Navigating the Path to being Gentle with Yourself

By Veronica Gomez, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor

Throughout my time as a nutrition peer counselor, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with fellow aggies in regards to their health goals. Many times, the conversation has revolved around fitness and fueling for training. Sometimes it has been about getting enough food intake with such a busy school schedule. But the big chunk of conversation is still about losing weight and how to maintain a caloric deficit. Healthy aggies do not promote weight loss, point-blank. However, I’d like to touch on a common theme among students who wish to lose weight—a shared frustration beyond the UC Davis community. “I eat too much”. There is a mix of terrible emotions associated with thinking this about ourselves. It replays moments where we feel out of control with food, and it resurfaces the frustration with the inability to stop eating.

Some of the other peer counselors have written about hunger cues and intuitive eating– part of the answer to reaching a healthier lifestyle. What I want to affirm through this spiel is we cannot blame ourselves for having habits that have allowed us to survive the environments we tread. Food is comfort–as is music, as is reading, as is watching your favorite movie or television show.

Upon learning that our eating behaviors are not innate, I’ve been able to be kinder to myself. Being a Clinical Nutrition students allows me to take intersectional classes on nutrition, in which I’ve learned: food insecurity can dictate how much snacking is consumed, and therefore how many calories; the layout of our cities can determine how active we are and thus, our health status; our parents unknowingly model eating behaviors which children can adopt and carry on into adulthood; and having a more restrictive diet as child can impact our ability to control how much food we intake. This long list is meant to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with us for not having the perfect relationship with food right off the bat.

Our environment is a major aspect of who we are, so as you continue your journey to wellness, please be gentle with yourself. And remember, Aggies, there are so many resources available for you, don’t be shy to invite others on this mission.

UC Davis Nutrition Resources:

Nutrition Consultations and Drop in SHCS Counseling Group & Individual

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