Growing up, I was a very picky eater. I pretty much ate nothing and wasn’t really encouraged or even exposed to different types of food and different flavors. I ate pretty unhealthy and extremely boring. In fact, when I started dating my husband, at the age of 20, he old me that I needed to be open to trying foods or we couldn’t date anymore. This may sound harsh, but I always say, even if we didn’t end up together, this was one of the best things he did for me. I wanted to be with him and trying new foods was something I felt was appropriate to ask of me. I felt that he was worth making a simple change for and this change actually opened me up and was actually helpfu for me.
It’s now 26 years later and there are so many more foods that I have not only tried, but I actually enjoy. My food repertoire has gone from boring and unhealthy to much more exciting and, at times still unhealthy, but also much more healthy. I have learned so many things about health and food, about food and stress, about food and love. My love of food and holistic health have grown and continues to grow, but our food culture and our culture of ease and grab and go unfortunately has fed my food addiction of unhealthy and unnatural foods. This food addiction has also contributed to my weight gain and my somewhat unhealthy relationship with food. I have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I think that I could be a high risk for one without the right support system in place and that scares me.
My weight has fluctuated from 118 pounds at age 20 up to almost 180 pounds and everything in between. I have tried different diets and all have worked, but never in the long term. What I have come to realize, I don’t need a “diet”; I need a way of eating. I need to learn about food and how food interacts with your body, mind, and soul/spirit. One of my favorite food philosophies is eating real food, food that comes from plants and animals, food that is made in your kitchen not in a factory. The other food philosophy that I love is eating until you are 80% full. This second one is a really hard one for me to follow and that is why I think I have issues with food addiction and at risk for an eating disorder. I sometimes overeat to the point of making myself vomit or I eat so fast that I don’t chew my food and the food gets stuck and I end up vomiting.
My goal with food, is to learn about how food helps our body. I want to learn, practice and teach others that food feeds us, body, mind, soul, and spirit. Food brings us together as family and friends gather to share a meal or traditions, grounds us back to the earth, literally feeds our bodies and our minds as well as our spirit. I know a lot about how I want to see food and how I want to teach others to see food.
I no longer want to diet. I want to eat real food. I need to eat mindfully and take my time to enjoy my food so that I actually taste my food and allow my body and my mind to connect so that I don’t overeat and I recognize when I am 80% full vs 180% full. I want to eat flavorful foods that are part of my history and my husband’s history as well as other cultures. There are so many different flavors and foods that we can share and enjoy. I need to eat until I’m 80% full so that I don’t tax my body, so that I don’t put my body through the trauma of vomiting.
I want to change my relationship with food so that I can help others with their relationship with food. I want to learn about food and stress. I want to learn and practice eating mindfully. I want to visualize how the food I put in my body affects my body and see that in a way that helps me do what is right for my body.
What are some of the changes I have made? I am trying to eat out less and cook in my kitchen more. I am trying to eat healthy anti-inflammatory foods that nourish my body and taste good. Monday I made Indian spiced red lentils and it’s what I have for lunch today. Last night, even though I am not a fan of salmon, I made salmon for my family and everyone actually ate it. I have had a green smoothie every morning for the last 3 mornings. I am cutting down on my coffee intake starting today. I am going to continue to learn what foods and flavors are healthy for my body and start cooking with them. I am going to start planning my foods better and getting stricter with my kids about what I will make. I don’t want them to wait until they are adults to start trying foods and only if they meet the right person to encourage them to do so.
What is your relationship with food and diet? Do you find yourself following “diets” only to “fall off the wagon” and go back to unhealthy habits? I almost hate to ask in that way, but I also think that seeing our food patterns as a lifestyle change vs a short term way to get down to the size we want and then going back to our past negative behaviors.