There is a love-hate relationship with food that I have. I love it when its smells are wafting up to me while I stir a wooden spoon into a thick bowl of soup. After I have greeted one too many cookies on my tongue, the hate relationship kicks up. It’s a vicious cycle I have tried to contain one too many times. Sour cream, thick and disastrous, mounded high on a buttery baked potato or chocolate chips – you little devils – melty and scrumptious in a freshly puffed up cookie straight from the oven.
I love food.
Food isn’t the problem, it the choices we make while staring it down. Its smells and textures take us to places from our past and tell us to imbibe until we feel good. Its emotional eating at its finest, and I have been semi-conquering it – but I’m still at war. I started this war back in October and that’s when I realized that it’s not really a battle at all. Food is just food and we need it to survive. It’s not the enemy. It’s a clear brain choice to eat a portion and be done. I decided to stop and really feel how I felt when I partook of more than my body needed. When I felt the fullness I needed, I stopped. It’s unbelievable how much you don’t overeat when you’re satisfied.
This resulted in the melting away of many ounces and layers of that yellow stuff we call fat. It magically dropped away when the food crossing my mouth was fresh and just enough. Sizes rapidly dropped and I found myself at a place I hadn’t been for 25 years. It was a strong place to be, but being myself, I waged an unnecessary war that didn’t need to be fought. One of my mind taking itself out of the good place and putting it back into the place I was before. My own thoughts took me off track and told me I needed more. Six months later, I’m climbing the mountain of self again – and I’m going to win.
Really, I’m not very far away from the place I strayed. My body, thankfully, didn’t betray me and go too far in the other direction – it was just those silly old thoughts that said simply, “Eat to be happy”. Food doesn’t equal happiness - control of it does. I am in control and that creamstick has no power over me with its richly sinful goodness. One quarter of that creamstick dipped in coffee once a week gives me a taste. Nothing should be forbidden, because in the end, food is not the dark stranger at the end of a dark alley. It’s what gives us sustenance and lets us feel alive. It courses its power through our veins and blood, giving us life. But that’s it – we need it to survive, not get drunk on.
I want the dark life-giving power of leafy greens, the heady taste of fresh radishes and the peppery bite as they slide down your throat. I will eat a cup of yogurt and a banana, feeling their creamy goodness enrich my blood. And I will eat that piece of chocolate cake, that small square of textures so comforting in my past, but that now eaten with the control and knowledge that its small circumference will not hurt me.
Choice. Portion. Life-giving energy. These are what I choose, because the lightness and energy I’ve felt while on this journey have been a changing source in my life. Going into a store and buying three sizes smaller than I’ve been since I had my children can do that to you. My body craves the healthiness it deserves. It wants to repair itself and bring me joy instead of heaviness. I am on this journey. I am living every second of it. I will not stop.
Published: June 5, 2012