Food Rule #7: Let Yourself Relax with Food

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to ‘succeed’. Part of succeeding in the modern-day is to have a good job, be intelligent, funny and slim – as well as eating healthily. According to this image of success I am very much unsuccessful and I accept that I do not fit the modern day mould that we pressurise ourselves to fit into.

Sometimes we get ill, or run down or tired. It happens that we can’t be bothered to cook every day, or we are stuck out and about, or over-indulge at a party. For myself, and many others living their day-to-day lives, having a mental health illness kind of misshapes you from fitting into the typical “success” mould quite quickly. That’s fine. When I am unwell, and being rather unsuccessful at living my life I reduce all expectations of myself, including that of eating healthily. Sometimes I want to eat everything chocolate related, and I do. I let myself relax with food, and let myself off the hook in terms of my expectations of myself.

Often when unwell it can occur that you have no appetite what-so-ever. In this instance, if you can eat one thing that day only as a result, it can be anything that you can manage. Something is better than nothing and that’s OK. Usually when I am on the mend from an episode I start re-instilling my ‘normal’ which includes prioritising healthy and balanced choices around food.

By not overwhelming yourself with ‘healthy eating’ expectations failure is not an option. There is no failing in healthy eating, only doing what you can and being honest with yourself when you’re not. Health is not about success or failure – there is no passing or failing, only doing and not doing – and what is ‘healthy’ for you one year may be different a few years from now.

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