This is kind of a strange blog post for me. I have always had a pretty healthy relationship with food. I am a pescetarian (I eat fish but not meat, I’m going to talk about this more in another post), but this post is going to be more about what my mental attitude towards food has been and how it has changed.
Growing up, I went to breakfast club in primary school and I used to have food from the salad bar every single day. Not because I was made to, I just really liked healthy food. It was tasty to me and it had a smaller queue than the hot meal section.
When I got to secondary school, I was having packed lunch where I would have 2 sandwiches, a pack of crisps, dairy lee dunkers, fruit of some sort, and 2 jaffa cakes. I would go home and I’d eat with my parents, where we would have oven chips with a given fish and then some greens or sweetcorn. I had a pretty healthy diet I think.
Starting A levels, things got a little bit more difficult. The summer before I was out a lot and hardly ever eating at home. I was eating chips from the chip shop for tea and microwave rice for breakfast, because hey? I had money and freedom. It was the first time I had the freedom to eat what I wanted properly, and carbs was what my stomach craved. When I eventually went back to school, there was a canteen specifically for 6th form students which had a lot of things that I could eat (had no meat in them), and so I could have a pizza baguette or pasty at break time, and I loved it. Then people started to drive and we could go to McDonalds in our free lessons, so we did. And we had fries and McFlurries more often than I care to admit. I didn’t really gain any weight, but it wasn’t healthy/
2nd year of A levels, I started working in M&S, and I started eating a lot more healthily. I wasn’t going out as much because I didn’t have the time anymore. Between all of the hours of school and 20 hours in M&S, I was exhausted. I was on my feet for the entire shift, and I was eating pack lunches there and with my parents at home. I was healthier and I was in a nicer shape. I finished in M&S just after Christmas, and then the bad habits began to creep back in until February.
In the February of my 2nd year, me and my ex split up. It took a major toll on me and I just didn’t want to eat. I didn’t eat. I wasn’t eating breakfast because I felt sick. I wasn’t eating lunch, because I was feeling sick. I would go home and eat half of the evening meal I used to be able to. It was horrible. The weight was falling off me and it was scary.
I had lost nearly a stone after the first week, but I think at my lowest I had lost a stone and a half. I had always been a healthy size (even if my diet hadn’t been the healthiest), but that was changing; fast. I wasn’t talking about how little I had been eating, but some of my friends in school had noticed because I had always loved my food, and thry brought it up with me when I wasn’t eating my lunch, but they weren’t forcing me to eat because they knew I was in a weird place.
I was getting over my break up by going to all of these different places, and doing all of these new things, but I still wasn’t back to eating normally. I would take the given lunch back to my room and proceed to throw half of it away, a bite of a sandwich and a handful of crisps was all I could muster. The idea of a meal time approaching made me nervous. I didn’t want to be called out on it, and I knew that I would reach a level of full where if I took one more mouthful I would feel sick. I didn’t need to step on the scales anymore to know I was losing weight. All my clothes required belts, and my already-too-big-for-me school skirts I could put on without undoing the zip;.
My parents noticed, but they didn’t bring it up with me. My portions slowly got smaller, and I honestly think this was the best thing they could have done. Every time I left food on my plate it was another failure. It wasn’t good for my mental attitude towards food. When my portions were smaller, I was managing to finish a meal, and I was celebrating. My brain would cheer and I could breathe a sigh of relief. It was the illusion of getting better.
This lasted all through my exams and through summer. McDonalds was somewhere I spent a lot in in exam season even if it was just for chips or a McFlurry because everyone else was stress eating. Whatever I wanted to eat people were willing to drive and get me because it happened so rarely. Over the summer my appetite slowly began to come back and I was eating more frequently, but even now, a year on, my appetite still isn’t what it was before. I was known by my friends to be eating constantly. To always have food with me because I was hungry so often. People I meet now know me as someone with a dainty appetite who’ll only have a main meal.
I put quite a bit of the weight I lost back on, but I’m still not what I was this time last year, I’m just glad I feel better.
Thanks for reading. Have you had any issues with food? Has your appetite changed as you’ve grown up? Are there any habits that you find help your relationship with food? Let me know in the comments.