I found re-educating my eating habits very difficult to do. After all those years of watching what I ate and calorie-counting every morsel of food I found it impossible to forget all that stuff about dieting. If you’re told not to think about an elephant, you immediately think about an elephant!
For years, every time I had thought about food it was very much a case of ‘don’t eat!’ How could I stop that? Food to me had been my enemy. Food was not something to enjoy. I could talk about food for hours with my friends – we were all dieting and very much obsessed by it. There were eight of us girls in an office and we were all in our 20s; all single, all looking for the loves of our lives and working with over a hundred architects and engineers – mostly men and mostly single. Looking back on it, what wonderful days they could have been! I never picked up the cues that anyone actually fancied me – even when I used to receive a few Valentine cards and even a couple of single stem roses on Valentine’s Day! I believed I was too fat, too freckly and too flat chested! Who on earth would fancy my big bum! So dieting and avoiding food was my life as was avoiding the man of my dreams as I assumed he would never fancy me!
It was very much small steps to begin with. I started eating regularly. I made sure I had breakfast, a snack at 10ish, lunch, another snack at about 3 in the afternoon and dinner when I got home from work. I could still hear myself calorie-counting and very definitely could feel myself becoming upset if I thought I’d eaten too much. I persevered though, and gradually – and it was very gradual – I began to enjoy my food again and eating became something to enjoy and not loathe.
I tried to eat “healthy” food but when I did that I found myself not really enjoying it! For instance, I would try and have an apple a day. I hate apples! I don’t mind them in an apple pie but there was no enjoyment for me in eating an apple but thought I should because it was a healthy food. If I did eat something that I didn’t enjoy, I felt I could then have something that was classified ‘unhealthy’ – like some chocolate. Why didn’t I just have the chocolate in the first place! So I vowed I would only eat foods I enjoyed rather than foods I thought I ‘should’ enjoy!
After a few months of eating in this way and not calorie-counting or jumping on the scales I felt fitter and healthier and looked better. I also found that a world existed that wasn’t entirely made up of food. I had energy to do things, and I didn’t feel so unwell or lethargic. It was about this time that I started cooking, and I absolutely loved it! So instead of avoiding food, I actively went out looking for it so that I had the ingredients for a recipe that I’d found! I discovered that I was quite a good cook – so cooking became my passion. It was still all about food but instead of hating it I began to love it!
|<< previous: Throwing Away The Weighing Scales||next: Body Image (Part 1) >>|