to go for dinner, that wasn’t pizza, take-out or ice-cream. Which were all things that at one point been frequent dinner options for me. I found that planning meant less stress for me, and saved money on impulse food costs. I started to really enjoy experimenting with recipes and learning how to efficiently prepare dishes ahead of time so that they could just be popped in the oven or slow-cooker that day and cook while I did other things. There were definitely some failed suppers, but that just meant finding ways to make it work for the next time.
Meal planning had become a regular part of my life, I looked forward to this day and enjoyed it. I had really found a love for cooking, this shocked my family. How could this horse crazy girl, that didn’t even take time to eat before now love cooking? But I did! I loved the challenge of making something tasty from what was in the fridge and changing recipes to suit my preferences. This got me looking into the function of food, and how it works in our bodies. After years of believing whatever I heard on the media about our diets, I was tired of guessing. I knew going back to school was the way to take the guess work out of it and learn the facts. Elevated Learning Academy was awesome, so many of the myths that I had once believed were “debunked” and I learned a healthful way to nourish my body to feel my best. After experiencing it all first hand, I have developed a passion to help others that are struggling. Change is hard, especially habits that have been ingrained in you for years But small changes are the way to go. I have learned that every day is a new opportunity to grow and take small steps towards a better, happier, healthier you!