Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Party or Drudgery

I really like blogging. It is so therapeutic and cleansing for me. I always post my most honest, raw feelings and thoughts, and this 'processing' by putting them into words has helped me more than I can say! So thank you for reading, and for the feedback you give.

The past week or so, I have been a little disconcerted about how I feel about my food. By "my food," I mean the foods I am currently eating that are on plan. On Medifast, aside from the 5 prepackaged meals, I eat fresh veggies, lean meats, and healthy fats. The fats and seasonings and condiments are limited, so the meals are pretty simple. Nourishing and basic but not so so super yummy that it kills you not to have seconds and you obsess all night about them (like fettuccine Alfredo or greasy sausage pizza or nachos... you know, those foods that just SCREAM to be binged on).

Eating this way forces me to see food as fuel and not as entertainment or comfort or anything else. Sure, it tastes good. Nothing wrong with getting pleasure from food. But it is not over-the-top. That is why I don't binge on Medifast. Like last night, I had a taco salad. I browned some 93% lean ground beef, measured out 5 ounces, cooked it with some fresh salsa, seasoned it with spicy Mrs. Dash, and put it over a large salad of spinach, Romaine, and cherry tomatoes. I added 2 tablespoons of Litehouse Light Salsa Ranch dressing. It was very good. It tasted fine. But let me tell you. It was NOT the OMG YUMMY, STUFF MYSELF kind of good you get from a restaurant taco salad in a deep fried tortilla bowl with tons of cheese, sour cream, and guacamole.

And so, the disconcerting part: I have stopped really caring about food. It is dramatic. It is like falling suddenly out of love with someone... maybe more like suddenly falling out of lust/infatuation with someone... particularly if that someone were a long distance pen pal who is in prison for murdering his ex wife. Know what I mean? Unhealthy relationship. Not real. But feels real and then suddenly you snap out of it and go OH MY GOSH WHAT WAS I THINKING?? Yeah, it's kinda like that.

I care that I have something to eat when I am hungry or when my body needs nourishment. I care that it does not taste disgusting. I care that it is good for me and leads to better health. But I no longer "care" about the food in such an intimate way that it is like a lover. You know what I mean if you ever went on a binge run and sat in your car eating donuts or candy bars. It is almost like a secret intimate relationship. Your heart races, you can hardly wait to pay the cashier and get to the car to make love to your stash. It's kind of sick, I guess. I hate that I used to do that in the parking lot under the glow of the grocery store lights. Yikes.

But I digress. My point is that food, for me, is either a party or a drudgery.

Eating cake and ice cream and chips is a big party!! Woohoo!!

Eating a bowl of lettuce with light dressing and grilled chicken is a drudgery. Blah. Do I really have to eat this?

I am working on getting somewhere in between. The taco salad last night was a good example. It was enjoyable ENOUGH. I didn't MIND eating it. It tasted pretty good. But if someone had come by halfway through my meal and knocked the bowl out of my hand, scattering the remnants of salad and meat across the floor for the dog to lick up, I'd have just shrugged and went on with my life. Not have taken their arm off while screaming like a banshee as I would have if the salad was a plate of Oreos back in the binge-days.

I used to be an awesome cook. A fantastic baker. I guess I still am, but I don't cook 'like that' anymore often enough to know for sure. Creamy rich sauces, casseroles heavy with cheese, potato-ey noodle-y things and fried things were my specialty. But now I know better, so I do better. I *can* use my culinary skills to make healthy recipes, but honestly right now I don't care to. Oh I make things for the family, for the kids, but usually the same rotation. Not much new. I used to mourn the loss of that part of myself... the lady who could make fantastic cakes and pies and cookie bars... but now, it's okay. I don't really mind anymore.

My LIFE can be the party now. I don't need a bowl of brownie batter to feel happy and excited and alive. I get that from being out in the sunshine with my kids or working on obedience with my dog or doing yard work in my back yard. I am okay with food being just "okay" and not orgasmic. I see now that THAT is part of breaking the obsession. Because the "party" food mentality... THAT is the obsession, the binge mindset that I want to get away from.

Scale this morning says: 186.


~Deb~ said...

I have been reading your blog for a little while and this post really got to me. I am struggling with a huge weight issue and can so identify with food being like a lover. And I am a great cook too! I just hope that I can stick with this baby steps thing and really begin to drop some of this weight. I am currently around 250 and wow it almost HURTS to write that out. I tried a blog at first about losing but found that I couldn't stay with it, it was (insert uncomfortable words here)
Anyway, I am so glad that you post how you really feel, it reminds me that I am not ALONE in this struggle. Keep up the good work!

Lori said...

