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A Complicated Relationship With Food

I have been a successful Personal Trainer since 2004 (14yrs). I am strong, fit and healthy. I help other people become strong and fit, learn to run, lose weight, change their body. I am confident in my abilities as a PT.
I also have a complicated relationship with food. I like food, I enjoy eating. I am an emotional eater. I struggle with portion control. I have hormonal sugar cravings, often. I need to lose some weight (that was really hard to “type out loud”).
I struggle with the general perception that because I’m a PT, I shouldn’t have issues with food or weight……. practice what you preach etc. There are times when I feel like a bit of a fraud, even though I know I’m good at what I do and most importantly, I love what I do. But none of us are perfect, we are all flawed. There are doctors that smoke, builders who live in falling down houses, barrista’s who don’t drink coffee………I could go on.
The point is, we are not what we do. Before anything else, we are human. Each with our own strengths, weaknesses, skills, goals and dreams.
Recently, I had a shift in my relationship with food that has really made a difference for me. I thought I’d share it, just in case it made sense to others too. It happened almost by accident, I wasn’t looking for this.
I had some completely unrelated health issues that led to me seeing a dietician. And rather than providing me with a big list of ‘foods to avoid’, she told me what I need to eat – gave me a full list of food that I must include, daily or weekly. I do love a list, so that excited me!
For the 1st time in my life, I’m not focussed on what I need to limit or avoid (added sugar, fried food, saturated fat, white flour, alcohol).
Until recently, it went a bit like this: First I eat. Then I set about understanding/justifying (or dare I say, finding an excuse for) why I ate the chocolate/cake/takeaway/whatever – Is it hormonal? Emotional? Am I over-tired?
Then I move onto dealing with the guilt/shame/negative self-talk because I don’t like feeling crap about myself. So I tell myself “I’ll start again tomorrow”, “training will burn it off”………………… what does the tape in your head say?
This process takes a massive amount of energy. In fact it’s exhausting! This is one of the reasons I decided to write this post. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying not having to think about food all the time!
Back to the dietician. She gave me the following plan:
Eat oats daily.
Eat 8 walnuts daily.
Eat eggs with spinach, mushrooms, capsicum 2-3 times per week.
Eat oily fish at least 3 times per week, a portion of up to 150g.
When eating animal protein, eat no more than 120g.
Eat (only) whole grain bread/crackers/pasta.
Eat 2 pieces of fruit per day
Eat veg/salad twice each day
(Please note, this plan was specifically written for me, your list may look different to mine. It should not be considered not dietary advice).
So, now when I think about food it’s because I’m figuring out whether I’ve ticked off everything on my list for the day or week. I’ve always been pretty good at cooking good meals and having good food in the house, but now my focus is on making sure I get all the proper nutrition that I need instead of what treats I can have and then how to justify them.
I have realised that I’m enjoying food more, enjoying cooking more, enjoying looking for recipes that fit my plan. The sugar, salt, fat cravings have all but disappeared. I feel lighter, physically and emotionally! Any my frustrations around food have gone. I have more energy to put into looking after myself, my daughter, my business.
And I think this will change the way I speak about food with my lovely clients too.
Happy Sunday friends, Martine
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