My relationship with food: a history

Buckle up beautiful people, we are about to get personal.

*CW: discussion around food*

I recently talked about my relationship with food and now leaning into intuitive eating. I thought I would open up a bit and discuss more about my experience with this relationship. I have never really opened up about my experiences for fear of ridicule. But I think it’s time to be open.

So yes, my negative relationship with food started around 11 years old as a way of coping with all of the panic attacks I had and everything feeling so out of control and no one around me really knew what to do with me. I found the controlling what I let in to my body to be addictive and I spiralled so quickly it all feels like a blur today. I became incredibly fussy, I restricted what I ate a lot, I started learning tricks to look like I ate more than I did, I could flat out refused to finish my plate saying I was full or didn’t like a particular food. At this point it was never about my weight, just control. That was until I started secondary school.

I felt isolated pretty quickly and changed schools after the first half-term, I ended up wearing more and more make up and became conscious of my body to a new extent. I started weighing myself a lot. I started to worry about how much space I took up in this world.

Then I ended up in hospital on an unrelated reason, or what I like to believe to this day, I had already been anaemic once by this point and the doctors were very concerned at how little iron was in my blood and body. I had nothing in reserve. It was a little bit of a wake up call that I needed to eat.

It took a while and a few more iron tablets that were needed for me to begin eating 3 meals a day again. But I certainly couldn’t have a lot of variety in foods. The thought and sight of many foods made me feel sick and gross, polluted. Only last year did my psychotherapist suggest cibophobia and food neophobia. A fear of food, I had restricted and altered my mindset about food so much that it’s left me with a very irrational fear.

This continued, I put on weight and turned 16, after the passing of a family member I became unwell with emerging traits of a personality disorder and severe depression. Nearing the end of year 11 I started to once again control my food, except this time I binged. Whatever was cheap. I don’t want to think about how much money I have spent on food over these last few years, probably more than cigarettes. I became addicted to food and the brief numbing it would bring. I would skip meals in place of a binge.

At times I’d hate my body and try dieting and restricting, it would never last long. I had no respect of my body. Exercise became triggering and I would overdo it. And then binge. Looking back, I don’t understand why I didn’t love my body, I certainly wasn’t as “fat” as I felt.

Now here I am, at my highest weight and respect my body more than ever. I ended up, during lockdown, having at least one binge eat every single day until I realised I needed to change. Now, I am learning my hunger signals more and more each day. It’s been weeks since I have had a binge and there are no temptations to constantly buy snacks. I’m hoping as I fulfil more principles I become more open to trying new foods. It’ll take time but I’m prepared. My relationship is slowly healing and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

If you are struggling with food right now, I see you.

Much love,

L x

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