Week 30: Am I hungry?
Reviewing my relationship with food...
Food has always had emotional attachments for me. When I was younger I learnt it could be a source of comfort and as an adolescent I used it both to soothe and punish. Now it is more of my friend, yet recently we have fallen out!
So this experiment interested me. I do not live in a vacuum. I cook for six each evening and breakfast and lunch are generally dictated by work schedules. But I have been realising that recently 'running on empty' has meant speed eating of anything to keep me going. And this leads to a spiral of energy spikes, lows and feelings of guilt.
This experiment prompted me to think about my relationship with food - eating and cooking. I am a creature of habit and so I like the way meals punctuate my day. I can have a big appetite, but I am also extremely active. 'Heartiness' appeals to me - I would rather eat well and more, and be able to walk, run and enjoy life. I can also gauge my mood by what I reach for when I rush home from work - oatcakes? Kitkat? two Kitkats ?!!
Instead of giving up my routine of three meals and a couple of snacks, I decided to slow them down and be more mindful of what I was eating, asking myself why and how I was feeling. And of course, this slowing down means I eat less, I enjoy it more and my emotions are more calm. I generally eat healthily, but recently I have been aware that eating has been merely a means of getting through the day!
What has been revealed to me is that it is one thing appreciating and prioritising this approach to food when you are rested, not time pressured or stressed. But when the demands of life seem to pile up, it is often our self-care that becomes side-lined. Our relationship with food is often more than simply fuel, it mirrors our relationship with our life at that point: how and if we are coping on any given day? This experiment has come at a time where, as a teacher, I come off the treadmill of fulltime work for a few weeks. So my aim will be to continue with this experiment through the holidays, building it into my life so that when the treadmill speeds up again it has become entrenched. To me this has been the beauty of Wake Up! - little reminders of how to self-care and connect with the life we are living today.
So food and I are off on a little journey over the next six weeks to become best friends again. I plan to enjoy its company and treat it well!