If you’ve seen my blog before you’ll know I have a tab dedicated to my love of food. I’m the kind of person who half the time has to ask people to stop eating so I can get a flat lay for Instagram, but the other half is so excited about the meal that I completely forget to take any photos at all.
As nice as it is, being able to create an idea of what my eating habits are like on social media though, the truth is, like any 20 year old that’s living away from home, my relationship with food isn’t always so sunny.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth – as a kid my mum quickly figured out I would eat anything if it was mixed with yoghurt, from puréed apples to green beans and broccoli. Yum.
But from the moment I flew the coop (literally and figuratively as I put myself on a plane to the UK) I hadn’t the faintest idea what I should be eating. Sure, I’d grown up helping with dinner and stress baking during my exams in high school, but a mean cinnamon roll recipe can only get you so far in terms of nutrition.
I was 17, alone and on the other side of the world and there was no way I was going to eat my veggies if my parents weren’t there.
Turns out gap fat isn’t a myth guys. We all hoped it would be but the reality is that I came back from overseas with a full passport and an unwelcome extra 10 kilos. Fun.
I couldn’t understand it. In the last six months of my gap since I’d recognised I was struggling with food I’d tried everything – from logging my calories to not eating anything at all. My gappie and I even made a disastrous attempt to go to the gym, ending up in a class three times our experience level and feeling like we could never show our (sweaty red) faces there again.
But it was ok, I kept telling myself. Once I was home I would move back in with my fitness fanatic parents over the summer before Uni started and I’d be fine.
So I put it off and I got back and I tried. And then I tried again. And again. Each time I failed I would eat less and last half the time, and so on and so on. I even had a disastrous week trying to eat Paleo which was a mess.
Slowly the next year and a half turned into a pattern: I would eat ok for a while, then feel guilty and begin to intensely diet and exercise to the point that I would be regularly skipping meals. (This btw is completely unsustainable do not do it would not recommend /100) Then, inevitably I would break, binge and be back to where I started.
Oh and this was happening at the same time as three jobs, a uni degree and being in college. We won’t talk about the wonders this did for my mental health.
Let’s cut to the chase: I’ve started another ‘eating healthy’ phase and I’m in that halfway-through-week-2 euphoria where you feel like you’re never going to touch saturated fat again in your life. (Spoiler: that is 100% going to happen it’s all a lie)
The thing is though, in the middle of considering which meals I would skip this time I realised that blindly embracing a flash diet or burning out on suddenly exercising seven times a week isn’t going to get me any closer to where I want to be.
Yeah, I want to be thinner. So does every other girl in the world, regardless of their clothing size.
The thing is, eating chia seeds until you puke isn’t going to teach you any more about food and nutrition than eating a burger. This time I’m taking it slow, being a lot kinder to myself and trying to learn as much about food as I can.
I’m not saying I won’t ever cheat on this again – ask me in two weeks and I’ll probably be drinking wine with a box of pizza, but if I’m happy and healthy most of the time that’s good enough for me.