Accept that food is fuel and eat to live, not live to eat.
Can I tell you how much I hate this statement? We all know it’s not true. Very few people just eat to live. Eating is enjoyable. Eating is not the enemy. I’ve been to so many weight loss groups over the years and I’ve heard variations of this statement. We eat at all sorts of celebrations throughout our lifetimes because food is good and it’s a way to share something that you made or someone else made. In biblical times, people needed to eat to and Jesus fed thousands. I’m sure they enjoyed that food. Sure it was definitely fuel, but it was probably also enjoyable. Wedding feasts extended for days, weeks, months, and it was cause for celebration. There I said it, I live to eat. It’s not the sole reason I live, of course not, but food is a way we connect with others over the table, looking into each other’s eyes and hearing stories. So, I will continue to argue (in my head of course) when I hear this statement. <<<insert whiny voice>>> Accept that food is fuel and eat to live, not live to eat.
This complicated relationship that I’ve had with food began young. I didn’t have an ‘off’ button. Partly because of scarcity, we’d run out of food before the next paycheck, so eating saltines and other non-delicious canned and frozen foods would be all that was left in the cupboard or freezer. We never went hungry, it was just survival food.
German chocolate cake…mmmmm. My dad loved cake. When payday happened (yippee!) our treat was to go BIG grocery shopping because we had money! Woot! Dad would usually get a chocolate cake. Once we got home, we’d share it and love every minute of that delicious experience. There was emotion connected to this experience. We didn’t have much, but we had each other, and chocolate cake.
Oh yes, and Little Debbie Cakes (I’ve heard these called Little Diabetes Cakes, of late), Grandma Gussie always had boxes of these in the cabinet when we’d go visit in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. I loved the Oatmeal Creme Pies, Nutty Bars and the Peanut Butter Crunch Bars. (LAWD, take me back!) Emotion was also attached to this, grandma Gussie was as sweet as those Little Debbie cakes. I loved her. Every time we’d leave to go back to Texas, I’d cry ten gallon hat tears, because I already missed her as we were leaving the driveway of her house.
In high school, when I was near my lowest weight of 109 pounds, I was obsessed with every calorie that went in my mouth. I remember freaking out because I was so hungry. I ate a bag of microwave popcorn, only to exercise for two hours to make sure I didn’t gain any weight. Tell me, what kind of living is this? Certainly not freeing. Certainly not what I wanted to dictate my thoughts and feelings 24/7 for the next 50 years!
So at some point, probably after the birth of my first-born, I decided I wouldn’t be a prisoner to food. I just stopped thinking about it. I stopped worrying about it. I abhorred talking about calories. New diet? I don’t want to hear about it. I’m not going to do it or be successful. I didn’t have the will to go back to Obsess-Ville. I had moved away from Obsess-Ville and I wasn’t going back.
But I ended up in the Wilderness, lost and wayward. It took me many years to work out my relationship with food.