For as long as I can remember, I have followed some sort of fad diet - keto, paleo, no carbs, celery juice crazes, you name it. I even went vegan for a few months in the hope of shedding some pounds. Occasionally, I’d slip up and eat excessively and feel totally out of control, followed by shame and guilt. I’ve always wondered why I wasn’t able to maintain any sort of weight loss, until I came across the term “binge eating” on social media.
I was taken aback - dieting, eating a lot at once, feeling guilty about it. Here was a term I had been so unfamiliar with, that described my situation perfectly. More importantly though, I realized that with this new understanding, there was a way to get through it. Here is what I did to achieve healthier eating habits.
Rethought my relationship with food
The first important step I took was to change my relationship with food. Instead of thinking “that’s too many carbs”, I actively reworked those thoughts and changed my perspective to focus on the positives. If I looked at a whole wheat bagel after a workout, I would try to think “that’s NOURISHMENT.” But as with most things, it took a lot of time to get there. Some days I feel like I’m still working on it. But the more you can practice these positive thoughts, you can begin to rewire your brain to think differently. I like to think of it as a workout for my brain. Each time my thoughts drift into negative territory, I bring them back to think positively. It’s like doing a rep in strength training. With every rep, I feel like my control over my mind is getting stronger.
Altered my social media
I also began to follow nourishment gurus on Instagram that thought of food in the same way, and removed the keto crowd off my feed. This complete rework of my social media helped influence how I saw food. One person I started following was @shaynateresetaylor (Instagram), who is all about holistic cuisine and even went to culinary school. Her recipes are SO yummy and nutritious, which made me realize - you can make incredibly healthy foods using whole ingredients and not feel bad about it. Seriously, I'm obsessed with her one pan pastas.
Listened to my body
Another way I tried to curb my bad eating habits was to tune in and listen to my body more and only eat when I was hungry. IMO, the 3 meals a day guideline is dated and doesn’t necessarily work for everyone as everyone's bodies, sleep cycles, and energy expenditures are different. I’m one of those people that doesn’t need to eat early in the morning, and often the thought of food makes me feel sick. But what I do love is to have a huge lunch. I’ve learnt to lean into whatever my body is telling me and not restrict myself from eating.
Practiced regular movement
By combining all these things with movement, I started to see results. If I didn't feel like doing HIIT, I just went for a walk instead. I focused on moving my body to feel good, not to burn 500 calories. I even took up yoga which really helped me connect more to my body, whilst strengthening and toning. I found low intensity exercise like this much easier to commit to daily, and I felt huge benefits from it. I noticed I became less stressed and anxious and generally in a better mood. Good mood equaled less binging.
Although all of these steps I have taken have begun to make a difference, it is still a work in progress to rewire decades of negative self talk. I still have the occasional slip up. But the important thing is that overall, I feel healthier, stronger and more at ease with myself. My body weight doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much, and I’m actually starting to love my body for what it is and all that it does for me. I can safely say that long gone are the days that I hoped to have a runway model body. And yes, since I know you’re wondering, I did lose weight and keep it off this way. But funny enough, that’s not what matters anymore.