When I was little, I associated success with convincing my parents to get me a new Barbie & failure with falling off my bike. As I grew up, success & failure became about academic accomplishments, aspirations & relationships.
When I got sick, success & failure became about one thing only: FOOD. My success in life revolved around how “well” I was able to starve myself, obey my eating disorder’s commands, not stray from my list of safe foods & how deprived & empty I felt. I lost sight of every other aspect of my life because I strived for so-called success & found it in something that almost killed me.
Inversely, I associated failure with an extra cherry tomato, a full glass of water/tea before bed, diversion from comfort foods, eating past 5PM & feelings of hunger.
Why did that happen? How did I let it get so bad?
Because I was sick & lost control over my thoughts. Mental illness is real & the same way a physical illness takes away your ability to function on a daily basis, a mental illness does too.
We also live in a world that teaches us to associate food with success & failure & a society that body shames on both ends of the spectrum. A food industry that markets foods one way but manufactures them another, making it hard to understand what to eat. A society that portrays the fit & healthy as successful & a kale salad as good & those who don’t train or pursue a healthy lifestyle & cookies & chocolate as less successful.
As cliché as it sounds, being spoon fed with ideals everywhere we turn doesn’t make finding balance easy. It actually perpetuates the idea that we’re better off on one end of the spectrum & not somewhere in between.
When I worked through my thoughts to regain control, I realized the only way to find my happy place was to let go of the ability I gave food to determine my worth.
“Good” food doesn’t make me successful. “Bad” food doesn’t make me a failure. What determines how successful I am is how HAPPY & GOOD I feel, How much LOVE surrounds me, how much I CHALLENGE myself & how MOTIVATED & IN CONTROL I feel of my life. That’s true success to me!