One university student’s journey from binging to healthy eating.

UBCO Health & Wellness - Photo by Don Erhardt
UBCO Health & Wellness - Photo by Don Erhardt

Food and I have a love-hate relationship. Nothing gets me going like biting into a giant slice of pepperoni pizza or late-night granola with yogurt. However, as with many things in life, food can cause fear, guilt and obsessive behaviour. In the past six years, I have experienced it all.

In my first year at university, my relationship with food was at its worst. Like any first year university student, it is hard enough adjusting to living by yourself for the first time, let alone with a stressful workload and a new schedule. There were times where I would go through the whole day without eating or go to bed without dinner. It seemed like a punishment that would only end when I would binge eat any food within my radar.

I have always had an interesting relationship with food which corresponds to my stress and anxiety levels. Therefore, I used to be what I would call an obsessive eater. This is not a technical term but I think it describes the relationship I had with food well. My relationship with food varied depending on the factors I was prioritizing as the time: my health, my skin, weight gain, sugar, and the amount of stress and anxiety I was experiencing at the time. There would be some days I would hardly eat anything, even though I would be thinking about food all day. Sometimes, I couldn't understand why I was finding myself binge eating on chocolates at the end of the day when I was so intent on wanting to be healthy. Other times, I would be extremely tired and unmotivated because of the lack of nutrients my body was receiving. This was not healthy.

In the past year, I found I have drastically improved my eating habits by learning how to control my stress and anxiety. I found myself filling my grocery bag with vegetables and healthy snacks, and avoiding the treats aisle. I am not perfect, and there’s certainly some days I still barely eat anything. But the improvement has been drastic.

It’s worth mentioning that during my first year of university I was seeing a counsellor to help me cope with my stress and anxiety levels; this drastically helped improved my eating habits. Therefore, I can't iterate how beneficial it is to seek professional help. Nothing is more important than your mental health. I also had incredible support from my parents, friends, and boyfriend who constantly reminded me to take care of myself. Without my support system, my improvement would not have been so incredible.