How to Use Food for Feeling Good, Instead of a Way to Punish a Body We Hate

How to Use Food for Feeling Good, Instead of a Way to Punish a Body We Hate

{UPDATE: This article has been published at Thrive Global!}

I want to live in a world where we don’t judge ourselves based on how we look

but rather see ourselves as the beautiful, wonderful, powerful beings WE ARE, and treat ourselves as such!

To be honest, I haven’t always felt this way.

I didn’t grow up with this concept demonstrated or cultivated for me. In fact, I spent decades of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

I didn’t fit this mould I was repeatedly shown and told about what women ‘should’ look like. Repeatedly exposed to TV and magazine ads, negative & demeaning comments from strangers, acquaintances, and even close family, I started dieting at age 15. I thought my “thick thighs,” and “big ass” defined my worth. I thought they reduced it, actually.  

I was athletically challenged (aka not at all talented nor interested in physical activities).

With no other known option for ‘fixing’ myself, for decades I used food as punishment.

I used food to try to cram my ‘chunky’ self into this perceived box of perfection I was told (and believed) I ‘should’ conform to.  

One big problem with this, was that I thought my process to reach that goal had to be just as perfect as the desired outcome itself.  So every time I started a diet and made even the slightest mistake or ‘cheat,’ I scrapped it and went back to my old ways.

I didn’t feel good about my body.
I didn’t feel good in my body.
I didn’t take good care of my body.

Then I had my first baby. At the time, I was also working from home in the medical field.

My whole perspective on WHY I wanted different eating habits changed. It was no longer about how fat I thought I was.

It was about bringing my kids up with better habits for HEALTH, and being healthy myself.

I didn’t want my kids to grow up with the same unhealthy habits I had. I didn’t want my kids to end up in a doctor’s office being told that they have to sign a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order because there is nothing medically left that can help recover me from the fatal demise I PUT MYSELF IN by neglecting to make simple lifestyle changes for my health. I wanted to set a positive example for my family.

I started to learn about nutrition and healthier eating habits as a means to avoid a future of constant illness, reduced quality of life, and premature death.  

That was 12 years ago. Eventually, I went on to leave my medical profession to write and publish my first healthy recipes cookbook and become a wellness/nutrition coach for other women.

In the beginning, I started with a main focus on weight loss. I had found a way to manage my weight in a healthy way, using a smart system that was a lifestyle, not a fad ‘magic pill diet’ like I’d tried so many times before.

Over the past five years working with women on wellness & nutrition habits, I’ve found something that is common for nearly all of them… 

It can be VERY difficult to let the diet mentality go.
Constantly checking the scale.
Counting and documenting every single calorie or macro.
Wanting to eliminate complete food groups or items because they believe THAT will be the one thing that takes the weight off.

In the background, I’ve always shared a message along with the weight loss strategies – reasons to do it for the EXTRA BENEFITS.

Eating well to FEEL GOOD physically and mentally.

Nourishing ourselves for HEALTH, not as a means to a certain number on the scale or pants size.

Using nutrition as a means to FUEL ourselves for all we want to achieve and experience.

Recently, I’ve brought this part of my message more to the forefront, with a focus on stress relief and energy, with the weight management part as kind of a nice bonus aftereffect.

I’m shifting because I want my daughter (now 7 years old) to grow up learning to take care of herself out of LOVE and SELF RESPECT, not as a way to punish herself for not ‘fitting the mould,’ striving for a perfection that can never be achieved.

Perfection is a myth.

I am on a mission to CREATE THE CHANGE I want to see.
I am building a culture of simplified healthy habits that we, as women, infuse into our busy lives so that WE CAN FEEL GOOD overall AND feel good with the process as we are engaged in these practices!

I’m cultivating a community of ambitious women who want to be part of this movement too, and create change by BEING THE CHANGE.

If this is you, I invite you to join my private free Membership site Nurtured for Success: An Oasis for Ambitious Women. I cannot wait to connect with you!

2 thoughts on “How to Use Food for Feeling Good, Instead of a Way to Punish a Body We Hate”

  1. Elyse

    This. The world needs to hear this over and over again. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable part of your own journey. It took me getting really sick to reframe my relationship with food and realize my body needed the right stuff as fuel to help fix me. As much as I’d been doing “healthy” stuff like eating Paleo for years, it had completely eluded me that *calories* were just as important as content and I was still putting my body in a calorie deficit that was keeping it from healing. Changed everything when I stopped treating my body (and weight) like the enemy.

    1. leahborski

      I’m so thankful to hear your story also Elyse and happy you figured this out! Our bodies absolutely are not our enemies! <3

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