My Food Story

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My Food Story

It all started when…

I grew up with five siblings. In our house, the first one to finish their plates was promised to get a second one. But when we used to finish, our mom would say op=op meaning whatever was on the table was really all there was. She wasn’t hiding an extra stash in the kitchen. 

You can probably pinpoint one important element of my food story right there, that it induced a sense of hurry and a feeling of never having enough in me.

It motivated us to finish our plates before the others. We were subconsciously taught that there was so much to go around. As I sit and look back at where my food story begins, I realize this was the point where scarcity was ingrained deep inside me.  

kid eating

My teenage years…

Another crucial point in my food story came when I was 14. My mom told me that I should be careful not to put on more weight. She had no idea how that triggered my self-consciousness and my sense of self-worth. I guess that’s where it went haywire. 

I would starve myself for as long as I could the entire day only to end up binging on a pack of chocolate chip cookies in my afternoons. Obviously, that made me feel guilty and sick afterward.

I clearly remember those years were definitely not a good time for me. As a matter of fact, I become quite a chubby teenager too.

The realization…

It was up and down from there. Like myself, everyone has a personal food story. My fear of scarcity had imprinted in my subconscious mind because that was the norm within our family. I don’t say that to judge my family but it was that observation that helped me understand the origins of my skewed relationship with food. 

By deciphering those bad elements in my food story, it enabled me to turn it around by reprogramming my eating habits.

 I chose to unlearn the bad habits I had subconsciously picked up and I consciously replaced them with new good habits. That, in fact, lead me to my normal healthy relationship with food. 


Fast forward to today…

If you fast forward to today I am proud to understand my body’s language.

Might come to you as a surprise but yes, I eat pizza, Baklava, and the occasional hamburger. At the same time, I clearly know that my body functions and feels better on other stuff. 

Learning to speak your body’s language starts with the willingness to listen to it. From there the vocabulary and the understanding follow automatically.

Take my recent holiday, for example, the first nine days I was eating way more croissants, baguettes, and pasta than I normally do. It only took my body 9 days to adapt to my new appetite. I went from an extremely high level of activity to absolutely no activity at all.

It all felt like flipping a switch. All of a sudden I was no longer able to finish my plate. My appetite had adapted to my new activity levels. It was telling me exactly when I had had enough. 

Your take

To help you do the necessary reprogramming you first need to identify what needs to change. 

Your assignment for today is to write your food story. 

Take a moment to reflect on the eating habits you were taught as a child and later developed as a teenager, a young adult all the way to today. 

What does your food look like now? 

Try to make a chronological story of highlights which you believe had an impact on your relationship with food.

Finally, highlight the three things that stand out the most to you. These will be the things you need to focus on to reprogram your relationship with food.

Good luck with this. Remember, it is one of the hardest things to do but also one of the most valuable ones. You can be really proud of yourself going the extra mile here and investing in a healthier version of yourself because you are worth it. 

Lots of love and big hugs.  

Valerie Ketjen

Valerie Ketjen

Passionate about strategic vitality and retention, Miss Vitality helps individuals & organizations boost physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness by sharing knowledge, experience and insights through digital and personal training and coaching. We contribute to a healthy planet carrying happy people.

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