Let me start by saying that I have a complicated relationship with food but I absolutely love it. It has allowed me to explore different cultures and bond with friends and family and cooking has become one of my favorite things to do in social isolation. I realized I lost so much money from eating out; who knew you could spend over 200 dollars on food in a month? In quarantine, I also became more aware of how the food I ate made me feel. A lot of times, I found myself feeling super sluggish after eating certain foods and I’d get acne hours later. Other times, I guilt tripped myself for overeating at an event.
I used this summer at home to repair my unhealthy relationship with food. Since I couldn’t go out or sit down for a meal, I spent more time finding recipes online and cooking them at home. I expanded my cooking skills and made dishes I usually paid a ton of money for whenever I ate out. I learned how to make my favorite Nigerian dishes from my mom and I was so happy they ended up being good! In the end, I was more comfortable eating at home as opposed to eating out because I could add little twists to the dishes I made and I knew what was exactly in the food I was eating.
And instead of continuing to eat food that tanked my energy, I found healthier alternatives that were just as tasty. I replaced my sugar-loaded cereal for yogurt with granola for breakfast. I traded the carb-loaded bread in my sandwiches for low-carb spinach wrap. I also found a healthy alternative to fufu and could still eat my favorite Nigerian soups with it. By gradually making these changes, I was able to enjoy my meals without feeling sluggish and exhausted afterwards.
Nothing is wrong with indulging in certain foods, but I learned that balance is key. While I love certain desserts and carb-heavy meals, I now make sure to limit my intake of them. Unfortunately, there were some days that I ate more than I expected and felt guilty afterwards, but I eventually learned to be gracious to myself. Change is never easy, so I’ve learned to give myself space to grow and improve in my relationship with food.
Your relationship with food affects many aspects of your life, like finances, your overall health and other personal relationships. By being aware of how food affects your well-being, you can make little changes that will turn into large improvements in your future.