1. You can eat whatever you want and still be fit and healthy
Sorry to be brutally honest. You may even be shocked by my first point - but it's true (to an extent). You can eat donuts, cake, chocolate, whatever and still be fit and healthy. You can eat carbs, bread, pasta. The moment you start to restrict any food or food group, is the moment you start to damage your relationship with eating. And that's exactly what I did (but thank god I learned from it). Why is food restriction so bad? Because think about it - is it sustainable? If you claim a food as bad, and avoid it, but then give in and eat it (because um, hello, IT'S GOOD), then you're likely to feel guilty about eating it and punish yourself somehow. Either by restricting food even more, or over-exercising. Then the cycle starts all over again. The key is to eat a balanced diet, that's sustainable and that makes you healthy. That means eating fruits, vegetables, grains, lean protein AND your favourite treats, cakes, cookies, whatever.
Some people do well with the 80/20 rule. Eat "clean" (ew I hate that term) 80% of the time, while allowing yourself to eat "treats" 20% of the time. Or some people like to follow the flexible dieting approach and count macros (learn more about this here). And some people just don't even think about it - they eat intuitively - listen to their bodies and eat what they want when they want. Your body is a powerful thing. I knows when it's hungry and when it's full. Really, eating shouldn't be that complicated. So stop restricting yourself from food. Food is good. There's no one that can argue with that.
If you're struggling with listening to your body when it comes to food. If you're not sure what makes you satisfied anymore, then I highly suggest investing in The 28 Day Reset Program. It will help you rediscover your relationship with food, it comes with over 150 recipes that are DELISH.
2. I hate cardio and I don't have to do it
Cardio is not necessary for weight loss, or maintaining a lean, healthy body. You know what is necessary? Doing whatever kind of exercise you want. For 2 years, the only thing I focused on was cardio. Steady. Rate. Cardio. I thought that was the way to my goals. But all (too much) cardio does is breakdown fat (cool) and muscle (NOT COOL). Especially if you are under-eating like I was. Now if you're someone who enjoys cardio, then do it. I'm not telling you not to do it if you enjoy about. But, ask yourself this, do you actually enjoy it? I tried to convince myself I did, but looking back now - I hated every moment of it. I only did it because I was naive and didn't know what else to do. Thankfully I found more enjoyable types of fitness like weight lifting, Pilates and PIIT (Learn why HIIT is better than steady rate cardio here)
3. I would have looked to myself for motivation, not the Internet
The first resource I turned to in my fitness journey was the Internet. Nothing wrong with that, I mean Google knows everything right? The problem is no, Google doesn't know everything. I was looking at the wrong things. I was looking at pictures of girls and comparing them to ME. First mistake. Everyone has different bodies and there's no way I'll ever look like someone on the Internet, or in real-life for that matter. I was also consumed my false messages about food that float around the Internet. That's where I got all my stupid habits - like cutting out bread, not eating after 6pm. If you want real advice or knowledge, then go to a professional.
4. It's not all or nothing
Even today, people claim me as the "healthy" one. WTF does that even mean? People attribute "healthy" with looking a certain way, having a specific physique, and eating 100% on point all day every day. That's wrong. There is no black or white in health. There's grey. It's called balance. It's about living a life that allows you to thrive in every way possible - not just about eating lean protein and veggies while working out twice a day. Health is about living, socializing, about those late night dinners with your friends, about enjoying the experience of eating popcorn when you go the movies. It's about NOT questioning whether you should have your favourite dessert your mom made for you. Health is living. Health is balance. Health is grey.
5. Do I want to be this person 5 years from now?
Are the habits that you're currently doing sustainable? Is it realistic that you continue to count calories until you're 90 years old in an old age home? Will you be that person who pulls out MyFitness Pal on your wedding day? When you have children, are they going to see you weigh yourself daily? Are they going to ask you why you skip dessert? Ask yourself, does your current behaviour belong in your future? I'm guessing no.
6. Self-love is not vain or selfish
Exercising until exhaustion and underfeeding yourself to the point that you become so tired that you can't even function is not loving yourself. During my whole disordered time, I tried to convince myself and others that I was doing all this to "take care of myself." I was lying and it's wrong.
The definition of self-love is different for everyone. But to me, it's about loving yourself, your mind, body and soul as a whole, all day, always. It's about forgiving yourself for your mistakes. It's about loving your body when it's bloated, sick, tired, scared. It's about allowing yourself to eat. It's about exercising because you love your body, not because you're punishing it. It's about surrounding yourself with people who uplift you and make you a better person. It's about accepting yourself for who you are every single day and embracing that. Self-love is the ultimate goal.
These are just a few of the things I wish I knew before I had my eating disorder and as I embarked on my "fitness journey." Do you currently still have any of these habits that might be sabotaging your relationship with yourself? I do. I still have thoughts that come and go that make me question why I'm doing things. I have the odd feeling of guilt when I eat "bad" or skip multiple workouts. But to me, that's nothing compared to what I went through. To me, acknowledging these things IS RECOVERY. It is accepting that fact that you may still have struggles, but now you know how to deal with them better.
I hope you guys take something from this. Learn to love yourself more today.