Noticed a lot of New Year resolutions revolving around food + diets? Yup, me too. The thing I’ve understood as I get further into my recovery is that the more balance the better + in case you aren’t sure what that looks like, it means cutting out the “good” food and “bad” food talk. Let me explain.
When I made the decision to get the real help I needed for my eating disorder, I welcomed a whole new world of change into my life. Sure, I had to give up behaviors + thoughts… but I quickly realized those weren’t the only things I had to give up if I really wanted to turn my life around. My treatment team explained to me that using particular words about food + my body were only hurting me. Some of these words were as simple as; good, bad, fat, skinny, healthy, junk food, etc. These are words we’ve been using to describe food since I could walk. Hello…. Can you say re-programming?
I wasn’t convinced at first that this was something I wanted to do. After all, wasn’t there such a thing as good foods, bad foods, skinny people, fat people + junk food? Possibly. But the thing I had to embrace if I wanted to stop OBSESSING about what I looked like, when + where I could get my next exercise routine in, if what I ate for the day was “good” or “bad” + counting calories was just that. So I tried giving up these simple describing words in my daily lingo + slowly but surely, it shifted my mindset.
I learned which foods counted in my intake as a “protein”, “dairy”, “ fruit”, “vegetable, “fat” (no “healthy fat” talk here guys), + grains (not carbs). *You might be reading this thinking… I don’t want to talk about food in this way, that seems extreme + that’s perfectly O.K. I am simply sharing what worked for me to change the way I think about food + my body. These words I used to describe my foods were called exchanges by my Registered Dietitian + I embraced them fully. I taught my roommates, family + close friends these words + asked them to talk about food the same way I did to help me make this shift in my life.
When my now husband of 2 years + I started dating, he had a challenging time making these changes talking about food. I explained to him that I needed his support if we were going to cook together, meal prep on the weekends + enjoy dinner dates out. He never struggled with an eating disorder + in fact had a very healthy relationship with exercise, his body + food… I just needed him to get behind me + support what I needed to shift my mindset around food. It took a very long time to re-program my brain when thinking + talking about food but I did it. It takes constant practice + now 6 years into my recovery I still choose to talk about food + my body using these chosen words because it helps me to stay away from that slippery slope of knowing certain foods are taboo or preferred. I simply have a well-balanced intake of foods that fuel my body + mind.
The words I use to describe foods now are; fresh, tasty, delicious, flavorful, well-balanced + so on. I steer clear of using words to describe any bodies as skinny or fat + embrace all body types, promoting mental + physical well-being. If you want to learn more about the way I’ve changed my thought process around food + my body, leave a comment here or drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you!
Happy RE-SOLUTION making + don’t forget to be kind to your body.