Food is not solely a means for us to acquire the nutrients we need to stay alive.
It’s is not just sustenance.
Sure, some of us choose to look at food in this way, but most of us don’t.
Many of us have deeper emotional and mental ties to what we eat and drink.
Our food and drink reflect our cultural, social, and personal backgrounds.
They are a part of our identity.
In many contexts, this is a wonderful thing.
We use recipes passed down through the generations to bond with our family.
We use traditional dishes to celebrate our heritage and our cultural roots.
Sometimes, though, our food identity might not be such a positive force.
We’re the mom who breaks her back to take care of her kids, even it means high stress, late nights, and no time or energy for herself.
We’re the dad who logs long hours to provide for his family, even if it means less sleep, fast food, and minimal physical activity.
We’re the guy who never turns down a drink.
We’re the girl who never says “no” to a brunch.
We always clean our plate.
We always have dessert.
We don’t do these things solely because we personally enjoy doing them.
We might feel that they’re a reflection of who we are or where we’re from.
Often, these stories we tell ourselves reflect our values.
They represent the kind of person we want to be or think we should be.
We do these things because we know that’s how people view us.
We do these things because that’s how we view ourselves.
We do these things because of expectations – external and internal – that we feel we must fulfill.
To not do these things means not living up to those expectations.
However, letting go of these expectations might be just what we need to do to break out of patterns that aren’t serving us.
This might necessitate letting go with some aspects of how we – and others – view ourselves.
This can be scary.
This can bring quite a bit of resistance, from within ourselves and without.
There can be push back.
We might draw attention when we order a water instead of an IPA.
We might get comments when we say “no, thank you” to dessert or snacks.
We might get a hard time for leaving early to go home and get some much-needed sleep.
Most of the time, responses such as these are in good spirit.
They, along with the expectations upon which they’re founded, wane with time
In the event that they don’t, we might need to assess also the people with whom we surround ourselves.
We’re worth more than what or how we eat and drink.
We’re worth putting ourselves first.
You’re worth putting yourself first.
You don’t need to be perfect by any means, but changing how you look and feel requires changing how you eat, drink, and live.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself to get started.
What aspects of your identity are tied to how you eat and drink?
What habits and patterns have you developed that you now see as a part of “who you are”?
How might these patterns be holding you back from your health and fitness goals?
How might you change you see yourself to give you the confidence to make better choices than you’re making right now?
Could you start to see yourself as the guy who goes to the gym instead of happy hour?
Could you start to see yourself as the gal who orders steamed vegetables instead of fries?
Could you start to see yourself as the person who says “no, thank you” to desserts, even if everybody else is saying “yes, please”?
Change is hard.
It doesn’t happen overnight.
You don’t have to completely change everything at once.
See how each change “fits”.
Small changes, compounded over time, add up to major transformation.
There’s no need to rush.
You’re worth the time.
You’re worth the effort.
You’ve got this.