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Covid Changed My Relationship With Food And Not For The Better

Growing up and all the way up until a couple of months ago, I used to have a really good relationship with food and the way I viewed my body. I ate whatever I wanted, albeit most of it wasn’t healthy, but I never felt guilty about what I was putting into my body. I could have five pieces of pizza with a huge helping of chips and topped off with a big bowl of ice cream and not feel bad about all the food I just consumed. Now though all of that has changed with Covid and this new world we now live in. 

A couple of months ago I made the decision to start taking better care of myself. I had nothing else to do and started devoting my time to working out every day and eating healthier. Now don’t get me wrong, in no way is this a bad thing. In fact, I’m so grateful that I made this change because physically and in some aspects mentally I have never felt better. However, as I mentioned in the title, my mental state surrounding food has completely shifted. When I first started trying to live a healthier lifestyle I did it solely for the purpose of trying to lose weight and get in shape. Now I am blessed in the sense that I grew up playing sports, so I already am in a fair bit of shape and I am used to fitness, however over the last couple of years I definitely neglected my body and so I wanted to pick myself back up and try to make some healthier changes in my life. 

Focusing on only making these changes for how I looked felt great at first but then it completely altered my sense of self. I would get discouraged when I wouldn’t see changes immediately in my body and I would constantly compare myself to other fitness influencers online. Worst of all I fell into a pattern of treating food as the enemy and would beat myself up whenever I had something as small as a piece of chocolate. I would look at what other influencers would eat in a day and immediately feel guilty for not eating a salad or for having second helpings. My mindset around food became dangerous and I started to fall into a pattern of weighing myself after I ate, which is not healthy at all. This pattern would have only continued and got way worse if I didn’t reach out for help. 

Finally talking about these issues lifted a weight off my shoulders. I no longer felt like I was alone and my fears were vocalized. I am nowhere near back to where I was a couple of months ago when it comes to food and I honestly don’t know if I ever will be. This process will take time and it is a constant issue that I know I will deal with throughout my life. I know I am lucky because so many people suffer from severely disordered eating and other issues surrounding food but I wanted to vocalize my experience so others out there who have stories surrounding their own experience with food relationships know they’re not alone. 

 

Rieley Tomkinson

U Alberta '22

Rieley is a third year Elementary Education student at the University of Alberta. When she's not busy studying you can find her binging a new Netflix show, singing along to musicals, playing with her dog or curled up with a new book.
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