I remember the exact moment my relationship with food was f-ed up.
I was 12 and one of my favourite relatives was due at our house for dinner that night. I was so excited to see her that I ran up to her as soon as she arrived, not even waiting until she has made it all the way up our driveway, before I gave her a big hug and a kiss.
She stepped away from me with a furrowed brow, looked me up and down and with a look of repulsion on her face said, “You’ve put on weight. You all have.”
At least in my 12-year-old brain she looked repulsed, or disgusted, or even just disappointed. She was always so happy to see me, so affectionate and complimentary.
I was devastated.
The saddest part about the whole thing was that I didn’t even question her reaction. I believed her. I had put on weight and as a result, I was disgusting.
Weight = being disgusting.
I’ve had a fractured relationship with food ever since.
It’s so important to me that my daughter develops a healthy relationship with food and with her body. It’s the most important thing to me, the gift I want to leave her with.
I’ve suffered so much over the years as my body has grown and changed. I’ve gone up in weight and down in weight countless times and in my family, it never goes unnoticed.
Putting on weight is always commented on, as is losing weight. I find both as hurtful as the other and prefer it when people don’t comment on weight – gain or loss – at all.
As I gained and lost during my teenage years and in my twenties, it was always commented on. The negative message kept on getting reinforced. Putting on weight made me less worthy (of love, of attention, of life) and losing weight made me more worthy (of attention, of praise, of love).