I believe most women and a growing number of men we ask would say that this relationship is a complex one, at least at some stage in life. And mine is no different.
Throughout High School and in the first two years of University I did some modeling. At first my body was exceptionally lean, due to genetics and the fact that puberty hasn't yet fully kicked in. When it did my hip measurement "skyrocketed". The agency wasn't too excited about that but, I brushed it off as in my view-it was inevitable and not in my control.
A few years later I had the opportunity to go to Tokyo for a month- a market favoring the super lean build. I was asked to lose 3-4 cm around my hips.
I realized doing this would negatively affect my health so I declined and left modeling all together.
It's easy to sing my own praises and say that the industry didn't affect my relationship with food or body image, but that wouldn't be truthful. In varsity I was tempted to eat smaller amounts and run extra kilometers on the treadmill, but was never able to maintain it. I remember having a few bad habits around food back then. I was definitely stuck in the diet/ overindulgence cycle. At the same time I truely believed weight loss to be an unhealthy endeavor for me. Yet I was left with the thought that maybe I was weak and lacked self control because other girls seemed to have no trouble achieving an "acceptable" hip measurement. I remember one event where I was standing in a pharmacy, considering slimming products for about an hour, then leaving without buying anything. The mind is funny that way. We can be sure of a truth, that weight loss would be bad, yet there is still room for a bit of self doubt.
Growing emotionally and in knowledge, with fantastic personal relationships, over time I was able to heal my relationship with food.
Now I eat healthily because I choose to do so. Because I enjoy the way it makes my body feel instead of look. When I indulge, I do so free of guilt. I don't own a scale.
I exercise by doing things I enjoy - a walk/ run on the prom or a hike with my husband. Exercise for me, is a good way to relieve stress and gain perspective- to see what my body is capable of doing and how thankful I should be because of it.
A relationship with food is one of the most important relationships a person could ever have. It influences all other human relationships because it has such a big impact on our relationships with ourselves.
As with any other relationship, a relationship with food isn't a stationary thing. Sometimes I still need to remind myself of what I believe but ultimately, food is my beloved friend, my interest and my vessel to a healthy body and mind.