LPO 101: Learning to Let Go of Unhealthy Food Relationships

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I want to ask you a question.

How long are you in a toxic relationship with another person before you realize it’s time to leave? Think about your answer for a moment before you continue reading.

I know, for me, it took roughly two years. And over those two years, I was talked down to, praised, overly emotional, unhappy, happy, sad, excited, confident, insecure … you get the idea.

But I got out of it. I looked myself in the mirror and knew that I deserved better. It didn’t matter that I had essentially spent two years on a roller coaster I barely recognized as dangerous, because I was finally getting off of it.

Once I said my goodbyes to that boyfriend I never looked back. And from that point forward, I made a promise to myself to only seek out healthy relationships. Not just romantically, but personally and professionally as well. It’s made me a stronger person, and I have no regrets.

Fast-forward to two years later. I’m working full-time, mostly nights and weekends, and eating a lot of shit. The company would order tacos and chicken wings and queso and sandwiches to feed us while we worked during some of the year’s biggest sporting events. I thought that it was normal to eat the way I was, and to eat what I was eating as frequently as I was. But then I got tired. And my weight wasn’t coming off like it did in college with just one workout. And I slowly realized I was back in a toxic relationship … this time with food.

It took me longer to notice the effect food was having on me because, well, food is food. And people are people. But I started writing down some things that I was feeling, and finally found a solution.

I was going to break off my current relationship with food and start fresh. Because I fucking deserved it.

I’m one of those dramatic people who needs a clean state from relationship to relationship. So when it came time for me to do my bi-annual juice cleanse, I wasn’t just going to cleanse for three days. I was going to stick with a mostly plant-based diet afterwards.

These were my goals for my new relationship:

  • I want to feel good, not just as I’m eating, but after, too
  • I want to make confident decisions without feeling deprived
  • I want to have fun with the ingredients and flavors I eat
  • I want to feel so good that I don’t miss what I had before
  • I want to be proud telling others about my choices, without being that annoying person on social media who pushes others into being like me and judging them for their choices
  • I just want to be happy

That last bullet was the hardest for me to list. Because it meant that I wasn’t in that moment. But I wasn’t going to stop until I made it happen.

And here I am, almost one year into my new relationship and feeling great. I walk around feeling light, like the weight from the processed cheese is finally off my body. During flu season, I feel confident that my diet helps me dodge the germs and help my immune system fight back. I go out to eat and know that I can have room for dessert because my dinner isn’t lathered in sauce but instead coated in herbs.

And most importantly, I am really happy. And you should be too… Because you fucking deserve it.

So here’s some homework for you:

  1. Write down 1-2 sentences that describes your current relationship with food. Do you eat for comfort? Do you eat out of boredom? What food groups are you reaching for and how often do you feel badly after you eat?
  2. List 5-6 bullets for what you want out of your new relationship. Don’t hold back.
  3. Challenge yourself to remove some variables. Ditch the bagged cheeses. Eat popcorn instead of Doritos. Do what you can do remove the toxic food out of your life. And journal it when you start to feel different about food as a whole.
  4. Share your story with me. Write me on Instagram, Facebook or my contact page and tell me all about your new relationship with food. You better believe I want to celebrate the freedom with you.

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And now that I've compared relationships to eating food, I think it's safe to get this list started.

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I think it’s only fair to share with you some other versions, by the people who want, love and need them the most.

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