I know this kind of blog topic seems off course to what I usually write about, but trust me it’s not. Some people have such a relationship with food that it changes their emotional ability to see themselves in a light of beauty.
When I had depression, my diet altered dramatically. I come from a health conscious family, extremely health conscious. But health conscious in a way that meat and vegetables were dinners most nights, but I could still take a sneaky packet of potato chips to school. I guess I was lucky in the respect that I received my father metabolism and would never truely exceed a weight limit that made me overweight and I never actually craved a body that wasn’t mine, I was always happy in the skin I was in.
So the constant chocolate binge obsessions turned to vegetable chips, black tea turned to herbal. But it wasn’t even during this time of hardship I realised everyone has a relationship with food. It’s now I am strengthening one hell of a relationship with food. When I moved to university I had a friend who I lived with. She would tell me about the nights with her family, they would share around the table wonderful roasted vegetables they had grown in the garden, she would talk of these nights with such love and passion. So of course she would spend her night cooking our uni house a wonderful roast, of all the goodies she brought back with her from the weekend at home. I was always so jealous of that, I was jealous that her meals tasted equivalent to a mum hug and she didn’t need to look at a recipe book to whip up something wonderful. So I took a mental note, that when the time comes my family and I would sit at our table every night, without fail. No tv couch dinners and if I am lucky enough to spend my days in the vegetable patch, all the food on their plate will be home grown. I took the note and never thought of it again.
Then I moved in with Nick and this journey of making a home together begun and that mental note popped back out to remind me of the goodness I will one day create.
So since then I have been building this strong relationship with food, I chew slowly, I let the smells fill the house and I let Nicks reaction tell me what I need to know. We sit at the table and we talk about our day while fuelling our body with what we need. My university bodyweight chub has gone, the dirt from the garden now imbeds itself under my nails and I shop organic. I now know that ‘meat and veg’ is sure sustainable, but its shithouse compared to other things I can create. Nutritionally and ‘deliciously’.
So why am I writing this post you ask? My sister – my beauiful, talented and bountiful sister. 10 years between us, the gap never seeming real evident, although now it’s like there is no gap at all.
My father is really the only emotionally vulnerable member of my family, the others hold a sense of strength and confidence that my father and I didn’t seem to gain. We received an extra bone so to speak, one that caused us to be hurt by the words that spin from peoples mouths and cause an ache in our chest, we cover it with a smile but hold it dear to our heart. This particular sister, held a fire in her chest we all lacked, a passionate burn that made her confidence known when she walked into the room.
So when she told me she hates her relationship with food and she doesn’t like the way she looks at herself in the mirror my heart ached, one for the narrow minded way I had looked at her, like she wasn’t struggling emotionally like I sometimes do, and two I wished she could see the way I looked at her, through my eyes, in utter ore.
She told me of the calorie counting, the guilt after sugar and the look in the mirror. She told me that she is aware of it, for so long she thought it was normal and I guess she is right. So many people think that is normal, that tracking daily intakes is normal and packaged meals “aren’t all that bad”.
I love to hear her talk now when she calls, I love to hear her relationship with food strengthen and her confidence shine a new light we haven’t seen before. With the confidence came an emotional trigger that has softened her persona in a way that makes me think the sun might shine out her bum. I love the smell that fills her home when I walk in and I love the photos of her kids eating dinner around the table. She reads books from influential people, she has kinesiology appointments, podcasts fill her ears and wholesome goodness fills her stomach. So I took another mental note.
When I have children, especially a daughter. I won’t talk about her weight, I won’t talk about body appearance and we will dare not look upon anyone else under judgement. I will tell her she’s beautiful every day, we will cook in the kitchen while Sam Smith plays in the back ground. We will eat at the table with the rest of our family, I will tell her about pesticides and the importance of pink salt over white. We will eat big, rich chocolate cakes for her birthday and we will relish in all the wonderful memories that are made over food, not once will you hear a “you shouldn’t eat that”, no food guilt will pass through our home.
To my sister – there is nothing I value more than our relationship, I hope one day it clicks and you see the way I see you, as the caring, empathetic and emotionally worthy person you are. I hope the guilt leaves the room and never comes back, I hope you wear what you want and the confidence oozes from your body in the most contagious way.
To everyone who struggles with body image and food guilt remember this – that body you are given can withstand the utmost of pain, the least you can do is help it out in all the ways you can. But first, make the mind beautiful, the rest will follow.