Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Love Food.

I am a person who loves food. I love everything about it, the way it feels both in my hands and in my mouth, the way it looks and smells. I love everything, right down to the raw ingredients used to create the dish before me. I suppose it’s why I enjoy cooking so much as well. Food is both my paint palette and my finished canvas.

Unfortunately, that has worked against me at times as it is very easy to overindulge in this thing that brings me so much pleasure. I will never be a person who ‘sees’ food as just fuel for my body. While I am well aware that is indeed what it is, it really is so much more than that for me. So much so that I’ve often wondered if any of the folks I know who are ‘intuitive’ eaters really do love food. I mean really, really love it. I think even if they told me they love food, I wouldn't believe them.

I can’t remember too many times in my life when I haven’t wanted to eat. There’s actually a certain level of stress or discomfort where I want to eat MORE. I always figure that’s my brain trying to find pleasure so the discomfort is erased. You can imagine my surprise then over the last week, as I dealt with the pain of the compressed nerve that I didn’t want to eat. Not only that, I didn’t even care about food. It was as if all my energy and resources were directed towards ridding myself of the pain which was at a level so great I almost intuitively knew that food wouldn’t help.

Not only did I not care about eating, I didn’t care about creating with it either. Some of that had to do with the fact that I couldn’t feel 3 fingers on my right hand, but some of it was also simply that I didn’t care at all. There just was no excitement or anticipation when it came to food.

Because that nerve pain started over the weekend, I had not done any prep as I normally would for the upcoming week. Which meant the refrigerator was bare of prepared meals although various ingredients were available. I honestly did not eat breakfast at all and at some point nearing lunch or even after, I would choke down a yogurt or something similar because I didn’t feel right and I was sure it had to do with blood sugar. Of course, I wasn’t exercising either so I’m sure my calorie burn had almost slowed to stop and that would account for my lack of hunger. Mr. Helen would come home from work and tried to do dinner. One night he made tacos (no veggies save for the couple of tomato chunks and lettuce strips) and another night he bought pizza. I ate 1 taco and ½ slice of pizza. That’s how much I didn’t care about food.

By Thursday my appetite had started picking up a bit but still, I wasn’t constantly thinking about food, or planning my meals, or counting anything. The only thing I was sure of was that I wanted something green. When Mr. Helen got home from work he looked at me and said, “Well, we don’t have anything leftover for dinner except pizza and I’m pretty sure you don’t want that, right?” Right. I immediately told him I wanted green. He made me this before he left :

A few too many croutons for my taste but boy was this delicious - and probably tasted so because he took such good care to make it pretty! Interestingly, I only ate half of it. Normally I would have eaten that whole bowl. I ended up eating the other half on Friday for dinner, which worked out well because Mr. Helen, bless his heart, just cannot meal plan and certainly his idea of a meal rarely includes a vegetable.

This minimal eating pattern has continued with little to no effort on my part right up to today. I had the thought over the weekend that maybe I wouldn’t eat unless I was hungry and the thought was put into action on my part. I suddenly realized last night that I have been sort of eating mindfully.

My appetite has indeed been stronger this week as I’ve returned to work and a bit of exercise. But I have still found it almost easy to not eat unless I am hungry.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love food. It will always be more than just fuel to me. But maybe this experience is teaching me that I can savor every bite without overdoing it. I hope so.

13 comments:

  1. Can you bottle that up and send me some? Actually I've experienced that same phenomenon a few times, usually related to a flare up of low back muscle spasm that renders me uninterested in eating much. Feels otherworldly, and I always hope it will become my new normal!

    Interesting that you're reflecting as you are and gaining some good insight about intuitive eating. And glad you're continuing to heal!

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  2. Interesting! Maybe this will continue for you until your vacation? That would be nice (for you and your swim suit!). I've had similar experiences, but not very often, and unfortunately for me, they didn't last too long. But I both appreciated and marveled at them (and myself) while it lasted!

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  3. This is exactly how I felt (and mostly still do feel) when my body healed from Lyme and got into balance, hormone wise. There are times when I wish I didn't have to eat because it's such a pain in the arse ;-)

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  4. This is an interesting post. I love food too and have never been in a position where I didn't want to eat, not even when I've been sick (which hardly ever happens since I'm never sick). The problem of me having overweight is just because I love food, not because I'm having emotional problems or something, I just love it and don't know when to stop.

    I hope this continues for you and you eat when you're hungry with the same love for food as before.

    About the pillow: we have brought our own in the past but just forgot about it this time. Not going to happen again :)

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  5. Can you package this feeling and send me some?

    Hope you continue to heal and have this lack of food interest continue!

    I wrote about yo-yo dieting today and how sometimes everything seems to mesh and it's so easy to stick with the healthy lifestyle. Then at other times it can be a struggle.

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  6. Very interesting. I am like you with being a true food lover.

    When I hurt my back last year - I had no appetite and I was not snacking at all. I think it had to do with my narcotics. Also I was inactive. My appetite came back pretty quick once I got off the meds and at least trying to walk around.

    Mindfulness is a good thing. It's not the same as intuitive eating, but I think it is just as valid a way of eating.

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  7. I was watching a documentary called Eat the Sun and supposedly if you stare at the sun, it gives you enough energy so that you don't need to eat food. Maybe you accidentally stared at the sun and that is why you didn't care to eat.
    Just a thought.

    I love food too. I'm a foodaholic.

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  8. Glad you are on the mend, and that you are on track food wise. Well done. I love food too...shopping for it, cooking it, reading about it, etc, etc, etc... Have a great day Helen!!!

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  9. I agree. I love food. For a long time it was my best friend. Now it is just someone I enjoy time with, but our relationship is not as close. That's a good thing. I don't know why my appetite is high some days and some days not. Wish I did. Glad you are doing better!

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  10. Hmmm. All of us foodies have the same comment: INTERESTING. I was thinking, since it was a nerve you damaged, and Dr. Kessler says that our food/eating form neural pathways in our brain, that maybe that food pathway also was damaged.

    I don't think the pain you were in is a viable diet option. Otherwise I"d suggest you market it LOL.

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  11. I had to smile at Leslie's comment! Hope you are starting to feel better - and my husband wouldn't think of veggies either :D

    Love his salad presentation though!

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  12. I was having a really hard time cooking with my arm injury so we ate out a lot. Unfortunately, I wanted to eat to soothe the pain as per usual and ended up doing that way too many days in a row. God I love food but I get tired of thinking about it constantly. I'm glad you got a break and hope it lasts :)

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  13. Appetite often disappears when we are in pain or sick. Good for you for taking that pause to think about food in a new way.

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