FishDreamer scribbles: Seeking Serenity Online

Sunday, 2 January 2005

My Relationship with Food

I am thinking about food. Not in a hungry way, but in how I relate to food and what it means to me. Why I can't seem to lose any more weight, because I love food and I love to cook and eat. I was thinking that it would be easier to simply deny myself adequate food than it would be to eat a healthy, well-planned diet, because then I would have to think about food instead of not allowing myself to think about it at all.

What is it? Two books on my reading list for the next month or so are Frances Kuffel's Passing for Thin (which I got from Jolene for a yule present and which Deborah reviewed recently) and Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp, which is the Jan/Feb book club selection and one I've wanted to read for ages. I am hoping that I can get a better handle on why I am the way I am about food, because I'm happy with myself and my athletic efforts for the most part, but I still want to lose a bit more of the weight and get to a healthy level.

I went to the gynecologist last week (she's also my oncologist) and had to weigh myself. I was fully clothed at the time, and then I made myself step on the scale in the robe later. It's not as bad as I'd feared, given my illness and all the physical therapy that made me stop exercising aerobically at all, but I'm not happy. And to have the doctor tell me I had the choice of changing my birth control prescription or losing weight, because at my weight the dosage loses effectiveness, was not fun. I told her I was heavier due to the physical therapy and of course the holidays, but it still was a little bitter.

And of course, I haven't been hungry much all day (2 cookies, 2 cups of coffee, and an apple so far) and now, writing this at 3:30 in the afternoon, I am. Curses! Must go eat something. Leftover spaghetti, leftover turkey noodle casserole, or leftover pizza? or cheese and bread, my other favorite thing? I decided to make the pot roast in the crock pot tomorrow instead of today, since we have so much leftover food sitting around. Need to eat that up.

So what is my relationship with food? I've had discussions with Mr D about how I refuse to eat crappy food except in dire necessity, and how I won't splurge on dessert unless it's cheesecake. I budget my calories, and I make trade-offs when I must. I won't eat fake food - nonfat cheese or mayonnaise, or margarine. I try to eat less of these things rather than eating a plastic version. I know people do it all the time, but what I want out of my food is real flavor, and nutrients, and those are harder to find in fake versions. I do drink nonfat milk, but I use whole milk or half & half in my coffee. I tried using fat-free cooking spray instead of olive oil when I make spaghetti sauce, but it didn't work so well. And that stuff ruined my pans when I baked something on it.

I think one of the areas I simply need to cut way back is alcohol. I've written before about my potential for alcoholism. I drink a lot, and then sometimes I don't drink at all. But I love red wine, and bourbon, and beer. Some other things too (a good gin and bitter lemon on a hot summer day, for example), but those three I will sometimes just drink and drink until they're gone. I don't think it's that I want the effects (being drunk, or even just mellow and tipsy). I sometimes like that, but usually it's a by-product rather than a goal. But a glass of wine is about 100 calories, and a beer is 150. A manhattan is near 200 (at least, the way I make them). Two or three of those blows my calorie budget for the day. And I think it's really stupid to limit food intake in order to have budget for the drinks. It just makes me hungrier after them, and then I'll eat whatever's at hand instead of something nutritious.

It's that budget thing. I sometimes feel miserly that I have a calorie budget I try to stick to, but it makes sense for me. How else am I going to know how I'm doing? I try to eat a certain amount of produce and dairy every day, and vary my meals. And eat whole grains instead of refined. Some people are able to eat properly without much thought, some people will never get there. I'm hoping to get there, eventually, but first I really need to look at my assumptions and attitudes and habits. I've done some of that, but like Juju of The Skinny Daily Post (which is undergonig some changes this year, and is always worth a read) I think I will have to watch my consumption always. The exercise is not effortless, but it is something I really enjoy so I'm not as worried about that part as I am about the food.

I don't think I have an unhealthy relationship with food, I just think I haven't quite figured it out yet. I'm working on it. And that is my equivalent of a new year's resolution, I suppose. Get back on track and figure out what I want, what I need, and how to get there.

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