Weight Loss Support - Joy in food

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02-13-2007, 02:22 PM
I am starting to feel a peace with food which is great. But I have been thinking a lot about the emotional/social side of food.

I see a lot (here and in diet books) about "food is fuel" only.

But for me I dont think it is realistic to assume that someday I will see food purely as fuel.

What I AM finding lately is the ability to differentiate between "I deserve" food and "I desire" food. The difference between a treat:) and a reward:( maybe? It is really hard to put into words. The difference between "I have been really good so I get to have icecream":( , "I hate myself right now so I am going to eat icecream even though I dont really want it":( , "I am stressed and NEED ice cream" :( :( and "I am out for a nice evening with my husband and we are going to extend the evening and share a dessert because we want it and I can make it part of my life":) (of course the second dessert was served the babysitter called:p )

Bottom line is I enjoy everything about going out to eat. I dont think that is ever going to change and I am starting to think that it doesnt have to, to be successful. I like the tastes and experience of food. I like the atmosphere and socialization. Food is a sensory experience and I dont feel the need to remove that part of joy.

Wow, I was hoping that typing it out would make it a little clearer in my mind what I am starting to come to terms with. Nope, still confused and cloudy

Maybe you can explain it to me!

02-13-2007, 02:24 PM
P.S. I also am not sure I will ever conquer emotional eating entirely. I was super stressed AND sick last week and the craving for comfort food nearly brought me to my knees...but I did salvage it by eating lean cuisine Mac n cheese rather than the real stuff.

I think the best I can do with emotional/crave eating is say...why do I want it and what is the best choice that will fulfill it. Some times with a craving only the real thing will do and trying to dodge it makes it worse.

02-13-2007, 02:36 PM
I go out to eat about twice a week, usually on the weekends. I will admit that I have cut out a lot of the "bad" eating out and incorporated some "good" eating out.

DH and I love Indian food but I really love the Indian sauces and Naan. All of which are very high in calories. So we cut out Indian food except very occassionally.

There is a good Chinese restaurant near us that serves traditional chinese food. We eat there almost every week. There aren't any heavy sauces or fried foods.

There is a good Pizza place near us that has a nonfat crust/sauce which is a rarity with commercial pizza. We order a veggie pizza (broccoli, onions, mushrooms) and eat two slices each.

We go out to other places and either share our meals or make sure there are plenty of leftovers to take home. We avoid places that have lots of high calorie foods and we rarely do dessert. I also need to avoid places that have bread on the table because I will eat it all. DH offered to take me to Macaroni Grill the other day but I decided not to because I love their bread but don't care much for the rest of their food.

I also find joy in food that I make at home. I enjoy food a lot and I try to make tasty meals. I do control calories and make sure there are plenty of veggies.

I think one of the biggest things for me though is really portion control. I can enjoy a little food, but I have to really realize that in order to lose weight and maintain that weight loss that my eating has to be 80-90% "good" while I can have some indulgences once in a while.

02-13-2007, 02:56 PM
I still really enjoy the food I eat, but I make very different choices, for the most part, than I used to. I cook very healthy at home and make meals both hubby and I love. When I go out to eat, it's often trickier, but even my worst meals out now are healthier than they used to be.

I used to say how much I loved certain foods (e.g. fritos), but I realize that much of the time I just ate them so fast I barely noticed them. I try to take the time to really enjoy the taste of the food I do eat now. I'm amazed by the sweetness of just plain fruit. I never noticed it before when I ate such sweet foods all the time...

02-13-2007, 02:57 PM
It's just about putting it in perspective for me. I'm the same way, food will always be what it is -- either enjoyable or an emotional trigger. I just can't do the whole "fuel" thing!! Right now, while losing I know there are a lot of foods that are triggers that I can't have at all. But I eventually want to get the same way -- if I want something I should be able to have it -- just reasonable portion and if I'm hungry, not if I'm upset, tired, etc. I love going out to eat and I'm fine with ordering salads, grilled fish, etc. I also enjoy eating now more than ever -- because I know to stop when I'm full, to eat reasonable portions and to fill my plate with vegetables instead of carbs. Wow -- I would have never thought I'd get here!!

02-13-2007, 03:06 PM
I can't buy into the fuel thing either.....food is very social for me....and I go out a lot to eat. The BF never has to watch what he eats, but recently said to me that he doesn't enjoy a stuffed feeling after dinner....what we have done the past few restaurants is order one appetizer, split it and order one entree....sometimes a dessert.

Since I'm the panic-stricken one, I'll ask the server to leave the menu as security (in case I'm over famished & might pass out at the table), but once we finish, we both find that we don't WANT more...and don't clutter the fridge with fattening. tempting leftovers.

it is working for me, I also don't like feeling *stuffed* but still enjoy the food.

02-13-2007, 03:13 PM
I really, really enjoy food as well. I absolutely love the healthy, tasty food that I make now and look forward to each and everything that goes in my mouth. Including my Fiber One cereal, go figure. I think I just may enjoy it more now because there's so much less of it and so much planning goes into everything I eat and I really appreciate every little morsel. I think that if I didn't enjoy it as much as I do it wouldn't be such an issue. But we've got to get past the instant gratification thing. Got to, got to, got to. It's hard. And sometimes we're just gonna give in. *sigh* But isn't it okay to give in every now and then?

I have been out to dinner very few times since I've started this. I don't think I will ever enjoy that again as much as I used to. I'm too uptight about "spending" too many calories. I know I should just go out and enjoy myself, but I no longer find it enjoyable. Maybe that will ease as I get closer to goal.

Wyllen I am in 100% agreement with you, I now find most fruits too sweet for me, I hardly ever eat fruit anymore. It actually bothers me. Amazing.

