My Relationship With Food And Why Diet Culture Sucks

All I can think about is food. I will go to the local corner shop and buy as much ‘bad’ foods as I can, then I’ll go home and eat until I physically can’t swallow anymore. I’m spending so much money on food yet I never feel fully satisfied.

My relationship with food is confusing. I have all the knowledge I need to know what foods to be eating more or less of, I know all about portion sizes and I even know about macros. However, when I see food, my mind pretends to know nothing and just grabs whatever it can.

As you can probably imagine, this kind of eating pattern has meant that I have gained quite a lot of weight. But I’ll explain more on that soon. Let me just take you back to the beginning quickly.

Growing Up

Health wise, I was just like your average child. I ate the meals that my parents cooked for me and asked for sweets when we were out because that’s what children tend to do. I spent most of my time outside in the garden or at the park with my friends. I even joined clubs that involved physical activity such as karate and athletics, albeit I was terrible but it was a nice way to do exercise and spend time with my friends.

Then just by chance, seven year old self attended a Weight Watchers meeting with my mum once. My mum helped out there at the little stall that sold all the magazines and ‘healthy’ snacks. I remember trying one of the snacks and thinking that I was having the time of my life. I had a ‘healthy’ chocolate bar to eat, I could play around on the scales and everyone kept talking to me. Seven year old me loved it there.

And that was the start of my weekly Weight Watchers meetings.

I was never officially a Weight Watchers member, but I don’t feel like that made any kind of difference. I would go to the meetings, get weighed like everyone else (it was still all fun and games to me) and then eat a ‘healthy’ chocolate bar while my mum and I listened to the group leader talk about that weeks topic.

It all started off so innocently, but overtime, I started following the diet. I wanted to see the numbers on the scales going down, because that’s what everyone else was hoping to see.

As you can imagine from someone who was on a diet at the age of seven, my teenage years were hard for me in terms of food. Since joining Weight Watchers, we had quit and joined so many more times. We had also tried milkshake diets, Slimming World and Herbalife.

I would never consider teenage Eleanor to be all that overweight. I was considered at the higher end of a healthy weight by BMI but I didn’t think I was any different that any other teenager.

I got my first real boyfriend at age 15, and that is when I started to notice my bad food habits.

The Bad Habits

As I have already mentioned, my relationship with food is terrible. I have formed some really bad habits that I now struggle with every single day.

I would write paragraph after paragraph about my bad food habits but I feel like it might just be easier to make a little list with a few of them

  • Eating at any time of day or night and sometimes waking up in the middle of the night for a snack.
  • Not being able to go into a shop without wanting to ‘grab a snack’.
  • Instead of having a slice of cake, eating the entire cake.
  • Continuing to eat, even after I’m full.
  • Constantly craving a takeaway and then ordering too much food when I do get one.
  • Struggling to share food.

There’s definitely so many more bad habits than that, but I would be writing the list forever otherwise.

My Weight Loss/Gain Journey

By 17, I was classed as overweight. I was starting to struggle with my body image and I found myself comparing myself to others constantly. I felt like the fat friend. I didn’t want to go clothes shopping with my friends because I would need a bigger size than them.

Looking back now, 17 year old me wasted a lot of time being worried about nothing. Yes, I was bigger than my fiends. But that didn’t mean that I shouldn’t have enjoyed clothes shopping with them. I was only a couple of sizes bigger than my friends and although that seemed like a nightmare at the time, I just wish I could tell my past self to stop worrying and have fun.

As the years went on, I gained more and more weight. This is when it gets concerning.

I was always thinking about food. When is it time to eat again? What’s for tea? Should I go to the shop for snacks? No matter what I was doing, the thought of food ran through my mind.

Since I couldn’t stop eating, I watched my weight rise and rise. When I was 18 years old, I hit 16 stone which felt horrible. I felt like a monster. I was wearing a size 18 (UK size) at the time and it started to become harder to buy clothing. Having to use the plus size section just felt embarrassing and I really started to hate myself.

However, that wasn’t the end of the weight gain.

At the age of 22, I had decided that enough is enough. I wanted to lose weight and I felt like if I didn’t go so then I would never be happy. I joined a gym, had a personal trainer and started monitoring my eating. It was going well. I lost about one stone and I was feeling proud of myself. That is until everything went wrong.

I went through a bad time in my life, and everything felt uncontrollable. I started eating badly again and my bad habits re-emerged. The weight I had lost had come back and I started gaining even more.

At this point, I am around 18 stone and I am feeling very self-conscious. I’m trying to work on my bad habits and although it’s hard, I want to keep trying.

My Thoughts

I realise that this post might be all over the place but I just really felt like I needed to share these thoughts.

My diet is terrible and I feel like a failure when it comes to my weight. I see other people who are plus size and I think they are beautiful and their weight doesn’t define them. But when I look at myself, I feel like I failed at everything and I think everyone is laughing at me.

I feel like living my life through yo-yo diets has really negativly impacted my relationship with food and my weight.

If you take anything from this, I hope that you realise how toxic diet culture is. Wanting to do what’s best for your body is great but joining a diet is never the way. Do what’s best for you but look after your wellbeing too.

7 thoughts on “My Relationship With Food And Why Diet Culture Sucks

  1. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with all of this. You’re such a wonderful person. I hate diet culture too. Won’t ever own weighing scales as I don’t necessarily think it’s good for mental health. I’m here any time if you ever want to chat. And I’m glad you opened up about your journey as I’m sure it will help so many others… maybe even a parent contemplating taking their child with them to these weight loss groups and you may have changed their outlook for the better 💜

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  2. This is such a personal and emotional story to share, thank you for allowing us all to read it. You are not alone in your struggles with weight or diet culture, it’s an extremely unhealthy system we have created for ourselves. Hoping writing this was a bit cathartic and know there are people out there who can help. Stay safe.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your story. All of us just need a balance when it comes to food. Yes, we can eat sweets but only in moderation. It’s unfortunate that diet culture makes us so insecure about ourselves.

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  4. I highly recommend looking into Intuitive Eating. I’ve struggled with dieting my whole life as well, and this really opened my eyes to the toxicity of diet culture and allowed me to give up dieting for good. I’m still new to it and still learning, but I have gotten a lot out of it. Remember, your value is not based on a number on scale! ❤

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I really am glad you shared it, though I imagine it wasn’t easy. Diet culture is so painful. I went through (am still going through) a lot of the same things. Even though logically I know I’m not alone, or the only one who goes through these things, it often feels that way; it’s nice to read about people dealing with the exact same thing. I am sorry you’ve had to struggle with it though, and still feel like you are struggling. If you ever want to talk, you can find me (I believe you’ll have my email) via my email or my blog (which as many ways to contact me, so it can be whatever works best for you). No matter what, sending hugs.

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  6. You’re amazing and so brave for sharing your story. Please don’t feel like you are a failure – the fact that you are aware of your food habits and are doing your best to work on them is already a success! I know this post will help many others who are going through similar experiences as well. xx

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