Lunch and lunchability

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Lunch and lunchability

By Caryn Corliss, Hebron High School

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The issue of body image never really made an appearance in my life until I was 14, at which point, seemingly overnight, it made quite the entrance.

Until then, I didn’t really pay attention to how the things I ate would affect the state of my body. I just ate what was in front of me, whether it be cotton candy or toast or broccoli. It was simple.

Once I started paying attention, things weren’t simple anymore. The points in my life when I have taken conscious actions to eat healthier have not always been the happiest, because as nice as it would be for healthy lifestyle goals to be thought of at meal times only, they’re not. When I choose to consciously eat healthier, that decision transcends into other aspects of my life. Like the kind of things I do with friends or where I look for comfort or energy when I’m stressed or tired.

When I live my life in a manner of “I’m going to eat what I want when I want it,” I think about food way less. When I try to be healthy, I think about food a lot.

When is my next meal? How long do I have to wait for it? Am I really hungry or just bored? How long should I drag out this hunger? What exactly am I going to eat?

I watch cooking tutorials on YouTube and look up recipes on Pinterest. Not even healthy recipes – cakes with intricate decorations and doughnut and homemade Pop-Tarts, anything and everything you could possibly imagine as long as percentage wise, it is mostly sugar.

My brain latches onto anything food-related and I use these video tutorials and blog post recipes as a means of what I can only assume to be distraction, promising myself I’ll try all of these things later, and that for now, I just need to accept the hunger or the cravings. In the past this mindset has taken hold because, as much as I would like this to not be true, I like the way it feels to be thin.

Self improvement can feel like a battle, but you should never be at war with yourself.”

Looking in the mirror and seeing that specific reflection feels good, but there’s an edge to that feeling; you start doing everything you can to make sure that it doesn’t go away.

Living life in definites can consume you. It doesn’t always make sense to do things like cutting an entire food group out of your diet. It can be very easy to fall into obsessive patterns, and I think it’s best to put forth the right kinds of intentions behind your dietary decisions: Not out of fear, but out of love.

Instead of eating a salad because you’re afraid of what you will look like if you don’t eat that salad, eat it because for that one moment, you thought it would be nice to give your body some extra nutrients, or because you might go running later and you want to feel ready for that. And if you want to eat a bunch of pasta or put mini M&M’s into your oatmeal, that’s OK too, because it’s OK to experience life, and experience things that make you feel full and happy.

Decisions made out of fear rarely feel good. Instead of making dietary choices based off a fear of what will happen if you don’t, make them because you’re excited about what will happen if you do. Maybe that means drinking lots of water to feel more clear-headed, or you want to nourish your body because you love it, and you love all the things it allows you to do. Things like climbing mountains and going ice skating and holding hands with someone and painting pictures and dancing in your pajamas.

Goals born out of desires for visual aesthetics rarely leave you feeling satisfied, because even if they are achieved, they don’t change your life the way you think they will. Instead of focusing on a look, focus on a feeling. The feeling of running away from something really fast, or being capable of lifting things on the heavier side; the feeling of having strength for yourself and others.

Self improvement can feel like a battle, but you should never be at war with yourself. You have to be on your own team, and make decisions based on what will be best for you physically and mentally. Having a “perfect” body might feel good in bursts as you pass a mirror, but it feels worse to sit with a hollow stomach and fuzzy focus and tell yourself you deserve to feel that way.