I used to imagine that the best thing in the world would be to be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and suffer no health or weight consequences. Now I’m pretty sure that the best thing in the world would be to have a thriving coaching practice AND be able to travel as often as I like whenever I like. Food, my old friend and companion, doesn’t really figure into it any more.
The thing is that I used to think about food pretty much all of the time. When I was trying to lose weight I spent a lot of time planning what I would eat, procuring specialty ingredients that would allow me to maximize my experience while staying inbounds. I spent a lot of time preparing complicated and elegant dishes that followed all of the rules. I made it a point of pride. And I thought about food all of the time.
In a later phase I pursued food thoughts with ultimate health as the goal and again I embarked on food thinking with vigor. I planned, I experimented, I cut out toxic elements, I cut out unethical elements, I cut out ingredient after ingredient and then searched for recipes that would recreate the flavors I missed. I made it a point of pride. And I thought about food all of the time.
The question a coach would ask is if I felt happy and satisfied, fulfilled in this food obsession. Did I want to be a food writer/health chef/food guru/restaurateur? No, then what are you trying not to think about? Where else could all of this energy go? Is it really necessary to think about food all of the time to achieve goals that are important to you? Are there other goals besides the shape and condition of your body? Have you thought about those lately?
I both had and hadn’t. You see the latter part of the food obsession occurred when my twins were small and I was still staying at home with them full-time, and there was a tugging at the edge of my psyche that told me it was time for me to begin some work again, and I had to face the question I couldn’t ever answer comfortably before then: what do I want to do in the world? How do I want to make a living? I had tried to figure this out many times with the methods our culture supports (spread sheets, personality assessments, guidance counseling, interest surveys) and the results had been, while not a total failure (I did some cool and interesting stuff), I hadn’t found anything I wanted to return to. I felt like there was a better, if not a newer, answer to the question and it terrified me. My inadequacies as a parent (yes, we all have them) frustrated me. My sense that I was losing myself in all of my care taking made me feel like I was drowning. And so I tackled the most concrete problem I could find: feeding myself and my family in the BEST way I could. I was excellent at it, and I thought about food all of the time.
Flash forward to now. My life has expanded; my soul has stretched. I found something that I LOVE to do (that was a bumpy road) and I willingly put lots of time and energy there. I took my own BARE journey and stopped seeing my body as a collection of flaws to be sneered at. I unearthed a deep and abiding love for the body that carries me through this world. I stopped avoiding all of the stuff that was keeping me from having a better life as a woman, as a wife, as a Mom. And as I stopped avoiding it, as I began to address those worries, problems, concerns, cares; as I began to forge pathways that felt like progress, adventure, and celebration, I stopped needing to think about food so much.
I stopped needing to control it. I stopped needing to eat it to entertain/distract/cheer myself up. I stopped even finding it as interesting as I used to. My pleasure takes on so many deeper and richer forms as I grow new wings and see how much power I can have in all of the parts of my life, not just on my table. Food is necessary to me, and we can be friends, but I don’t NEED it; it doesn’t COMPLETE me (a la Jerry Maguire). Having put food in its place, I can now dream and plan trips and programs and time with friends, and that feels like freedom.
If food is taking up a lot of your time, maybe it’s time to find a little freedom. I can show you how. If you want to explore how to change your relationship with your body to make a shift in your food relationship easier, check out this free MiniBook.