Food (aka My Latest Weight-Loss Strategy)

Something that is driving me crazy lately is Food.

The stuff we eat.

It’s driving me crazy because I just can’t seem to get a proper handle on it.

With a lot of things I’ve been able to achieve my goals with a bit of determination, a system, some impressive will-power, some powerful motivation or a combination of these factors.

but Food

My Problems With Food

Here are some of the problems I have with it…

1. Choices & Availability of Amazing Food

Being someone who is fairly well travelled and open-minded, I love and have always loved learning about new cultures, a huge part of this being learning about the different cuisines and foods all around the world.

I love discovering new foods or new dishes which can be concocted with already familiar ingredients (hence also being new foods).

Today we have an amazing choice of food available. Both healthy and unhealthy. Couple this with a bit of knowledge of some amazing dishes and tastes that you have experienced and know you would enjoy again and that makes lots of food simply too difficult to resist.

In a supermarket (pretty much any supermarket, anywhere) I always struggle to buy little. There are too many things (food items) on the shelves that I am attracted to.

2. Losing Weight Is Difficult

So the obvious drawback of eating food is that when you do eat too much, then you put on (too much) weight.

The problem with that is that in my experience (and possibly at my age) losing weight seems to be a damned sight harder than putting on weight.

3. I have a Sweet Tooth

I really like sweets.

Don’t get me wrong, I love healthy food. Spinach, Salmon, vegetables, salad… you name any really healthy food and chances are not only would I like that food, I could probably tell you some good ways to prepare it or make it part of a really delicious meal.

I love healthy food and I love to eat healthy food. I love the taste of it and the feeling and idea that it’s healthy…

… but I also love sweets.

Caramel, Sticky Toffee Pavlova, meringue, any kid of sweets, cake, fudge… especially with a nice cup of tea.

A nice biscuit or cake is so lovely with a nice cup of tea.

Unfortunately we all know that this sweet stuff isn’t really good for you at all. I know exactly why it isn’t and why it is so addictive, but that doesn’t stop me liking it so much.

4. Social Considerations

Enjoying a Nice Meal With Friends (particularly if those friends have made an effort and prepared food for you – which is often in relatively large amounts) is one of the nicest things you can do. Obviously it’s difficult to refuse.

3. I have a Love/Hate Relationship with Food

For all of the above reasons and perhaps even a few more, I have a love/hate relationship with food.

I simply don’t know where to place it psycologically, though at the moment it is probably more towards the hate end of the scale.

It’s like my nemesis. I can’t get a handle on it, because it is a multi-faceted thing. Tasty, addictive, part of our society & socialising…

but I have a new mental approach I’m trying.

My New Relationship With Food

At the end of the day, food is just fuel.

We are just animals and food is simply the fuel we put in our bodies to sustain ourselves.

This is the new perspective that I am playing with. The new place I want to put food in my mind palace. What I will be reminding myself.

What I’m actually trying to do with this new perspective is effectively detach myself from too much emotional attachment to food. To strip away some of the power that food actually has over me. To override the longings and cravings and worship of this, this, this… fuel. It’s just fuel. Nothing more.

A Lesson in Enjoying Food

One thing I have admired since meeting my wife Isabelle and her family is their attitude to food. The mediterranean style of preparing, eating and appreciating food, at least this mediterranean families is something worth paying attention to. It’s the ability to appreciate each item of food fully, to savour well prepared simple items of food, without over complication of fancy gourmet design, but rather to enjoy food mostly in it’s natural state, with simple preparation or perhaps a simple knowledge and appreciation of which ingredients go together well – without being too complicated.

I remember the first ever meal I was offered by Isabelle’s parents. I couldn’t believe it when I was offered a dish of pasta. Just pasta. No sauce. I’d never seen this before and (whilst obviously being too polite to actually say anything) thought this was ridiculous. The pasta did have a little olive oil on it and Isabelle’s parents then asked if I’d like some Emmental Rape (grated Emmental cheese) on it (I thought I’d better had, so sprinkled a decent amount on top). To my surprise, the pasta was delicious. It was the first time I’d ever eaten just pasta on it’s own, albeit with a bit of grated cheese sprinkled on top. After we’d finished eating this, Isabelle’s mum brought some fried eggs and we each had a fried egg. Just a fried egg and a little bit of french bread to eat alongside it. Again – delicious. Next was some fish – that was really delicious. There were a few other things with some salad late on in the meal, some cheese and also some dessert. I learned a big lesson from this meal. Each course was simple, well prepared and the food delicious but appreciated for what it was. We have since also had meals with more ingredients in a single dish but the point here is that you don’t have to throw everything on a plate and have it all in one course, you can appreciate food in amny different ways and in a big way, Isabelle’s family taught me how. These days we eat pasta very often (my children love pasta) and very often with a very simple sauce or with nothing at all.

My New Perspective: Food As Fuel

So this new perspective (food as fuel) has a few mental associations for me:

  • Just because I’m thinking of food as fuel, it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy food any longer (I wish to continue to do so in the meditteranean style as I have described above), nor that I can not choose to eat very delicious items of food
  • As in the car analogy, thinking of food as fuel leads me to think: if I’m going to put this stuff in my body and I want to look after my body/health then I may as well put the good stuff (healthy food) in (and not too much of it)
  • When I’ve had enough food (fuel) then I don’t need any more and should stop re-fuelling
  • If I’m going to eat unhealthy food (fuel), then I am going to be conscious of it and at least make it worth it by enjoying that food (because in terms of my health it is expensive)

Anyways, it’s a perspective I’m playing with at the moment & we’ll see how it goes, in the meantime, I’d love to hear what anybody else who might be reading this thinks of the idea.

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