Food is enjoyable for many people, but for some, it is punishment.
I used to feel that way about food. It was my enemy at first and slowly became punishment as my eating habits worsened.
In this blog, I want to talk about my past food struggles and how I overcame them by understanding the root causes.
Your story may not be the same as mine, but I hope it gives you a clue to finding the possible causes of your challenges or struggles and inspire you to make the changes you need in your life.
My dad was an absentee father, and my mom ran the whole household. She wanted me to take ballet, and I, too, from early on, dreamt of becoming a ballerina. I started dancing when I was four and kept at it devotedly for almost 20 years.
I was always the skinniest and shortest in class, so I never thought about dieting until adolescence. But after I turned 17, I grew six long inches within one year and my body became curvy. I was still pretty fit, but I was fast gaining weight.
Of course, this is something totally normal for women to go through, but it wasn’t acceptable in the ballet world I was in.
So I put myself on a crazy diet, especially before the performances. I ate only 400 calories a day and shed 20~30 pounds within a month. It felt good when people, including my mom and dance teacher, praised me for losing weight and looking “good.”
But that didn’t last long and it became harder and harder to lose weight.
When I started struggling to lose weight, food became my enemy. It felt like every single bite was turning into fat. I could tell my mom and teacher weren’t happy about it. Low-calorie energy bars became my new best friend. Dancing, which used to be my whole world, had now become my only path to acceptance. My dream had turned against me.
As I soldiered on one faithful day, I found myself devouring food like crazy, as if something got triggered. I still don’t know exactly what triggered it, but I remember clearly how much anger I had, especially towards my mom.
I kept eating as if there was no tomorrow. I’d buy a lot of sweets and snacks, and hide them in my room till I’d eat them all. I felt so numb that I couldn’t taste anything anymore. I was using food to punish myself. I could feel my problems, but helplessly I didn’t know the answers.
One day, I came across this psychology book. It said our subconscious mind gets created seven years after birth, and all the experiences are stored in this period of time. And we spend the rest of our lives proving it is right.
So if we experience love in this period, we will always put ourselves in a place where we feel loved. But if we experience abuse, we will find ourselves in abusive situations.
From partners to job-related or daily decisions, our subconscious has a strong say in our choices, and if we are from the abused group, we end up self-sabotaging.
As I was reading it, I realized that eating for me was a way to prove to myself that I would never be accepted as who I was. So I used it to sabotage everyone’s plans for me, including my own.
This was a huge breakthrough for me. It all started to make sense. After that, my relationship with food started to change.
The point of sharing my story with you today is to give you an insight that there may be a deeply ingrained reason why you struggle with whatever problems you have.
Your unhealthy habits may be a sign of self-sabotage.
Your story may not be the same as mine, but I hope it inspires you to look into your past experiences, which may link to your behaviors.