What’s your foodview?
I eat food. I make food. I obsess over food. I workout so I can have more food. I eat food so I can live. I live so I can eat food. Food is divisive (carbs or low-carb? fats or fat-free? organic or not? gluten or none?). Food is unifying (have you ever attended a foodless party?). Food is as emotional as me at my ficklest female moment.
Have you ever stopped to consider what your worldview is, as relates to food? Whether in binging on chocolate and wallowing in the post-overdose guilt that plagued me, or refusing to attend a party because of a chance I might eat too much food, my foodview consumed my social life and dictated my emotional health. Ultimately, my foodview excluded me from the wholesome fun in enjoying that God created our nourishment to come in delicious variety.
Do I ultimately, fully believe that my wholeness and wellness will come from Christ? Or do I expect that it will come from food, a diet, and smaller number on the scale, a proof of self-control?
For several years, I lived under the false ideal that I am what I eat and that the amount of food or type of food had the power to negatively affect my opinion of myself. It started with the Freshman 30 — yup, I doubled the statistical normal (I blame the white chocolate macademia nut cookies from the kitchen staff that year) — and successful journey to get back to a normal/healthy/pre-college weight after a scarring conversation about my double chin with my sophomore-year crush.
But then it became an obsession. A calorie-counter, gym-rat, self-defeating obsession. The scale had to tell me a certain number or my day (week?) would be ruined, a thick cloud of Ben & Jerry’s would defeat my week, and I would struggle back to confidence with a hard-core gym sweat.
In the years since college (mostly in my own kitchen, delightfully in charge of crafting my own meals), the healing has been gradual. I still love the gym (endorphins are a blessed boost to my energy and mood), but it’s no longer my post-binge escape or my pre-binge justification. Instead, I have six questions that help me gauge whether a proper foodview is intact.
Why do I eat? Am I grabbing food for comfort, as a temporary numbing of an emotional struggle? Or am I eating for nourishment because I’m legitimately hungry?
How do I eat? Binging is not an acceptable emotional escape for me and neither is excessive calorie counting. Either one can lead me to that negative foodview that says “eat strategically to be able to get as much food with as few calories as possible.”
When do I eat? Am I eating to celebrate an emotional high? Is it to wallow in an emotional low? Am I skipping a meal in a way that encourages me to overeat later in the day?
Who do I eat with? Am I afraid to eat with company? Am I only eating alone? Why am I eating alone? (Some reasons are acceptable, others arent!)
Where do in I eat? Am I sitting at the table eating a proper meal or grabbing a plate to take to my desk? Do I eat comfort food as a way to “sneak” the emotional eating into a normal meal?
What do I eat? Am I focusing on eating nutritionally rich foods, or letting myself fall into routine patterns of comfort foods lacking in nutrition? Do I let a fad diet dictate what is acceptable for me to consume, or am I focusing on the health benefits of a balanced diet?
I still struggle with where I eat (as an entrepreneur, I love a good multi-tasking meal — unfortunately, the desk-and-plate routine is mine) and assume inward judgment when someone tells me about their “even more healthy” or “more whole-foods” diet (I feel like I should comply, or feel like a flake when I don’t), but my fooodview has stabilized and flourished by applying these thought processes to my world.
What’s your foodview?
Thank you for this wonderful post! I love food. I may not have the healthiest relationship with it, but I love food and have a healthy idea of what kind of relationship I *should* have with it.
I buy local and organic foods as much as possible, avoiding processed stuff, but I’m a huge emotional eater. It’s the sugary stuff that gets me. And although I lost all of my college weight in preparation for my wedding, I have since gained it all back.
It’s also terribly difficult to find fun exercise in an urban setting when one is used to walking and biking down dirt roads and horseback riding in the woods (and, you know, all the Easter goodies I came back with after visiting my parents last weekend didn’t help matters… ).
I might use your questions to help form some better eating habits. 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this article! I have been pondering the subject quite a lot lately and your article was a blessing to me.
I might have to print this and put it on my fridge… and on the inside of each cupboard doors… in my wallet…….
At least the questions.
You have so completely described how I’ve dealt with food my entire choice-making life… since I had the ability to start choosing what I eat, it’s been one disastrous choice after another, mostly motivated by reasons having nothing to do with the food itself. I could have written this myself. Except that yours ends happier than mine currently does.
Thank you for posting it!
I’m currently sitting in a place where I’ve let myself slip into bad habits again after a period of some success at asking similar questions before I ate, but now when I seriously want to make those healthy choices again, I have a wedding in October that I am worried about the dress fitting if I start making healthy choices again and I lose too much weight. It’s hard. I don’t know what to do, and I’m stuck.
Thanks again for posting.
Good questions. I love food and home cooking and I find it is hard to have a healthy “foodview” while not letting it become an obsession. I think there is a cultural element, as well. There has to be some kind of middle-ground between living for fast food and being a gourmet food snob.
Anyway, I am in a transitional period and I think the way I would answer your questions is changing. I’m almost 32 and became a mother fairly recently. My metabolism is slowing down and I have various health issues that may or may not be resolved through diet. My body isn’t in great shape since having a baby. I’ve caught myself eating for comfort lately, mindlessly popping things into my mouth.
In addition to that, I’ve been married almost 3 years and I’m still getting used to the fact that my husband likes to watch T.V. at mealtimes…cartoons, no less! 🙂 And our son is not even 2 and watches with us…gasp!
In GENERAL, I’m all about “everything in moderation” and aiming for 3 square meals a day with a snack or two thrown in. Really not into fad diets, but never say never.
P.S. I’ve always had a double chin and probably always will, no matter how much I weigh! Seems to run in the family.