What Food Has to Do with Self-Love

– CONTENT NOTE: DISORDERED EATING & RECOVERY –

In hindsight, I can now confidently say that what we put in our bodies is directly linked to how we think of ourselves and our concept of self-love.  

It’s 2am and I’m scouring the fridge for raw logs of meat and entire blocks of cheese. At the same time, I’m preheating the oven to make an oversized pan of brownies for most likely the second or third time in the week. By this time, I’ve already eaten one to three frozen pizzas, several bowls of chips and plenty of cheese sandwiches and desserts. If it’s the end of the week, I may have eaten a fruit or two, perhaps a vegetable, but not more than a few, as many make me want to vomit.  

The voice(s): You know that’s unhealthy right? Me, smiling defiantly: I know and that’s exactly why I want it. The unhealthier the better. I want to push my body to its limits.  

I had the wrong idea of pushing myself to my limits back then. Back then it was about the pain I could control and the dizzying desires that quite literally brought me to nearly faint every morning. I was low on energy and low on life. I didn’t have the proper concept of self-love…yet.  

As much as I had tried to hide it during the day, when I came home, it would all come crashing down. Eat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. Pass out. Grab the secret hidden food near my bed. Wake up and go. Maybe pass out again. It was a never-ending vicious cycle and I thought it would always be that way. Maybe deep down I didn’t want it to be that way, but it had already become an addiction by that point. This was a mental battle.  

Fast forward some years, I’m alone and ask myself who I’m becoming and where this is all taking me. I could work on it, I could change.  I go to someone who never let me down. Ok, not someone, but it was basically what I considered to be my main source of help and connection to the world somehow at that time, Youtube 

I don’t know what I typed in that day or if it was just Youtube’s algorithm that had me all figured out, but I was suddenly brought to a page of a man genuinely smiling from his heart, surrounded by nature and healthy food. I swear I could feel his warmth through the screen (or maybe it was just my laptop heating up after all those hours of YouTube). At that moment I asked myself what it would take to achieve such pure happiness and what looked to be perfect health too. Little did I know, that this would lead me to the beginning of a long-awaited journey of self-love and healing from the inside out.  He offered a soft smile and inviting eyes. He wasn’t here to judge; he was here to help; that was obvious. I listened with awe and empathy as he described his own journey that reflected mine in so many ways. At least I knew I wasn’t alone. I saw a quick flash of a future version of myself, tranquil, at peace, and inspiring others. That was enough to inspire me to find out more about breathing, nature and following a plant-based diet.  

I slowly started to reduce my meat consumption and increase the amount of love I was both receiving and giving. I began to feel more worthy somehow and the need to jump and say thank you to the sun for providing such gifts. This had never happened before. I felt lighter and as if the storms in my head were finally ending their battle, retiring their lightning bolts in exchange for sunbeams. Finally. As cheesy as it sounds, I felt like I could truly shine and connect with myself better and in turn, with others. I felt more united and felt that any act of self-love was also an act of universal love.  

As the months went on, I arrived at a point where I was practically entirely plant based and feeling better than ever before. I experienced the joy of the health benefits, both mental and physical and it was noticeable, both to myself and others.  I still have much to discover and am eager to do so. A new world of health, gratitude, and most importantly, love, all gradually opened up to me as I opened up to it. It was a long journey that I’m still on today and wouldn’t change for the world.  

I wish that we all keep discovering new healthy ways of self-love, not just in the interest of ourselves, but in the interest of other beings and the environment too.  

 

‘When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.’ 

-Paulo Coelho

 

Written by an anonymous community member.

 

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