It's week 2 of "Health Hacks" and I couldn't think of a better topic than this: Developing a Healthy Relationship With Food. My fellow "Nutritious Life" alum, Magan Bailey is a recipe-making rock star, and she has quite a story to share about her personal journey finding peace with food. You can find her on Instagram @find_peace_with_food. Her message is on point for anyone, however, MOMS of young girls MUST read her words:
Find Peace with Food: "My Journey," By Magan Bailey
At the young age of 16, my junior year in high school, I was given the award of “Best Body” by our student body. This was an award that you don’t ask for, its just voted on like “Most likely to Succeed” and “Class Clown”. I overheard some girls talking about how I didn’t deserve this, and it went straight to my head. I asked another friend how I could lose weight, and that’s where my story begins.
This friend advised me to take laxatives and I’d be able to shed some pounds effortlessly. She was right; however, it turned into much more. I got to the point were I was taking a box of 30 laxatives a day, spending endless time in the bathroom, and shoveling an unimaginable amount food in my mouth in-between it all.
After a public speaker spoke at our school, who had shared the same story, I was outed by both my coach and parents. I stopped the laxative abuse, which caused long term damage to my intestines, and began counseling. I thank God, my coach, and my parents for this intervention of sorts.
Although I stopped the laxatives, I did not stop the binging that came along with it. What a nightmare! Gained 30 pounds in one month, and a lifetime of challenges with food. Tried many diets and failed. Lost weight. Gained weight. No matter what, I was at war with food. It became my comfort, my counselor, and my enemy all at once.
I developed what I call Food Noise. That noise thats constantly in your head about what to eat, what not to eat, what have I eaten, I need more of this, can’t have that, and I’ll eat better tomorrow might as well eat it all now! This noise kept me in shackles to a food prison. I couldn’t enjoy food without overthinking about it. I couldn’t even go about my day without constantly consuming myself with thoughts about food.
After years of searching, praying, and learning to un-diet, I have found peace with food. It is not always easy. I struggle from time to time especially in this world we live in were it is a constant comparison of one’s body to another. I have found a way to eat for nourishment and pleasure. I have learned after my own internal research of listening to what works and doesn’t work with my body.
We have such amazing bodies! They can tell us when we are hungry, full, tired, stressed, sad, lonely, and bored! It’s awesome!!!! I have learned to stay in my sweet spot where I am not too hungry and not uncomfortably full (except Thanksgiving; there are always exceptions). This concept is used by tons of RD’s including Keri Glassman whom I had the privilege to learn from in her Nutrition School. She refers to it as your HQ or Hunger Quotient. I have also learned that I need a balance of all kinds of foods without demanding strict restrictions on myself. I include all foods. I have learned that I function better with whole, nutrient dense foods that keep me full, satiated, and energized throughout the afternoon where a lot us mom’s tend to slump or hit a wall. This happens to me if I have a less than stellar breakfast, heavy lunch, or no snacks. I have learned that if I say, “Magan, you cannot have dessert today,” that I will end up binging on tons of dessert rather than just allowing myself to have it if I want it.
In all of this, I have found peace with food. A balance where it all fits. A balance where I can control or mute the food noise that kept me shackled for so many years. I hope that you can find your way, your journey to finally Find Peace with Food!