I may have hinted before in an earlier post about my unhealthy relationship with food. First of all, I must stress I am within my body mass index, I exercise regularly and pretty much eat less than 1,750 calories a day (more often than not). But I struggle with it – and every single waking hour I am trying to abstain at least in some way. What I really want to talk about is how much I like food. And I don’t mean in a ‘foodie’ way. If you served me up something remotely ‘nouvelle cuisine’, you’d probably get short shrift from me. I just enjoy eating.
When I was a child, my mother used to have to serve me up a dinner plate the size of my older brother’s or I would complain bitterly (he was seven years older than me). What I especially enjoyed (and still do) was carbohydrates – give me potato, pasta, rice and I’m happy – but especially bread. I adore bread. The biggest issue I have with food is how fast I eat it; partly this is due to always being on the go and having somewhere else to be. The thing is, I eat so fast, I hardly taste it (and that can’t be a good thing). There is simply no possibility of me chewing each mouthful of food twenty times – I’ve tried, and I just don’t relish the food as much as I would had I eaten it quickly.
Once, my husband was eating a small packet of ‘Love Hearts’; I don’t know why, he’d probably stolen them from one of the children. He proceeded to lovingly hand me one of the sweets but was quite incensed when I stuffed it in my mouth without even reading the inscription. Unfortunately, even romance has to come second to the act of eating.
I think the problem is, I really see food as fuel. I’m not one of these ‘foodie’ people who is obsessed with the blend of flavours and the attractive way food is presented. All I know is that I am hungry; I can physically feel my blood sugar begin to drop and I know that my body requires more fuel before it is able to function properly. So I want to get that food in quickly, then I can get about my business. Don’t get me wrong, I like going to nice restaurants as much as the next person. I like to see a well-structured plate of food with interesting flavours buzzing around my mouth (particularly because I don’t/can’t cook that way, so it makes a pleasant change). But I still need to eat it fast, and I like to feel I have been served an adequate amount – otherwise I end up with a dangerous case of plate-envy. And you wouldn’t want to be around for that.
I once met somebody who saw eating as a chore – she wished food could come in tablet-form so she could just pop one in her mouth and forego the experience of sitting at a table and working her way through a plate of food. Well let me reassure you, I certainly don’t feel like that! Eating is great; it provides a nice little indicator of how far you are through the day and breaks that day up very nicely. I love to sit at the table eating a meal and having a chat, that’s the best part of going out and catching up with a friend. And sitting down with your family to discuss your day over food is also a pleasant pastime. I just want to ensure there is enough on that plate.
Another reason I realise my relationship with food may be fairly unhealthy is that there are virtually no foods that I don’t like. I just don’t have a fussy palate – I’m your ideal dinner guest; serve it up and I’ll eat it. Apart from peanut butter and fried insects, I can pretty much eat anything. And even those I could probably eat if I were hungry enough. What’s more, I rarely lose my appetite. No strain of virus or bacteria seems to be strong enough to wipe my appetite out – only a stomach bug which actually results in vomiting can do it. And even if I’m feeling horribly depressed or anxious, I will just consume more food. Trust me, I can eat through the very worst of times.
Adversely though, I’m against ‘all you can eat’ restaurants. I don’t think it is correct that an immeasurable amount of food is placed within my reach – all of which I want to devour. All of which I feel I should devour just to get my money’s worth. I can’t stand that you really do feel obliged to eat all you can eat. Because I will. I once read that they make cat food taste disgusting because cats don’t have a ‘full-up’ button and will just eat excessively if given a chance. If that’s true, I think I’m much like a cat; I don’t know when to stop. And I can’t tolerate that in a buffet restaurant, you’re so hideously full, you’re having to throw away perfectly good food just so you can leave enough room to try something else! That just isn’t right. There are starving people in the world, after all.
People tell me I’m a bit of a nightmare if I haven’t eaten. I turn into a complete witch if I stray over my allocated mealtime. There’s something about being hungry that just makes me mad. It’s terrible. But perhaps I don’t really have a problem with food as such, I just don’t like to be separated from it for too long. In essence, I’m a fairly healthy person who usually eats the right amount and exercises enough to sustain her body and keep it at the right weight. Just don’t make me hungry – you wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry.