In relationships, we all just want healthy and happy ones. But, unfortunately, sometimes they’re not. Whether it’s with your boyfriend/girlfriend, family, friends, housemates, profs, fellow students or coworkers, your noisy neighbours, not all relationships are the best.
But … What if that bad relationship is with yourself and food?
Elizabeth Gilbert knows how awful an unhealthy relationship can be. From her phenomenally best-selling memoir Eat Pray Love Liz shares her story of a yearlong journey around the world. After realizing she had lost herself in her unhealthy relationships with modern “successful” life (marriage, house, career) she takes the time and trip to find what she really wanted: Self-love and life balance.
I love food, but I often find myself hating it as well. There is no balance, it’s either one or the other. And granted hearing that from an avid foodie — who loves dining out, cooking and baking, grocery shopping, watching videos or movies, reading cookbooks, and with endless food accounts followed on social media — it may sound odd that I can also hate food. And the main cause for my love-hate unhealthy relationship with food? My foodie-body.
Similar to Liz’s loss of self love in her unhealthy relationships, I struggle with a loss of self-love in this unhealthy relationship: Loving being a foodie but hating my foodie body.
Bodies have become commodities. Something that must only look beautiful, not something that needs to feel beautiful. This makes for a damagingly unhealthy relationship with ourselves and our bodies. For me, my obsession with food came from this social view: That I will only feel beautiful and happy if I look beautiful, not by doing what makes me happy. In my case, I will only be beautiful if I do not enjoy my love for food as foodies do.
This mind-frame is absurd. That I as a foodie can only be either happy or beautiful, not both? I think that we should be able to do whatever we want and be beautiful and happy, not shamed or guilted, when we do. Our self image needs to become something that creates healthy relationships with our bodies, not something that makes us feel ugly or ashamed of how we look, and certainly not something that makes us feel hate for ourselves from doing something that we love.
We need to start learning to be okay with our bodies as they are. Now, not everyone can travel the world to learn self-love and balance like Liz did — I so wish! However, the lessons she learned we can start on our own. Right now.
Here are five ways to start a better mindset of yourself and your relationship with food.
Only Have the Best
When you eat the best, you will feel the best. Instead of choosing to have some crappy quality of the food you want, take the time and care to find the best version of what you can have. Quality over quantity, baby. That way, you won’t feel as bad for having a scoop of that authentic gelato because you knew it was the best you can get.
Share Good Food
We’ve probably all have heard this and don’t want to believe it but it’s true: sharing is caring. If you find a new cafe that serves the tastiest coffee and croissant combo, after trying it for yourself, you’re gonna tell your besties about it, all the while saying, “you just gotta try it.” When you share this new find you’ll feel even better about the now frequent little coffee breaks. Some things are too good not to share.
Turn Eating Into an Experience
When eating becomes an adventure every aspect of it becomes a little better every time. Food should be a tour for your tastebuds, a trip that makes you come back for more. Trying a new place, finding new flavours, checking out the latest food trend, etc. In turning mere eating into an eating experience, everything turns into something you won’t want to miss out on.
Don’t Regret Indulgences
Of all the things you can feel guilty about, eating should not be one of them. Instead, change your thoughts to relish in the pleasure of the meal rather than regretting having loved that pasta so much. Think: “I don’t want to look back and say ‘I could’ve eaten that.'”
Accept the Love
This is the most important guideline of all (and my absolute favourite scene. Yes, it is the infamous “pizza scene.” Just watch it below, you’ll understand). Really, it all comes down to accepting your love for food and all things that come with it. Learn to love yourself exactly for your foodie love and everything will balance itself out. In the praiseful words of Liz herself: “I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt.”