For so many of us food has developed a negative connotation. Eating out feels gluttonous and unhealthy. Having a drink with a friend feels like a diet derailment. We look at parties as calories instead of conversation.
On Friday after a long day I was on my way home and was mentally checking everything off my to-do list. I did this, I did that, ok good. And I thought, it feels like everything we do is an obligation. We’re not present, we’re just enduring and then checking it off the list. Well that’s no way to live life I thought. And then I started of thinking of times I was very present in life. And I found myself always around the table surrounded by food. I am so present when I’m out to dinner with friends or family. Hmm I thought, all of a sudden food was morphing into a form of self care. I tested my theory and the next morning, Saturday, I asked my husband if he wanted to go out to breakfast. So him, myself and my daughter went to one of my favorite little family friendly breakfast establishments and I had the best pancake. And he had a French press coffee and our daughter put stickers all up and down our arms while we waited for the food. And I thought, this is so lovely. We didn’t have our phones. We had no where else to be. And if my daughter hadn’t already overstayed her welcome my husband and I probably would have stayed another hour talking and drinking lattes and consuming more calories. And although we may have left eating more than we planned, we were recharged and happy.
Today everyone is always talking about self care. Meditation and baths and massages and “me time” and we never think of eating as a form of self care. That’s because most of us look back on each meal with shame for overeating.
But I think back to the last 6 months and my most present times, times of peace and happiness and enjoyment were out to eat. And every single time, I had high calorie fattening food. I over indulged way more than I planned. Could I have ordered something healthier? Yup. But for some reason that’s like going to an amusement park and not riding a single ride. Maybe we all need to admit that indulging in food is how we indulge in life. When I looked at food this way, it became such a positive thing. Calories became conversations. And fat became friendship.
I went out for coffee with a friend on Sunday night and told her how I felt about this new theory. Explained to her how food can be in vehicle to bring calm into our crazy lives. She agreed that some of her best most relaxing times is out to a good meal with her husband.
And I’ll tell you this much, I wouldn’t have made a memory eating cottage cheese and egg whites alone at my kitchen table. My point is, you can be on a strict diet and eat perfect and lose weight but look at how meals become obligations and your social life feels stressful. For so many years I thought happiness would come from weight loss. But maybe weight loss comes from happiness.