Unlike addictive substances like alcohol and nicotine, you can’t just turn your back on food. Food is an integral part of our lives and our health. That is all well and good, but what happens when we start using food as more than just fuel, and begin relying on food to fill other needs?
socrates is credited with the the quote: “Eat to live, not live to eat.” Even though he wasn’t writing on weight control, what he said thousands of years ago is still important today. Food is timeless, unchanging in its importance to our bodies throughout the centuries. The lesson he shows us is one I worked hard to learn and understand.
When I struggled with my own obesity, I wasn’t just eating to live. I had gone beyond using food as fuel and an enjoyable part of life, and moved into using food in an inappropriate way.
I was using food to fill emotional voids, keep me company when I was bored, and soothe emotional turmoil. I wasn’t just eating to live, I was living to eat.
Every waking moment was spent thinking about food. Rather I was in the midst of blow drying my hair, or preparing lunch for the children, I was thinking about food. “What would I make for my special snack later,” I’d think as I was opening kiddie yogurt containers. Even while eating an enormous dinner, somewhere in the back of my mind, I’d be planning for my after dinner treat. Food was my ever present companion, both physically and mentally.
So what does eating to live look like in real life? For me, as a real life maintainer, (thanks Vickie for the term) eating, preparing, and enjoying food is still a big part of my day. Especially when you stop and remember that I have seven children, all of whom still live at home!
But my thoughts surrounding food have changed from near obsession, to pleasant planning. An example of this way of thinking might be how some of the food bloggers approach food. They obviously enjoy selecting, preparing and eating fine food. And although my food choices aren’t as exotic or as exciting as theirs, I nonetheless enjoy food. (Believe me, if I posted pictures of the food I ate, everyone would be booooored to tears!)
In the morning when I wake up I don’t think about the chocolate brownie left over from dinner anymore. I don’t worry that John took all of the leftover lasagna, nor do I fret when the children start to eat the last of the snacks. Rather I just go on with my morning, trying to get at least some of my daily chores done before the baby wakes up. When it’s time to make a meal, I just make what I planned, and leave it at that.
Food is no longer always on my mind. I still love to eat good food, but I don’t love thinking about food all the time. It’s been very freeing emotionally to let go of focusing on food all day long. I remember noticing the transition about midway through my weight loss. One day, at about 11:00 in the morning, I distinctly recall thinking, “I haven’t thought about extra food all morning.” I had begun the change.
How often do you think about food? I’m not saying it’s bad to think about food, because it certainly is not – but it may not be emotionally healthy to think about food all day long, every day, without fail.
The transition for me came slowly, but it did come. It can come for you too. Diane