Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Where is your health on your list of priorities?

[Background image source:]

A colleague and I were guest speakers at a school's health day today. Just as we were about to leave, one of the district health promoters  presented us each a big plate of food. Food that I would never have chosen for myself. There was an unspoken yet palpable expectation that we finish the meal.

It was a gesture of thanks, of hospitality, of generosity. It was lovely and I adore the intentions behind it. I wish I could thank her again, right now. However, one of the lingering remnants of my eating disorder is that I absolutely hate it when I am "forced" to eat food that I don't want. The mere expectation of having to eat food that I my body didn't ask for just about pushes me over the edge.

I ate some of the food. I wanted to leave it but that would be unspeakably rude, especially in the African culture. I did not, however, finish it. I couldn't. The sweet woman reacted to my half-eaten plate with a half-smile and said "I will kill you, Amanda". I'm not sure why, but I get the feeling she wasn't too impressed with me.

This boils down to one of the fundamental decisions you have to make when striving to love your body:

Where is your health on your list of priorities? 

Would you rather force feed yourself than throw food away? Would you rather swallow food your body clearly doesn't want, than offend someone? Is your body a disposal unit? Is your health being sacrificed for the approval of others?

It's one of the principles of my eating that, funnily enough, supports both my recovery from my eating disorder and helps me to lose weight. It's from Susie Orbach's "On Eating":

Choose only foods you love.
Choose foods that sit well within your body.
Choose foods that satisfy you.

Don't waste your time with foods that don't nourish your body, your soul or your mind. Tofu may be one of the healthiest things going, but if you don't want it, don't eat it. If you feel an urgent need to eat ice-cream for breakfast, then ice-cream will be healthier for you at that point than granola.

Listening and responding to your body, your soul and your mind, are the only ways to really achieve health.

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