Detoxifying My Toxic Relationship With Food

Ever since I could learn to feed myself, I always thought food was a reward and not a necessity. This is the product of unhealthy body image expectations my mother pushed towards me when I was in grade school. It was to a point where there was a time where my mom used food as a punishment if I acted out, where she would lock the pantry door so that I couldn’t eat or she would send me upstairs without food. It was a product of growing up with magazines that never featured plus size women and a lack of body positivity in all media. I was exposed to the very idea that being fat was a determining factor for the person that I am and in turn, I developed a very toxic relationship with food.

different body types in black leotards Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels As I’ve grown, I’ve tried really hard to detoxify that relationship. With growing contemporary movements such as the body positive movement and the growing number of plus size influencers that defy the beauty standards that I grew up with, I was determined to heal my relationship with food because I knew it was a very harmful and toxic one that emphasized my body dysmorphia and overall, hatred of myself.

Ironically, I really love to cook. It has been a passion of mine ever since I tried to make a dessert out of chocolate coins and canned mandarin oranges when I was 6 years old. However, although I loved to cook, I still had such a shitty relationship with food, along with a crappy “diet” that was incredibly hurtful to my overall mental and physical health. It wasn’t until I was 21 and up until now, at 24, that I gradually decided that food wasn’t - and shouldn’t - be a way to punish myself for being fat. And the word 'fat' doesn’t determine anything about the type of person I am or the love I am allowed to have.

I knew that detoxifying my relationship with food would be really fricking hard. I knew that I had to stop thinking that carbs were bad for me and that I had to restrict myself to one meal a day. This was the ultimate cause of yo-yo dieting, because although I learned that those things would somehow get me down to a size 6, I would still be doing it in the most unhealthy way and also perpetuate constant toxicity in my relationship with food. For starters, I took a nutrition class that actually was a big help in learning about food and how I can be healthy, but still not restrict myself from eating whatever the hell I want. That’s another thing - I eat whatever the hell I want. I don’t mean that I eat McDonald’s every day, because I actually wasn’t doing that either, I was telling myself that ​because I wasn’t a size 4, I wasn’t allowed to eat​. And that in itself is one of the most harmful and painful things to tell yourself in a world that already measures you based on your size.

women with different body types Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels So, I let myself eat. To put it really simply, I let myself eat really amazing, delicious balanced meals that have all the food groups. I realize that moderation does not mean elimination; I can let myself get that slice of tres leches cake after a hard day at school. I told myself that I ​can​ eat and I should eat. And that I make a conscious effort every day to eat three meals a day, without feeling guilty, because the very act of feeding myself is ​self-love.​ I am nurturing the very beautiful body that I have and will have forever. It’s accepting that at any size, I deserve to fucking eat.