I distinctly remember the beginning of the end of my relationship with food around 6th grade.
As a child, I was stick thin. My dad used to put his hands around my waist and connect his fingers together all through elementary school. He didn’t do it in a malicious way, just having fun and showing how lanky I was, but once the fingers stopped touching it stuck with me.
Even though I was stick thin in middle school, I was still pear shaped. So any weight I did have stuck around my thighs. And even though I weighed maybe 100 lbs, I hated my thighs. I wore board shorts with all my swimsuits as a kid because I didn’t want anyone to see my big thighs that didn’t actually exist. I was skin and bones through middle school, even through high school just with more curves.
I stopped playing sports in high school because I was ~ too cool for school ~ and my mom was upset with me because “I would get fat.” A relatively harmless concern about my health that wasn’t communicated to me in an appropriate way. I felt larger than all my friends, had terrible body dysmorphia, and just generally felt ugly and unloved through all of my teen years.
My first real relationship was a long-distance relationship that came with a lot of stress, a lot of sky highs and dark lows. It was when I first began to cope with food. I never had a huge attachment to food until that relationship, never found such a comfort in it until then. A lot of our dates were going out to eat, I ate to feel better, we would both house boxes of zebra cakes because it reminded us of each other. I didn’t really think it was an issue because when I got past my body dysmorphia I knew I wasn’t overweight, even if I wasn’t happy with how I looked.
After we broke up, the habits were already built. I used food as comfort for the next 5 years of my life. Just last year when we were living in New Hampshire, we would order large boxes mac n cheese or gyro bowls every time I had a bad day. And those bad days started to add up, not just once or twice a week. But I was sad, I needed something to cheer me up, and only food could do that.
It’s only now that I’m reevaluating my relationship with food. I’ve never thought about it too much because honestly no one has ever expressed that much concern to me. In the past few months I decided to step on the scale after a very long time of not doing so. A long time because I was trying to force myself to believe it didn’t matter how much I weighed. But I have had terrible eating habits, paired with minimal physical activity, and I just haven’t been healthy.
So this is what I’m trying to do. I’m trying not to deprive myself, but I’m also trying not to “treat myself” with food. I want a healthy relationship with food, my body, and myself. This is me trying.