Sitting down to write this post, I couldn’t get the “fish are friends, not food” scene from Finding Nemo out of my head .
Hence the title.
Listen, food is a lot of things to me. I was “raised Italian,” as I like to say. Food is a central part of how I was shown love and how I continue to show love. There is nothing I’d rather do more than cook a nutritious meal for my friends and family. If you follow me on IG, you’d think it’s all I do.
Cooking feeds my soul on many levels. I enjoy its creative side and craftsmanship. I love learning about other cultures through food. I enjoy bonding with others around food. I just think there are so many reasons food should be enjoyed!
Lately, however, I have been eating as a form of therapy, and I don’t mean in a good way.
I tend to overeat when stressed. I revert to my overeating days and drown out my thoughts with a pint of ice cream or an entire large bag of pretzels. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with ice cream or pretzels, but mindlessly consuming thousands of calories in one sitting is not good for me for many reasons.
When this food-as-therapy thing happens, I tend to regress to my old shitty body image mindset. I start looking for quick-fix fad diets to counteract the extra weight I gained due to my overeating therapy sessions.
This mindset includes starting each day with a “perfect mindset” approach which goes something like… today is the day! I’ll fast until dinner and only eat vegetables and not snack at night!
Then, around midday, I get hungry, eat something (anything), decide a cocktail is in order with dinner, and then spend the entire evening mindless snacking on whatever I can find in the pantry.
It’s all good though because tomorrow I’ll be perfect!
Which, of course, is bullshit.
On some fronts, I’m much better than I was when I was younger. I no longer weigh myself. I no longer strive to be bone-thin. I continue to work out as my weight training is completely not dependent on some arbitrary weight or aesthetic goal.
On the flip side, I’m very much a slave to that old perfection mindset cycle. It feels like the last puzzle piece for me to overcome, and that’s why I’m writing about it.
Food (the way I have been using it lately) shouldn’t be my therapy, but this–writing, calling myself out, facing the feelings–can be.
So, no statements of grandeur or big plans to start food journaling or only eating certain foods or whatever else my brain can come up with to perpetuate the perfection mindset.
All I’ve got is a raised level of self-awareness and a promise to be a little kinder to myself.
That’s all I need.
5 replies on “Food is Fuel, Not Therapy.”
This was an well written post Roni.. your not alone.. but you have it figured out. Be easy on yourself, we all know the more you focus on it.. then the food/snacking rules. It’s cycles and you will work back into a cycle that’s healthier for you. Don’t be so hard on yourself ! Your an awesome person and help so many.
Thanks so much Susan. It’s so easy to be hard on yourself… ya know?
So easy to forget this! Although thank you for acknowledging that food is a lot of things. I hate the people who are all, “food is medicine” or whatever, and say only to eat what you need to make your body function well and don’t eat anything else. Maybe that works for some people, but that has never resonated with me. Food is a LOT of things, and I think that’s okay. But it shouldn’t be therapy.
Food should be a celebration, in my opinion! It brings people together and nourishes us!
Yes to all of this. No more of the “I’m bad because I ate ____.” It was exhausting.