I used to hate how obvious it was to others how much I love food. Secretly, I thought it was the reason I was fat and a dieting failure, and I was certain everyone else knew it, too.
During those years I was dating a guy who, after observing me eat one day, made the comment, “Wow, you really love food.” I stopped in my tracks, fork mid-way to my mouth. I turned a bit red, looked at him and proclaimed, “No, I don’t. I don’t love food.” I put the fork down and left the room. I interpreted his words as, “Wow. No wonder you’re fat.”
The truth is, he didn’t mean to upset me and he wasn’t calling me fat. He was simply making an observation and voiced it out loud. I loved to eat! When food comes to the table, I get visually excited. When I talk about food, I get very intense describing the experience of cooking and eating it. When I’m eating, I focus on my food and enjoy every morsel. He was absolutely right. I do love food.
My reinterpretation of that moment in my life now has me convinced my love of food has helped me become a healthier person. Here is how.
There is a stereotype about healthy foods tasting terrible. This is total garbage. Truly nutrient dense foods taste delicious. Why? Because they satisfy some nutritional need inside you.
Every day I eat foods that I really enjoy. If it doesn’t taste awesome, I’m not interested in eating it. Who could stay on a diet where they are constantly unsatisfied by the taste of the food they eat? My love of good food has helped me find great recipes and identify ways to make healthy foods that also taste amazing. As a result, it’s not difficult for me to make healthy choices. Why would it be when the food I eat is both insanely good and good for me? It’s a win-win that junk food just doesn’t have.
My love of food has also helped me to be more adventurous when trying new things. No food is out of the running with me. As a result, new vegetables frequent my plate, new ways of preparing foods often grace my kitchen and dinner is never boring.
Believe it or not, embracing my love of food has even helped me when it comes to indulgences. I live in the real world. I’m human. I do eat “junk food” on occasion, and let’s face it, while sugar may be the devil, it is delicious. My desire to eat only the best tasting foods means when I choose to indulge, I go for the real thing. I have been known to dig in to anything from homemade cupcakes (even the organic kind is an indulgence) to Swedish Fish. Just say the word chocolate to me and my mouth starts watering. However, I don’t touch anything “sugar free” or “fat free.” I go for the real stuff. Why? It tastes better, is more satisfying, and, as a result, I eat less of it at a sitting. See? Already I’m making better choices, just by admitting that I love to eat good food. Also, unlike their fake counterparts, eating the real, full-fat, full sugar junk food helps me to remember that it is is a “sometimes” food and not an every day food. It is easy to fool yourself into thinking you can eat ice cream every day when it’s sugar-free and fat-free. But it is also nutrient-free and chemical filled and not an “every day” food at all.
Loving the part of myself that loves food has kept me healthy by inspiring me every day to eat well. Most importantly, it has erased the shame that I used to feel about my appetite. I see now that it is a great strength!
Can you think of ways embracing your inner foodie might assist you to love what you eat and inspire you to want to make healthier choices? Could you, perhaps, fall in love with the part of you that desires delicious things?