My Love Affair with Food 1

First Published - June 2019

I’ve had a 47 year relationship with food! Its has been the one constant in my life that has shaped me, (in more ways than one!) nourished me and my children as they grew inside me and on a daily basis.

However, my relationship with food was recently called into question;

Hippocrates once wrote, or maybe said,

“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

I have recently finished a six-week course created by Sofia Molnar of Wake Up Your Woo. The course was designed for us to dig deep into everyday issues that make our lives just that little bit more complicated than we really want it to be!

During the course we covered a variety of different topics ranging from food, body image, ageing, blocks and integration. Together with a group of 25 other women, we huddled together in a safe online space to open up and talk about all things Love.

Our first topic to discuss was Food. We weren’t just talking about diets here, but more about how our emotions affected what and how we ate. Sofia had provided us with a number of journal prompts and I set about writing in my personal journal all that came to mind around food.

I did discover a number of things about myself, firstly that I am an emotional eater! Well, honestly I feel that most of us probably are. However, for me it was a case of trying to work out why I was an emotional eater. I have a terrible habit of sitting in front of the TV and binging on mindless crappy food and television. I think I can safely say I take Netflix and Chill to a whole new level!

I would sit and watch something, I don’t even know what, on the TV and eat my way through one bag of chips, a chocolate bar and whatever else I could get hold of in my pantry. By the time the evening finished, I was mind-numb and feeling fat, bloated and horrible!!

Realising this was a survival mechanism for me was an interesting discovery. I knew I was eating because the food was there. It most likely stems from childhood issues (I am not looking to blame anyone here, my life is what it is and I am happy). Growing up with just my sister and mum meant things weren’t always the best for us, we struggled and food was a big part of that. Not having enough, not sure when the next meal would come or even what it would be. All this affected how I was eating now.

I needed to change, the way I was eating had affected my health. At the end of 2018, I went for my annual health check and the blood test results that came back were not good. High cholesterol, borderline diabetic together with my high blood pressure was its own recipe for disaster. Thankfully, after a discussion with my doctor, we worked out that I had been eating all the wrong kinds of foods. Too many times eating out at the local food courts had resulted in eating meals that were most likely cooked with cheap ingredients, high MSG and bad cooking oil. These had all contributed to my blood work not being the best that it should have been.

Food plays an important role in my life, I eat to survive, I eat for nourishment, I eat for pleasure, I eat for sustainability, I eat to socialise.

During the course we talked about diets; for me I don’t think I actually went on a diet until I was in my early 30s. Even then it was to shift the baby weight but also as part of an MLM business I had decided to start. Needless to say neither the diet nor the business lasted very long. For me diet meant withholding myself from things that I enjoyed eating, and I didn’t want to do that. I was of the mindset of YOLO, You Only Live Once and I wanted my wine, chocolate and cheese!

Over the years I tried a number of diet fads, shakes, other MLM companies, no carbs, no sugars, no wine, no chocolate – HA!! Nothing really worked for me, or if it did it was very short-lived.

I eventually came across the 5:2 diet when that first came out. Again it sort of worked, but the idea of counting calories was never going to work for me. I hated numbers at the best of times, counting what I was eating wasn’t going to work either.

Today, I do Intermittent Fasting, intermittently mind you! I am more conscious of what I eat, I don’t have breakfast and usually have my first meal of the day around 12 noon. To date I’ve lost just over 4kg, but I am happy with that. I feel better, eat better, and like my food. I don’t deprive myself of anything. Oh and the best bit…I got the all clear from the Doctor! By just changing my eating habits for 5 months, I am no longer on the “danger” list of diabetes and high cholesterol!!

In the course we chatted about our relationship with food and how it makes us feel. Not from the point of view of nutrition but more emotional. When we first began this topic, my relationship with food was more of the survival mode as I mentioned above. Through doing the various journal prompts that Sofia provided us with, I managed to uncover things deeper than just food. An emotional tug at the heartstrings of my life in terms of why I ate what I ate and the types of food I was putting in my body.

I would go through phases of eating food just because. It was there, it was meant to be eaten so I will eat it. I would buy a slab of cheese to last a week, or a packet of biscuits, you know, a couple each afternoon with my tea…well it would never happen. I would sit down and gobble the lot!! I would eat the food because it was there and available.

Was eating too much making up for lack in other areas of my life?

Food is my most abundant resource. I always ensure there is food in the fridge, freezer and pantry. Of course having two teenage boys in the house also helped me justify having all this food. But it was more than that. If I had food in the house then I could survive. “Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.” ― Joss Whedon If I had no food in the house then my sense of security hit an all time low. I would panic, no food also equalled no money to buy the food. My shopping skills were called in to question here too. I actually don’t like food shopping. Unfortunately, I cannot avail of the online grocery deliveries, its just not available here. I would physically feel sick with anxiety going into the supermarket. This in turn would mean that I would buy quickly with no thought and get out of there as fast as I could. I would buy the necessities and run!

Even the food I bought in this state of mind would actually end up going rotten. It was like the food mimicked my thoughts. I felt horrible, my food turned horrible.

Things had to change, and by digging deeper into the reasoning behind my fears of lack and loathing, I managed to move past it and have recently managed to go grocery shopping with success. My food even tastes better!

My relationship with food is evolving now. I am taking the time to enjoy what I eat, what I buy and how I prepare meals. Of course, there are still a few bad days, but that is normal and I can now accept that. I am much more aware of my thoughts around food and how it affects me in my daily life and likewise how my daily life affects the food.

It really is a relationship that has blossomed. My relationship with food now comes with words such as balanced, nourish, joy, passion and play.

Loving my food is also loving myself! The adage of “Your Body is your Temple” could not be more right. I am looking after what goes in my body and my body, mind and soul are thanking me for it.