My joy for today is eating.
Can’t most of us say that we enjoy eating? Is that not the true American past time? Every major event, holiday, or social gathering has food in a central role. I have had a complicated relationship with food in the past. Are there many women that would not say that?
A quick history… I will spare you the Judy Blume novel-esque details of the unhealthy aspects of my weight and eating in years past. Let’s just fast forward to the good parts. Blessedly, the more unhealthy aspects of my thoughts on food and weight mostly ended when I had my first baby. I simply did not have the time to focus on anything but this helpless being in front of me. Gone were full hours at the gym. Eating as little as possible in a day was no longer an option because I needed to breastfeed this precious little one, and not be faint during the day from only eating an apple. As I have mentioned in previous posts, selfishness had to take a back seat.
When I first had to give up most (or should I more honestly say “some”) of my vanity, I decided to simply not care about food, and eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I had always had difficulty recognizing when I was full, so I focused on learning that skill for a year or so. I learned that it was best for me to not totally restrict any foods, and to not treat food as a reward. Developing a healthy relationship with food has been a many year journey that has not ended. Reading Michael Pollan’s book, “Food Rules,” helped me put some of my thoughts into more succinct sentences. Even though I thoroughly dislike rules about food, the book summarizes what we all know is basic commons sense.
Directly from Mr. Pollan’s book, here are some of my favorites, with my translations in italics:
Better to pay the grocer than the doctor/Better to pay the farmer than the pharmacist. (A ridiculous number of diseases are caused by unhealthy habits, especially unhealthy eating.)
Eat meat with less feet. (Eat beef least, fish most.)
Eat food that will eventually rot (except honey). (If it will last forever in your pantry, it’s probably not the best choice.)
If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re not hungry. (Oh my.)
Another set of rules the author talked about in “Food Rules” was based on another book by Engels and Kallen, called “The No S Diet.” I was amazed to read about this plan, as I had just created this plan with my husband a few days earlier, and actually written it into a Word document. Even though I thought I was being so clever with my plan for our healthier eating, there really is nothing new under the sun. To summarize, the plan is basically “No snacks, no seconds, no sweets, except on days that begin with S.” The only difference between my plan and Engels and Kallen’s plan was that I had not cut out snacks. Although I am not the first person to think of it, it really is a great idea. My favorite part is that you can do whatever the heck you want on Saturday and Sunday. Dieting is only done on weekdays! Save the weekends for the fun! We started this plan to try to correct our horrible habit of eating in bed at night, while watching television. I know, there really is nothing worse. So now we only do it two nights a week. It is an improvement and has (almost) taught us that eating half a pack of Oreos at 9 pm is not a necessity in order to go to sleep for the night.
I have by no means perfected this plan or my relationship with food. It is best for me to keep this post short(er) because my number one rule about food and eating is not to have many rules. For me, the more I think about what I am or am not eating, the more I obsess over certain foods or certain restrictions, and on and on. It is just a slippery slope that is best for me to avoid. Let’s keep it simple people. Enjoy food. Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are full. Eat real food. And live it up on those days that start with S.
Enjoy your joys for today.