In our attempts to lose weight, stay in shape, and feel healthy, have you ever come across the idea to “think of food as fuel?”
The first time I read about this idea, I latched onto it right away. I would think of my body as the “car” and that the food was the “gas.” I wouldn’t continue pumping gas into my car after it started spewing out of the tank, would I? So why do I keep feeding my face when my stomach is obviously full? I tried it, and ate less... for about a day or two. Then I realized, there’s nothing less pleasurable (let alone appetizing) than thinking of my steak dinner, chicken salad, or lasagna entree as gasoline.
What went wrong?
I liked the idea initially. So why can’t I stop the pleasurable action of eating when I’ve eaten enough food for my body to continue functioning? The reason slowly became clear to me. I find it pleasurable to eat. I truly enjoy it. It gives me joy to sit down and eat a great meal. A good club sandwich can put a smile on my face... what’s wrong with that?
We all know what’s wrong with that... our celebrations have become all about the food. If you’ve ever gone to a Weight Watchers meeting, joined Nutri-System, or read a “diet” blog, you know that we, as a society, can’t celebrate anything without it involving food. It’s your birthday? Have some cake. Celebrating your anniversary? Go out to a nice dinner. Graduated or got a job promotion? Go out with your friends for drinks and appetizers. It’s relentless.
I’ve known that for years... and I have my own ways to battle the “celebration pounds.” Some of them have worked, some haven’t. But what the gasoline/fuel debacle made me realize is, I tend to see food and eating celebrations as the only time I get to enjoy myself. Even my hobbies, (that I truly do enjoy) had an eating and food element to them. I love scrapbooking... but it’s better when I do it with my friends and we have a bowl of chocolates nearby. I love taking my son to the park... but it’s better when the ice-cream truck drives by the parking lot. I hate shopping, so I “treat” myself to a calorie-laden, caffeinated latte as a bribe to get me going.
I realized that I don’t do ANY activities, hobbies, or vacations without taking enjoyment in the FOOD. I have to find a hobby, an activity, something that I can enjoy without food as the primary or even secondary “bonus” of participating. Any ideas?
If you have one, please let me know. You can find me standing in line at Starbucks avoiding shopping and buying a caramel macchiato.