I am on a journey to develop a healthier relationship to food. All my life food has been an obsession. My mother was a good cook, but she was also a WW2 survivor and as a post war baby I was fattened up as an over compensation for the rationing that occurred during the war.
I became a fat child and then a food addicted obese adult.
My obesity is not all my mothers fault, but the eating patterns that have lead to it were set down by her a long time ago. Having said that I take responsibility for the past 40 years which have been under my own control and fully admit that I have been obsessed with food. Shopping for it, cooking it, eating it, over eating it.
Over the past year I have lost 10kg. At tops I weighed 98.2kg. I now weigh 88kg. I need to lose another 18kg to be a NORMAL weight for my height, age and sex. 70kg is a good weight for me with 73kg being tops.
There was at time when I weighed 75kg. I remember it well. I felt so good.
Recently, as part of Living Simply, I culled my cookbooks. I don’t actually cook a lot from cookbooks. Cookbooks are more like ‘food porn’ for me. I love reading the recipes and looking at the pictures. So, my collection was taking up took much space, creating bad feng shui and annoying my partner, so I got rid of most of them.
Something funny happened when I did this.
It was like I cut the cord that bound me to my food obsession.
I still like food, but I don’t obsess about it. I used to wake up thinking ‘what shall I have for breakfast?’ then on the train into work ‘what will I pick up for morning tea?’ at work ‘what will I have for lunch?’ and then during work I would be planning dinner.
Breaking that hold that food had on me, letting go of that obsession has been so liberating. I am conscious that I have room for other thoughts.
At around the same time that I culled the cookbooks and let go of the emotional comfort they gave me, I began reading about the food industry and how we are influenced to eat mindlessly and to eat more, bigger and bigger portion sizes as well as high calorie.
I read about ‘mindful eating’ and I realised that I didn’t have a connection to my stomach other than forcing too much food into it. I didn’t really know how to feel if I was getting full. So I started practicing mindful eating.
I set myself up at the table without the distraction of the TV, magazines or the like and mindfully ate a meal. I was surprised at how different it tasted. I actually enjoyed my food for the tastes and colours. Then I also found that slowing down, chewing more made me connect with my stomach and I got this signal, that I swear was never there before, and I knew I was feeling full.
I now have a different approach to food.
We live in such abundance, there is no need to eat as if we are storing fuel for the winter. There is no famine in our society. We have more than enough on a daily basis to sustain us.
My partner is looking at me and I can see them thinking that I am on my way to anorexia LOL. I could never become anorexic. I love food to much to be anorexic. And that has been the problem in the past except that it’s been more like ‘I love too much food’.
So, I have let go of my relationship to food. I no longer snack. I eat only when I am hungry (although sometimes I have to eat to the clock for convenience) I slow down and eat my meal mindfully.
Having done this for the past 2 weeks, I find that I have had to dish up less food for myself. The servings I used to put up are now too large.
If I go out to dinner I de-construct my meal. Generally I can halve if not quarter the protein component and then halve the potato quantity. I eat all the vegetable.
When it comes to dessert, yes I still enjoy dessert occasionally, but I ask for no cream and ice cream and generally find I leave half of it on the plate.
I have finally let go of the addiction, the obsession I had with food. I am now eating the way our grandparents ate. I practice Hara Hachi Bu – I eat until I am 80% full.
Life is good.