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Mental Health

How Far I’ve Come in My Relationship With Food

I have my good days and my bad days, my ups, and my downs. Sometimes I feel accomplished. Other times I am right back to square zero. If you know me or have read a few of my previous articles, you know I have struggled with an eating disorder for much of my life. The road to recovery has been tricky, but I am happy knowing I have even made progress at all. Mental disorders are difficult to navigate alone. This year has taught me how necessary positive surroundings can be in getting better.
[bf_image id="q7k1q9-bjvdwo-37bwz7"] Before beginning this school year, I was not in an unhealthy environment, but I was not in an environment where recovery was possible. I was in my head about what foods I consumed and tracked every single meal, snack, and bite. I cut lots of nutritious foods out of my diet, and my portion sizes were way too small. It was an obsession that cost me my physical health and a lot of joy in my life. Now, I have surrounded myself with friends that make me feel safe to eat what I want. They help me feel comfortable enough to say “no” when I am not up to eating something. With their help, I have learned how to intuitively eat and regain a better relationship with food and my body. I feel accomplished when I can enter the kitchen and eat what I want to eat that day. No planning, no tracking, just listening to my cravings and hunger cues.
[bf_image id="p6hznw5kcjqs6hgxnc9sg8r"] Although I still stress about each of my meals, I also look forward to them. My freedom with the foods I eat has increased so much in the past year. Foods I used to cut out of my diet taste so good, even after eating them again and again. Simple foods like bananas, rice, bread, cheese, etc., bring me so much pleasure. It feels good not monitoring each thing that goes into my body and instead just enjoying it.
I am so proud of the progress I have made in the past year. I am starting to love food and what it does for me. Eating should bring joy, not stress, and I am slowly realizing that.
Lauren Wharton is a third year UC Davis student majoring in Animal Sciences. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, CrossFit, eating copious amounts of Halo Top, and spending time with her family, friends, and Shiba Inu, Mable.
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