Monday, 20 January 2014

My Relationship To Food, Part 1

I'll be the first to admit that I have issues with my weight. I was one of the big kids at school, or at least I felt like one. I wasn't huge but I hung around with skinny girls and small girls and that kinda skewed my sample.

I ate for emotional reasons mostly. I didn't know how to ask for attention or connect with people emotionally so I always felt left out and neglected. It wasn't the fault of my parents or friends, I just didn't know how to ask for what I needed.

I thought about dieting, but I had very little control over what I ate. Mum made breakfast, packed lunches and big dinners. We were told 'you won't get your dessert until you've cleared your plate'. School dinners were even worse, because we had to take a certain amount and got in trouble for not taking the amount they thought we needed.

I can't leave food on my plate, but I don't know if that's nature or nurture. When I was young I would fight for what I thought was rightfully mine because I always felt short changed. Give me the option and I will choose more. Give me a buffet and I will eat until I puke. Literally.

When I moved away from home things got a little better. My first flat was in a village with no food shops. Restaurants? By the bucket! Need a bridal shop? Have three! But it was a mile bicycle ride to the supermarket for food I could take home. My dinner was a chicken breast and a serving of rice, cooked with a carton of chopped tomatoes and at least two kinds of frozen veg. Breakfast was a simple bowl of cereal and I barely ever found myself going back for more. It was paradise! I don't know what I weighed but I had a healthy relationship with food.

In my second flat it was harder. The shop around the corner sold biscuits quite cheaply and it was easier to binge than to cook. Plus my bike was falling apart so going to get a weeks shop usually involved walking. Frozen food defrosted and fresh was expensive. I turned back to junk food.

I can't pretend that boredom and loneliness wasn't partly to blame as well. I wasn't seeing family as often or getting out as much and was feeling depressed watching my brother go down hill. The highlight of my week was going to roleplaying games where sweets and fizzy pop were the norm. I deluded myself into thinking I was being healthy if I hardly ate the rest of the week.

When I was loosing weight through the beginning of 2013 I attributed it to slimfast powders and force of will, but I think I was partly wrong there. Sure, it helped, but I think what really got me through was my snacking. You see, I love carrots. I love them, and you could get a 1kg bag of ugly and weirdly shaped carrots at the local supermarket for £1. Whenever I snacked, I started to snack on vegetables and I could eat whenever I was hungry. I think that was the key. If I tried to hold back through willpower then I just got hungrier and hungrier until I went and bought a bag of cookies with that same one pound.

As the year continued, however, I got depressed again. I stopped leaving the house and the boyfriend moved in. He couldn't live on salad. We agreed to try and get healthy together, him being quite overweight, but every time he went and spent £20 he didn't have on junk food or bought a footlong subway I gave up a little. It was like he was saying he didn't care as much as me. I don't take it personally now, I see it for what it was, but when he complained about the healthy food I made it hurt.

I want to get my love of healthy, yummy food back, but moving into my parents house means I'm going to have to think long and hard about how I'm going to move forward. I'll talk more about that in part 2.

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