Sunday, June 1, 2008

Enjoying food

A couple weeks ago, I decided my feelings toward food had become somewhat twisted, so I decided to find a therapist. I had my second session yesterday, and one of the first things she asked me was this: "Morgan, do you enjoy food?"

Sounds like an easy question, right? I leaned back on the cool leather couch and gave it a moment of serious thought. Clearly, I used to enjoy food too much. This is how I ballooned up to 264 lbs. so quickly. Food was a way of life. There was one year Angie had a job as a food columnist for a local magazine, and we visited the most extravagant restaurants on their dime. I was in heaven. We considered ourselves "high rollers" of a sort, getting to eat at the most decadent and expensive places in town (and a few dives, too).

So yeah, I enjoyed food then, a lot. When I started losing weight, things changed. I wasn't taking much pleasure from food anymore. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact I was eating healthier;
I found ways to make our meals tasty as well as healthy. It was something inside me. The more I scrutinized every little bite I put into my mouth, the less I enjoyed each bite.

I've talked a lot in the past about our weekly cheat meals, trying to figure out if they are a helpful or hurtful part of my lifestyle. On one hand, it gives me something to look forward to, and helps me to not feel deprived the rest of the week. For example, because I know I'll be eating a cheeseburger and fries on Saturday, it deters me from driving through Burger King on Tuesday. On the other hand, there's not much point in having a cheat meal if it turns into a cheat day, or even worse- a cheat weekend. That only leads to weight gain, guilt, and then more eating. The vicious circle that we all know and love, right?

Yesterday, the hourglass on my therapist's table drained the sand from the top to the bottom as we discussed the idea of cheat meals. I told her we were going to an Italian buffet that night, and then asked if she thought that was a good idea.

"Can you enjoy yourself during the experience, then not feel guilty afterward? Then, can you get right back on track and not let it snowball into a whole cheat weekend?" she asked. She said it was okay to kick myself once or twice if I really overdid it, but the point was to monitor my self-talk and talk to myself just as kindly as I'd talk to a friend.

Hmmm. All good questions. Right then, I made a goal to enjoy every bite and feel good about myself afterward.

I ate a lot of food. An embarrassing amount. It's difficult not to overeat in a buffet, as I'm sure many of you are more than aware. As I went back for a second plate, and then a third, I kept saying, "I'm enjoying myself. I don't feel guilty. As soon as I walk out of here, I'll be back on track." And you know what? All those things were true. Yup, I overindulged, but it was all delicious and worth the calories. Today, I'm feeling good about myself and there have been no desires to raid the kitchen or hit the drive through. Goal accomplished!


goodbyetoallfat said...

"Yup, I overindulged, but it was all delicious and worth the calories. Today, I'm feeling good about myself and there have been no desires to raid the kitchen or hit the drive through"

Well done - this sounds like progress, not letting one indulgence take over.

Also mega CONGRATS on having lost over 100 pounds already!

Mal said...

Glad you found a therapist who seems to be asking the questions that you need answers for!

abby suzanne said...

amazing self-talk. I need to try it.

JourneyGirl said...

Wow good for you! Feeling guilty after indulging is one of my biggest problems. A few times I've stopped myself while eating junk food and asked myself if I really was enjoying it. Sometimes I don't think I really do, I more or less let myself eat it because I think that's what will make me happy at the time. Then afterwards I feel it wasn't worth it because I'm not any happier than before.

That's great you got a therapist. I had one too for a few months a couple years ago but felt that my lady really did nothing for me. That's great that you found someone who sounds like he/she will help.

Keep up the good work!