Sunday, April 10, 2016

Food and Me

Flipping the channels this morning, I saw skinny foodie Katie Lee eating a fried grill cheese sandwich on the Food Network.  She was oohing and aaaahing with delight.

I don't generally eat things like fried grilled cheese. And I never ooh and aahh over food. That's just not my relationship to food anymore. (Side bar - if I were at a business dinner or my boyfriend's mother's house and fried grilled cheese was served, I would eat it.)

Notice I said my relationship "to" food, not with it. I don't have a relationship with food - I have relationships with people these days. Food is just that - food. It fuels me, and I prefer if it tastes good.

For most of my life food served as my only relationship - it was my best friend, worst enemy, boyfriend, parent - my everything. I went to food for comfort, relief, escape, company, love.......everything.

But that backfired. I got fat and uncomfortable and felt ugly and unloveable. Then, I starved myself and denied my body the fuel it needed to survive. For a long time, I angrily berated myself that food was for other people, not me.

Starving - for food -  made food even more precious and important. I obsessed about everything I didn't allow myself to eat - I wrote lists of the forbidden - mint chip ice cream, cheese cake, bagels with butter - endless lists.

Finally, when I could resist no longer, I began eating compulsively again with new fervor, but learned to purge "successfully" and my life revolved around bingeing and purging, and that was about it.

I couldn't live like that and eventually I had to break up with my bad relationship with food. I new that I couldn't stay so connected and engaged in eating. So, I began a new way of dealing.

These days food is in a place that works for me. I live alone and don't spend much time on food prep. I prefer it that way. The less time spent around food, the happier I am, in general.

I eat when I'm hungry, I eat small portions to see if that fills me, I don't eat frequently (again, the less time focused on food and eating, the better.)

In general, I like to make healthy choices; I feel best when I've eaten well AND don't feel stuffed AND don't wonder if I "should have had all those French fries..."

So many women I know make less healthy choices then feel guilty and complain for the rest of the day about how much they ate and how fat they feel. I don't judge their choices; I just wish they didn't so often regret them.  I never deal with that.

Yes, I do eat everything and anything, if I happen to want it, particularly if i'm at a social event. I'm comfortable eating whatever is available at those times and don't give it a second thought.

My sister, who has never had a weight problem or food obsession, is a gourmet cook and baker. She loves, loves, loves to prepare food and to eat delicious foods as moderately as she has since the day she was born. Food is a great joy to her. But it's one of many, many joys in her life. For me, it was everything. I had to put it in what for me, is it's proper place.

If I can help it, I avoid things that would potentially make me feel uncomfortable.

It's just easier this way for me. Each person gets to figure out her way of eating and dealing with food. For some people, it just comes easily and naturally. Wasn't so for me. But these days it is easy and natural.

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