I went through a real mourning period over not being able to bake & cook like I used to. Like you, I was good, very good. I understand and am glad you've made the mental transition. I'm not sure I'm quite as far down the road as you are, but I don't get upset about not being able to bake a cake whenever I feel like it.

Swistle said...

One thing I struggle with is understanding/believing that other things can provide that same feeling as food does---or that the feeling of food can go away. It's like being in a romantic infatuation and hearing that those feelings will fade, or hearing that I might someday feel the same about sitting in the sun: I can theoretically believe it, and I can see all the married couples who don't act like new-relationship college students, but I can't REALLY believe that could be me.

Anonymous said...

At first, when I started eating Paleo-style, I really missed grains and sugar. It was horrible. I literally mourned like there was a death in the family.

But now, I enjoy my food so much that I hardly think about breads or sweets anymore. I love my "new" foods, and I love trying new recipes, and shopping for delicious veggies, fruits, and meats. I'm never hungry, and I never feel like my food is "blah" or boring. I'm cautious with fruit portions, but I no longer feel obsessed with food. On my birthday, I didn't even think about eating cake. Instead, I wanted strawberries with REAL homemade (unsweetened) whipped cream. Food relationships definitely do change. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Your blog post really made me think of the recent article by Stephan Guyenet on his blog, whole health source. He has a theory about the palatability of food and the food's reward value affecting whether the brain signals the body to store fat or use fat stores as energy. For example, the "party" foods would tend to affect leptin signalling or receptors to raise the fat mass set point, and "drudgery" foods would do the opposite. It's an interesting read.

timothy said...

you need to find something creative to do sweetie, if you can't bake and give it away then try some other crafty kinda activity. do you paint, sew, knit, draw? try something new.

Niecy said...

Like a lover, huh? Is that we call it cheating when we go off plan?

I am just beginning to read God, Women, and Food by Geneen Roth (I may have the names wrong, it's not in front of me)and what you've written here reminds me of what I read in her book this morning. I'm talking about the LOVE of food, nothing else. Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? I literally just started so I can't say much.

Interesting post again - you're really making me think, lady!

Lyn said...


I have not read it, but I did read the books she wrote that were popular back in the early 90's. She has some interesting insights.

Hippo Nymph said...

I love this post! You are so very right in likening the love affair with food to an unhealthy relationship. I particularly enjoyed the falling out of love with the long-distance pen pal in prison analogy. It's like, "Snap out of it!" Aaahh...*sigh* You reminded me that we don't live to eat, we eat to live.

Diandra said...

There are still ways to make delicious low-cal recipes, if you feel the need to cook something. I love cooking, I love eating, and as long as dinner stays at around 500kcal per serving (and as long as I make only one serving per person), I am fine. But of course that works mostly since I am not doing any "no carbs" or "no fat" or "no sugar" or "no fun" diet.

Debbie said...

I can relate to finding or trying to find excitement, satisfaction, and fulfillment in life through stuffing myself with tantalizing, eye-popping, delicious food. It is difficult to make the switch to finding that same pleasure in life, but so much more satisfying. Once again, you've hit the nail on the head with an insightful post.

I'm losin' it! said...

Thank you for giving my brain something to chew on this morning. Loved your insights and I will be thinking about your post all day. You touched on alot of personal food stuff for me aswell. Thanks for sharing!

Lyn said...


oh yes, I know, and I am good at that too, as evidenced in my "Recipes" link on this blog. I can make some really delicious healthy, on plan stuff too. But somehow, it is just not the same, it never will be the same to me. And I am at a point right now that I just don't care that much about the food I am eating (aside from nutritional content).

Leslie said...

Hi Lyn - I'm greatly appreciating your raw honesty more than ever, because I'm trying to do the same on my blog these days. The nature of my food addiction is being revealed to me more and more each day, and I'm striving to acquire the willingness to finally ACCEPT this and make my choices accordingly. Food is indeed like a lover, a best friend, steadfast companion and soother when nothing else will fill those places. Yet the thought of food becoming neutral to me is almost painful. Seriously - PAINFUL. Talk about faulty dependence on a substance to do something it isn't really capable of doing!

Jes said...


I went to Duke for undergrad, and they had the then-famous center for weight loss where you ate a few bowls of rice per day plus some veggies, no condiments etc. It always sounded like torture. The campus newspaper periodically carried articles about the program, and I remember and article where the director was asked for the "key" to weight loss and maintenance he said the following:

"Distance yourself from an inappropriate love of food."

That phrase stuck with me. He was obviously getting at our addiction to "hyperpalatable" food (thank you, David Kessler).

I think you are on to something with your focus on food that is good, but isn't making all your Dopamine receptors do the Macarena.

Keep on trucking - I love your blog.