I went away on a women’s weekend recently. It was wonderful. Double bed to myself, lots of time to chat, and absolutely delicious food. One morning I queued up for my breakfast. Imagine the usual hotel buffet selection – cereal, fruit, yogurt, pastries, toast and cooked breakfast including, bacon, eggs, sausage etc.
I got to the front of the queue and thought to myself, “what do I fancy?” I fancied bacon, I fancied eggs, I fancied a pastry. So, that is what I put on my plate.
I suddenly became aware (when I stopped drooling over all the food) that all the women around me were speaking out-loud. Women were stood in front of the buffet saying, “oh I’m trying to be good, I won’t have any bacon…”, “I’d really like a pastry but I wont…”, “I shouldn’t eat this…” etc.
I found myself wondering, whose benefit was this for? Were they talking to themselves or were they all secretly thinking that they were being judged for their food choices? I wondered, are people judging me for all the bacon I put on my plate?
Have you noticed others speaking out this inner ‘punishing’ voice? Do you speak it out yourself?
I imagine it’s not a voice most people know they use. I’m sure a lot of women would say, “I don’t have an issue with food…I’m happy with how I look…” But, I wonder if you stopped to listen to your inner voice would you find that it’s robbing you of the joy of food? Do you find yourself thinking about what you should and shouldn’t eat?
Now, I do think we should take care of our bodies. We have to take responsibility for caring for ourselves. And, I think that if you’re not happy with how you look then it’s worth doing something to change it. And, if we are judging each other’s food choices then let’s stop. We’re better than that. Sure, let’s care for each other and be willing to chat openly and honestly about food and weight when we want accountability with one another. But, let’s not judge.
We have a rule in our house. You’re not allowed to look in the mirror and be negative about your body unless you’re also committing to do something about it. That is, my husband and I don’t look in the mirror and say, “oh I’m so fat,” unless we’re also saying, “…so i think I’ll do some more exercise, or start snacking less.”
We’re really honest with each other when it comes to weight. My husband often reminds me (and our friends) that I once pointed out that it was time for him to start doing more exercise or eating healthier. (Apparently I phrased it terribly but he does thank me for it. He lost almost two stone shortly afterwards through exercise and healthier eating!) We care about each other’s bodies and we look out for each other when we’re feeling down on our own bodies.
Recently I realised I was feeling a bit glum about the extra weight I’ve put on (and not lost) through pregnancy. Anyone else found that mum life is one long tea and cake date?! I’d like to lose a little of the mum tum. So, my husband helped me figure out where to find the extra time and money to fit more exercise in my week.
I do make an effort to not eat too much. If I’m not careful I could definitely overeat, particularly now that gluten (and therefore pastry) is back on the menu for me but I don’t not eat it because I’m trying to be good. I make a choice not to eat something because I’m full or I because think it might not be good for my body to eat anymore. I don’t not eat because my guilty inner voice is punishing me and saying I ‘shouldn’t eat it’.
I want to choose to be powerful when it comes to food. I want to set an example for my kid. I enjoy what I eat and I also look after my body. Sometimes I will think, “wow, I’ve eaten too much the last few days, I think I’ll cut down” but I refuse to say out-loud, “oh no, I mustn’t… I shouldn’t…”
And, if I want another pastry I think I’ll have one because now, I do Zumba!