What is it about the word diet that makes your tummy rumble? Why does ‘low-fat’ make you think ‘low-taste more like!’ and why is it that when you declare yourself to be on a diet, foods that would never usually appeal to you, seem virtually irresistible. Our brain is obviously wired in some sick way to torment us, place obstacles in our path and make ‘body beautiful’ seem like an unachievable pipe dream.
My latest calorie controlled journey began only yesterday and already I’m slipping into old, bad habits; day dreaming about cream cakes, fantasising about chocolate and generally just obsessing about forbidden fruits …… strawberries and pomegranates are of course delicious but, it’s the chewy meringue and pillowy cream underneath that I’m dreaming of!
Food, for me, represents nurture, love and togetherness- friends and family gathered around a table sharing stories, laughing, sometimes crying and reminiscing, enjoying each other’s company and delighting in the food you’ve prepared for them; rich, unctuous one-pots that warm you up when the weather is cold outside and sticky, squidgy puddings that make you close your eyes and sigh. Never, on reflection, are these scenes accompanied by grilled fish, steamed vegetables and fruit salad…… they just aren’t the stuff that dreams are made of.
For others, food is nothing more than a means of survival, a necessity, something one partakes in two or three times a day because, that’s what you do, like breathing. For some, food evokes no memories, it isn’t closely interwoven with scenes of family, friends and love, it represents nothing more than mere sustenance. I have a ‘relationship’ with food – it’s as complicated, deep and meaningful as a marriage, it can make me happy when I’m down, energised when I’m feeling lethargic, comforted when I need to be, but most of all, it can make me feel guilty and it is this aspect I need to really deal with in my pursuit of ‘body beautiful’
I need to examine my feelings towards certain foods, rewire my brain as it were and I think I need to make new memories. I need to somehow accept that ‘healthy’ and ‘delicious’ needn’t be mutually exclusive. I need to be firm with myself, not stumble at the first hurdle; yesterday my youngest told me he liked me ‘cuddly’ and I almost took this as carte blanche to not fall, but literally leap off the wagon, after all, who was I to deny him his cuddly mum? I reminded myself that actually, I’m not just cuddly, I’m fat. I can still give great hugs if/when I’m slim (and indeed will probably be around to give them for a lot longer than I would if I don’t make some big changes). I paused at this first hurdle, but then I jumped over it; I’ll chalk this up as a small victory! There’ll be loads more hurdles, obstacles and battles along the way and I know I’ll stumble sometimes but, I’ll get there. I need to find some new analogies too, I don’t want my relationship with food to be a battlefield. Food and I need to redefine our friendship…….