(Trigger warning: EDs/ body image)
I have struggled with disordered eating and thoughts for most of my teen years. It’s something I’ve learned (and am still learning) to coexist with.
You are constantly being told what to eat and what not to eat. Your social media feeds are overwhelmed with “what I eat in a day” videos. Magazines in check out lines are advertising the latest diet fad. Companies try to convince you that you need whatever they are selling in order to achieve a different version of yourself. A version of yourself that isn't any better than who you are and who you have always been (but they won’t tell you that). Everything and everyone seems to be telling a story that you need to shrink yourself in order to fit their ideal of beauty. When was the last time you were given permission to take up space?
For so long I was obsessed with what other people were eating, what I was eating, when, and how much. It’s exhausting. It’s no way to live. I’ve learned that finding freedom with food doesn’t mean gorging out at the nearest fast food restaurant every night, or abandoning necessary nutrients. Food freedom is tuning into the body. Leaning in, listening, taking moments to intentionally ask yourself what you may be needing. That may be a Wendy’s frosty, or a plate of veggies, or if you’re me, half a bag of Lark Ellen’s Sweet and Salty trail mix. Maybe what you need is actually a conversation with someone you can trust. Whatever it is, do not deny yourself of that thing. Love yourself enough to know you deserve to be nourished. You deserve to give your body and mind what they desire.
There’s a lot of noise out there. Trust me, I know.
But at the end of the day, you know your body more than anyone. Only you know what you truly need. Trust your beautiful body that keeps your heart beating and your lungs breathing with so much love, even when you don’t pay forward that love. Eat when you’re hungry or even when you just really want something sweet after dinner even if you’re already full. Move in ways that feel good or don’t if that’s what your body calls for that day. Ignore the chatter, maybe try therapy, pet a stranger's dog (ask first), get your nails done, kiss your friends' faces, tell people how you feel, and don’t let food control your life.
Food should be enjoyed all your life but it should not dictate IF you enjoy life. And on the hard days (they will come), offer yourself grace. You exist in a world that attempts to put conditions on your worth. You are always enough. You are perfect and you’re doing amazing. Love yourself even when you don’t. Love that part of you too.