I wanted to take some time to talk about the pleasure I derive from eating, and whether or not that pleasure can be measured against the pleasure I derive from looking in the mirror and feeling satisfied with what I see. I wonder though, is satisfaction with our figures even quantifiable? There will always be someone thinner, someone more toned, someone with a cuter outfit. I will always find a way to lose when I compare myself to someone else. So why all this hard work to look better if it’s not going to make me feel that much better?
I mean, I think I’ll feel a little better if I can get myself back into my skinny jeans. I might be a little less winded when I walk up a flight of stairs. I might even look good in clothes again. But will it be worth denying myself the pleasure of numerous bowls of ice cream on the couch after the kids have gone to bed? Will it be worth driving by the Dunkin’ Donuts on my way to work and not stopping in for a Cappuccino Blast? Will it be worth saying no to a third pancake on Sunday mornings?
For me depression, eating, and staying at home are deeply connected. I have always been somewhat of an emotional eater, and last summer, those long days of being home started to wear on me. When I was sad, I ate. Chocolate made things better. And after one bite, I just wanted another, and another. I think eating is one of life’s great pleasures. The combination of flavors in your mouth, the sweet and the salty, the crunchy and the creamy—there is so much to ENJOY about food. I love it. I love it all.
I think eating too, can take an emotional experience and turn it around. Ice cream after breakups was so ubiquitous on TV and in the movies when I was growing up I never knew if spooning chocolate gelato right out of the pint was something I wanted to do or something I was supposed to do because every other heartbroken girl in America was doing it too.
We eat to forget after rough days, we eat to celebrate after good days. Going out to dinner in and of itself is sometimes reason enough to justify ordering dessert. Limiting this seemingly limitless (there’s food in the house all the time, I’m in the house all the time, and hey, no one’s watching except my toddler, and he’s not telling) pleasure then, has been a feat of near-impossibility for me. Learning when to say when is a skill that I’m still mastering. I’ve had to completely change the way I feel about food. There’s no more Coke on pizza night. Pasta is sacred, and now it’s all whole wheat. Don’t even get me started on brown rice.
All this is to say that maybe for me, this is the beginning of truly long-term weight loss. My first epiphany, if you will: change everything you thought you knew about food. Then learn to love the new rules.
Wish me luck.