Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day. I had Friday off due to parent/teacher conferences earlier in the week. The weather on Friday and Saturday was unseasonably warm and I was able to spend both days getting some fresh air in the Colorado mountains. It is back to snow and cold for the next week so I am glad I was able to enjoy the unseasonable weather while it lasted. Oh, and for those of you who were interested in my running journey, I ran 3.2 miles on trail Friday afternoon. I do believe I am going to favor trail running to street running. I liken it to hiking with the views,mountains and fresh air.
Food has been on my mind a lot this week. It dawned on me several weeks ago that I have never had a good relationship with food. Food, for one reason or another, has been an enemy even from my earliest memories.
How can food be an enemy as a child? Some of you may have grown up with ” You may not be excused until you clean your plate parents.” My parents were born during the Great Depression in the US and grew up during WWII. Wasting food was not an option. I know my parents wanted the best for me and did not mean to cause me stress but up to about age 10 I had constant battles with my parents about what I would and wouldn’t eat at the table. I never liked meat. In fact, I detested everything except fish and white meat chicken. This was unfortunate because my mom refused to cook fish ( she did not like it) and we only had chicken once every couple of weeks. Needless to say, many meals were a battle of the wills with me eventually eating a few bits of hamburger helper, meatloaf, or whatever dinner everyone else in the family was grateful to receive.
As I moved into my teen years my mom had been a single parent for a number of years and often worked two jobs. My sister, Cindy, and I were in charge of most cooking and cleaning around the house since my mom did not get home until late. Cindy was a good cook, I was not. No longer a little girl, gone were the days of having mom argue with me over what I would and would not eat. Boxed cereal for breakfast, school lunch, and something I could tolerate for dinner. Often it was a TV dinner or boxed food of some kind. I had no idea about nutritional value or calories. Processed food seemed normal and my vegetables came from a can. I still remember in college when I saw fresh spinach in a salad for the 1st time. I refused to believe it was spinach because everyone knew spinach came in a can, was slimy, and drenched in vinegar.
My relationship with food went downhill from there. Decades of prepackaged and fast food. During my years working at KFC I often ate chicken twice a day because it was free and I was very poor. My weight went up and down through my 20s and 30s. Going on a diet meant trying to starve myself, the rest of the time I ate what was cheap and convenient. Then, my weight started going up and not going down. My blood sugar went up, my triglycerides went up, I weight 285 pounds and I still had no idea how to relate to food.
One day I walked into a church, the Liberal Catholic Church, to be exact. After talking with some of the members, who all looked quite healthy, I found that many were vegetarians. What? I don’t have to eat meat and I can be healthy? Why didn’t someone tell me this when I was four years old ? It was a turning point. It was the day I started reclaiming who I was meant to be all along, both physically and spiritually. I am not suggesting for a moment that anyone has to be a vegetarian to be healthy or happy. I am saying it was the first time I began to understand how I personally related to food. It was only the beginning, however. Growing up on processed food, it took a while to figure out how to eat nutritionally sound meals. This had nothing to do with letting go of meat and animal products. It had to do with understanding that potato chips are not a vegetable and Ramen noodles have no nutritional value whatsoever.
Now, it is time, however, to take my understanding of food to a new level. I was watching video on one of my favorite websites, Tonyaleigh.com, on how to taste chocolate ( video here). It is actually an art similar to tasting wine. It dawned on me that most of the time I do not taste or enjoy my food. I still often view it as the enemy, filled with calories, and just waiting to put weight on me. Or , I view it as a necessity, eating it as quickly as possible while multi-tasking. I’ve read the blogs; I know to play music, set my table, and relax. Heck, I even have my Pancake Monday ritual. Even so, true enjoyment of food without fear or guilt has eluded me. Last week I was very hungry and in a hurry. I ate a piece of 45 calorie bread. It tasted like cardboard (and talk about processed food). Why do I have 45 calorie bread? So I don’t gain weight, of course. I thought back to the video on how to eat chocolate and vowed never to by 45 calorie bread again. Better to eat home-baked or bakery fresh bread in a smaller quantity and truly enjoy it than to eat cardboard.
Developing a new relationship with food where I enjoy meals and do not fear or hate what I am putting into my body is going to be a challenge. My life to this point has been a battle with what was meant to give my body life and energy. This is my story of my relationship with food, for whatever reason it is a part of my life journey. I believe it is going to have a happy ending as I become more and more the person I was meant to be. Some of you will relate to this post more than others but I think it is a struggle worth talking about.
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by the blog.
Until next time,