On December 30th, I begin writing my resolutions and goals for the new year, and it never fails that weight loss is the first thing I write. By March 1st, I want to lose 25lbs so I can look and feel fabulous on my birthday, that is the goal and promise I make myself on New Year’s Eve.
My relationship with food and my body has not been a healthy one, to say the least. I still remember having a conversation with my partner about my eating disorder. Yes, black girls and women can have an eating disorder, we just don’t talk about it. I was dealing with Bulimia for years, but no one noticed because I was thin, physically active, and “happy”. My eating disorder was not an issue, unless something stressful occurred in my house, school, or community organizations. My biggest stressor that I remember was my mother being diagnosed with cancer, triggering me and causing me to binge and purge more than normal, especially during the fall semesters in college when I started drinking, and guys made fun of girls who had “muffin tops”.
Food was more about survival than nutrition. More about being able to function than ever feeling full. It was more satisfying to say I was a size 6 than eating a nutritious and balanced meal. Bobby Flay could have prepared the meal, and I wouldn’t eat more than a few bites, because I wanted to be smaller than my mom, who was going through chemo. I now acknowledge that black girls and women have eating disorders, but at the time I felt alone and afraid. Even as I look over my journey, I knew I was living in fear and ignorance because no one talked about developing a healthy mindset around food and body image, especially in the black community.
Due to my own personal journey with Bulimia I had to find ways to love myself and heal my own food trauma, by changing my mindset. Here are some suggestions as you start your healthy journey:
One of the most effective paths to a healthier mindset is to find ways to deal with the stress in your life. For some people, this is as simple as writing in a journal or blog every day. Other people find that talking with friends or joining a support group is a rewarding experience. It’s important to give voice to your thoughts and emotions. How you do this is up to you.
You’ll find that you’ll be able to acquire a healthier mindset when you take active steps to deal with your stress and treat your body with the tender loving care it deserves. Suddenly the world becomes a much more positive place when you pair these things with positive thinking.
Positive thinking begins when you affirm the positives in your life. You can use the power of positive affirmations to reprogram your mind so you can think in a healthier and more positive way. For example, each morning you could say, “I make positive choices for the best of my body, mind, and soul.”
You can use positive affirmations in moments of weakness when you are tempted to fill up on junk food, respond negatively to something, or trade sleep for something less important.
It’s impossible not to see all the diets and workout regimens that are being thrown at us. Another way to achieve a healthier mindset is to eat the right foods and get enough rest. When you feed your body healthy, nutritious foods and get the rest you need, you feel better all over. Your attitude, as well as your body, feels refreshed. Food and rest will not change the way you respond to things if you tend to respond negatively, but it will be a great start. You don’t have to give up all junk food and your late-night activities but try swapping carrot sticks for French fries and an hour of sleep for Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Most of our lives have been filled with diets and workout regimes geared to push us to be a certain size or weight, to fit into a standard our bodies were never meant to fit in.
Weight loss for me was a distraction to what was really happening in my life and with myself. Freeing myself from these beliefs allowed me to love myself completely mind, body, and soul.
When you create a healthy mindset by making good choices about food, rest, and positive thinking, you’ll enjoy the new ways you think, feel, and live. You’ll discover that your happier, healthier lifestyle has arrived!
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