I ponder this quite a bit… Where do all these feelings and this constant fight with food come from? Why do I have such a bad relationship with food? For me (as least part of it) came from growing up feeling restricted. We didn’t have a lot of money so food was quite often simple and repetitive. I remember a lot of soup, rice, bread, pasta and milk growing up… what’s the common denominator here… $$$ they are all cheap. It wasn’t always this way but for a large chunk of my childhood into my teens this was what we ate. Money was very tight; feeding me and 3 boys, meant cheap food that was filling for growing kids was the best option. Still to this day I look at rice with a slightly sideways glare of disapproval remembering all those times it was served up to me for dinner and then as dessert (urgh rice pudding), recalling that feeling that the bowl in front of me full of little white fluffy things would never end…
The minute I started working (about 2 months before my 13th birthday), with the little money I had left over, I began supplementing my diet with foods of my choice. Whilst unaware at the time that some of my choices were not healthy as I thought, there were definitely plenty of times I was eating food far from anything that resembled healthy. Gorging on and reveling in the flavor with amazement, who knew food could taste that good. We’re talking about chocolate and lollies by the bag full, lasagna toppers (a little square lasagna thingy that was deep fried), hot chips, deep fried chicken in rolls, dammit corn chips in rolls… tasty, nope nasty stuff. It gradually narrowed down to mainly just sugar bombs (Chocolate/lollies) and that shit is just plain addictive – I would go as far as saying most processed food is. Over the years this food became my solace. When I was suffering from high stress or anxiousness this food whisked me away to a world of my own design where everything felt better. So as you probably have guessed there have been many, many times (hopefully all in the past) that I have become a little trigger happy. And food, glorious food, has for some time been my weapon of choice.
Acknowledging my (or your) difficulties with food, I believe is one of the most important steps to being successful with fat loss and healthful living in general. Triggers can be (but not limited to) Emotional, Situational, Social or Psychological. It’s so important to honestly try to pin point what moment and feelings make you tune out from your better judgment and blindly grab that comfort food and stuff your face with it. When I did this in the past, I would always convince myself I didn’t have control over it, but that’s just not true. I have control; my problem was that I didn’t want to face it.
So what are my personal Triggers? The biggest one would have to be what I call emotional stress / anxiety, a stressor that is related to something personal, followed by tiredness/lack of sleep, frustration – Feeling like something is not working or out of control and of course parties, dinners etc.
I was tested this weekend past when we spent a weekend out in town, away from my kitchen and the carefully arranged contents of my fridge. It was my Fiancée’s birthday, we had a hotel room for the night in the heart of one of the best food strips in the city (Lygon Street), tickets to the theater and the football grand final (AFL), it felt like a recipe for doom. As a result I was feeling pretty anxious leading into the weekend. Knowing that in the past when I have been presented with the wonder of restaurant menus how out of control we can get. We preplanned to go to an exquisite little restaurant called Rice Paper Scissors in Melbourne for dinner. (All their food is sourced fresh and organic and ethically sourced where ever possible).
Before heading out for the weekend I made a point of acknowledging my anxiety heading in to the food lover’s haven of Lygon Street and not being so retentive that I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy it. I made the decision to allow myself 1 meal of my food plan. I was able to keep everything on track for the 2 days whilst enjoying myself without feeling shackled. For breakfast I had eggs (both days) being careful not to order anything that included bread or toast, I found a green smoothie bar in town when we were walking around (praise to the green smoothie revolution). Dinner was an assortment tasting plates; to my surprise it really wasn’t that hard until… I had dessert (my one meal of my plan). I was careful to select something small and not over indulgent. It was delightful but when I got back to the hotel, after walking back down Lygon Street, all I could smell was Indian food, Greek food, Italian food… the list goes on. I had so many ridiculous thought’s going through my head. I almost felt compelled to get out of bed and go get more food… thankfully I didn’t. I woke up in the morning minus to food hangover and feeling empowered.
For the second weekend in a row we are away, this time for 4 days and 2 of those will be on the road driving for 8 hours. We are off to my brother’s wedding which will be a relaxed weekend of camping and celebrations. For the night of the wedding I will enjoy the food and maybe a little wine, but be conscious and determined not to derail myself by letting the little food demons convince me to eat for the sake of eating. With that in mind I have made it hard for this to happen by being prepared. For meals we have access to a BBQ and I’ve packed the Esky (cooler) to the hilt with good foods to get me through. Here’s a little bit of what I have packed:
Roast lamb & turkey burgers for the drive
Chicken marinated in Lemon & Herbs for the BBQ
Free range sausages for the BBQ
Steak for the BBQ
Coleslaw already made up
Salad Mix and pre-cut Mushrooms / Capsicum / Cucumber.
So there you have it, what tips me over the edge and how I am winning against it…and yes the art work is mine 😛