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Happy Food

Posted Oct 27 2011 8:47pm

Although I can’t remember a time when I didn’t struggle with my feelings toward food in some way, my relationship with it has only really become antagonistic in the past couple years. It’s pretty rare these days that I have positive feelings toward food or meals, and equally rare that eating brings me any joy. That’s what makes it so remarkable to me that ever since receiving my order of groceries from FreshDirect earlier this week, I’ve been pretty excited about it.

I don’t want to jump the gun here in any way and claim that I’ve made some incredibly huge step forward and resolved my difficult food issues. But I do think it’s important to acknowledge this slight shift. I’ve spent a long time trying to avoid anything having to do with food, including its selection and preparation, and even though I’ve also put energy into working on why I’m avoiding those things I know I could be doing more.

If I don’t make an effort to actively address the various ways in which I try to deal with food as little as possible, it’s pretty likely that the habits I’ve developed will just settle in and make themselves at home. Obviously that’s not what I want. Instead, what I want is to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough with things to grocery shop on a regular basis without feeling completely overwhelmed by it; plan and prepare meals that taste good and are also good for me; and share food with other people without it becoming a big source of anxiety. I think one of the biggest components in determining how successful I am in making the changes that are needed here is going to be adjusting my attitude toward food, and eating in general.

As difficult as it is to admit it (and as strange as it may sound), eating sometimes feels like defeat to me. It’s like giving in, or showing weakness–I was unable to weather my hunger, and here’s the result. It’s obviously not a healthy way to think about my body’s needs, and that’s what I’m trying hardest to change. My goal is to work on adopting a new, more positive perspective, and see food as something that can help me to treat my body better, enjoy better health, and feel happier overall. As I move forward down this path, I have to constantly remind myself that the positive effects of healthy eating are far more appealing than the negative effects of under-eating, as well as the impact that under-eating has had on so many other aspects of my life. I’m convinced that my poor, inconsistent diet has a lot to do with my equally poor, inconsistent performance in running, and especially in my training for and running of marathons.

So I want to give myself credit for this baby step: appreciating and enjoying the food I have now, allowing it to be a source of positive feelings rather than guilt and anxiety. In acknowledging this, I think I’m setting myself up for more success down the line.

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