Nourishment not Punishment

How do you see food? Do you see it as a vehicle of joy, health, energy, vibrancy and love? Or, do you associate it with a moment of pleasure and then guilt, anxiety, fear and self loathing? Perhaps it is a mixture of both at different times depending on what you are eating, or the situation you are faced with. I get it Beautiful - I have been there! When did nourishment turn into punishment? For many people, food has become a confusing and stressful area of their life. Should I eat this? When should I eat that? The list of questions goes on. This has turned the simple act of eating into an ordeal, creating feelings of overwhelm, upset and ultimately sucking the fun out of food!

Over the years I have gone from person to person, listening and absorbing advice, changing habits, embarking on different nutritional roller coasters and convincing myself that I was not dieting, but making lifestyle changes. This was truth in a way and I am obviously an advocate of eating delicious fresh, real and nourishing food. But the attitude that surrounded these healthy modifications turned from nutritional balance into nutritional nightmare.

Food turned from something that was enjoyable, social and filled with happiness to a battle at every meal time. Was I eating too much? Was I eating enough? Was this going to spike my blood sugar and cause a panic attack? Could this piece of fruit be the tipping point that makes me insulin resistant and on a downward spiral towards metabolic disaster? As dramatic as it sounds (me... drama queen??!!) every time I ate there was a flurry of emotions that went through me and to be frank, they were exhausting!

I felt disappointed, upset and angry that my relationship with food had turned into something so sour. I loved food. Cooking and eating had always been so important to me but my obsession was draining, on me and on everyone around me.

I developed a love/hate relationship with food. Initial feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment would turn to guilt and questioning at every meal time. The words I used around food were harmful and negative; 'bad', 'too much', 'shouldn't have', 'wish I hadn't'. I read every article that claimed to be 'the answer' to healthy eating and each time I questioned my own current habits.

This translated to other areas of my life and each time I went 'off tracks' and ate 'off limits' it was like a personal attack on my confidence. If I couldn't even 'stop myself' from eating 'the wrong thing', then how could I possibly be loved, happy or respected. I surely didn't respect myself because I didn't have the mental strength to 'control' what I consumed.

When did food become so taxing and joy-less? I will tell you when. It was when I gave away the power of choice to every other person apart from myself. When I became so confused as to what was 'right' for me that I wanted someone else to be responsible for my nutrition so I could blame people when I didn't feel or look like I wanted to. It was when I stopped trusting my own intuition and instincts.

There are always going to be times when we devour a genuinely glorious gluten-filled pizza, stuff our fabulous faces with chocolate and eat delectable desserts until we feel fit to burst. These moments are times of joy, balance and beauty - they are not a fault in your personality and they should never be associated with guilt or feelings of disgust.

While it hasn't been an overnight change, I can honestly say now that I LOVE food. I love talking about it, I love creating it, I love eating it. Every time I eat is an opportunity to nourish my body, not punish it, and meal times are joyful. The words I associate with food are positive and empowering - particularly when I am sharing food with friends and family. There is nothing that makes me happier than when people enjoy eating the food that I have created, and when others re-create my recipes - that is the ultimate feel-good boost. Food is fun, food is fabulous and food is friendship in a whole manner of ways.

This positive relationship with food is what I believe in. I want to help others heal their relationship with food and that is why I have created Listen Up Beautiful. Whether you follow my blog avidly, re-create my recipes, keep an eye on my photos on social media or want to dive into one of my coaching programmes, I hope my own journey can help you fall back in love with food, and ultimately yourself.

It's about nourishment not punishment Beautiful! x