02-13-2007, 03:18 PM
Hey, ennay, you might want to check out A Buddhist View of Eating over in the Faith Based Support Groups threads. You and I must have been on the same wavelength today!


02-13-2007, 03:29 PM
Wyllen I am in 100% agreement with you, I now find most fruits too sweet for me, I hardly ever eat fruit anymore. It actually bothers me. Amazing.

It's funny how much our whole sense of taste changes as we eat better. I used to LOVE mac-and-cheese and pastaroni dinners. I lived off of them. I haven't had one of either in a couple of months, then, back in early January I decided to have mac-and-cheese for dinner one night. Just because.

And I didn't even like it! It tasted kinda bland, and made me feel all bloated and nasty later.

We are retraining our taste buds. :)

02-13-2007, 03:47 PM
I totally went Off Plan the past two days while visiting my mom in another state. She had chocolate out on the table and she bought some fresh bread, both of which I ate til they were gone. I ate almost 2400 calories on Sun and Mon, and I can't tell you why. I just get the damn munchies sometimes for no reason! I wasn't stressed or upset, just eating for I don't know what reason. But I've always eaten like this a few days each week and then have always gotten back into maintenance mode after the few days of heavy eating. I was able to do this at my goal weight and maintain, but obviously this is just stalling my weightloss. Ugh! What can I do but just get back On Plan today and try harder this week..

02-13-2007, 04:07 PM
I love food more the more personal I make it. I don't enjoy going out to eat that much, what I love is eating food that I've prepared myself from vegetables that still have the mud on them and whatever other fantastic ingredients I can get my hands on. I have a passion for homemade healthy food, and I don't think that's inconsistent with losing weight or maintaining weight loss.

At the weekend I even got wound up because I was planning to make soup and my mother bought some prepared stuff. Not because it was particularly bad for me, just because I love the act of cooking, and taking time and care over what I put into my body.

I do have treats, maybe rather more than I should. Chocolate and cake is creeping into my diet in worrying quantities, but I do make sure I balance it out with exercise. Maybe not as a straight "I'll run then eat chocolate" swop, but if I'm going to eat cake I'll go for a walk to the other side of the city centre to buy a single slice rather than taking something in from home or getting something from the vending machine.

When I eat out, unless it's somewhere VERY special, I've come to realise that it's the company I'm with rather than the food I eat that makes it a good night (or not). I've had fantastic meals where I've ordered a single course while my friends have had a starter, main and dessert. It was all I fancied on the night, and it gave me more time to talk. Equally, I try not to compensate for a lack of good conversation by stuffing my face with extra food. If dessert is worth it I'll eat it, but I might also buy some fruit on the way home and eat it on the bus if that's what I fancy.

02-13-2007, 05:38 PM
Food will never be simply fuel for me. I love food. I love preparing it, sharing it and eating it. I always have. That adage "nothing tastes as good as thin feels" does not work for me. I could never be anorexic (but that's a good thing!!!). Recently I've spent considerable time working out menu plans which involve a lot of cooking (I printed tons of recipes from the Cooking Light website). It is extra work, but it is so enjoyable for me and my family is enjoying the new things I'm making (I was in kind of a rut of chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice!).

We also enjoy eating out, but haven't been doing that as often--not because of the diet, just because of a lack of time. The in-laws come for dinner every Sunday and it gets too expensive for all of us to go out, and I'm usually so tired on Saturday nights that I'd rather stay in. When we do go out to dinner, I try to choose well, but don't always make the best choices. But as long as I know that the next morning I'll be back on track, I don't really care that much. I know in my heart that I won't let this weight loss disappear! I like the way I look and I don't like the way I looked, so I'll be working at keeping it off forever.

02-13-2007, 08:40 PM
I was always taught by my mother that food is the most reliable pleasure in life - and its true, I just needed to learn to control it, to enjoy the food I need rather than to use it as a main source of pleasure in my life.

02-13-2007, 09:59 PM
I actually think about food as fuel more than I used to, as I have found nutrition to be such an important piece of my health and fitness. But as I do still want to enjoy food, I think I can usually balance the two notions (enjoying nutritious food...)

02-13-2007, 10:36 PM
I definitely cannot subscribe to the "food is only fuel" theory. I still get great enjoyment out of eating food, and in fact, in some ways, I think I appreciate special dinners more than I did before, because it truly is a departure from the daily routine. The key, of course, is to learn how to balance things and introduce moderation. Now when I go out for a nice dinner at a restaurant, I listen to my body, think about what I'm consuming, and I don't feel the need to finish every last morsel on my plate. What I do have, I enjoy thoroughly - but I've learned to separate a simple enjoyment I feel from eating good food vs. expecting that feeling to carry over and fill other emotional voids or needs.

02-13-2007, 11:08 PM
great post, ennay. i love food and know that as much as it is just fuel for my body...it's delicious. food can be so many things, why should i just limit it to fuel? everything in moderation :)

02-14-2007, 10:14 AM
I half-subscribe to the food is fuel theory. I know that if I've got a heavy gym and training day then I need more fuel, but that I also need good quality fuel. If I eat that amount of fuel in Mars Bars, then I will not be able to get through the day. This became completely apparent to me just before the wedding when I was cutting down to 1200kcals a day and doing a heavy weights workout, then 2 hours kickboxing. I almost passed out! :faint:

I also prescribe to the theory that yes, food can be a treat. If you haven't had a pudding in a long time, have a pudding. I'm currently hankering after a chocolate brownie, ice cream and marshmallow confection that I know they do at a restaurant near home, but I also know that after last weekend I can't "afford" to make the decision to eat it because it will set me back in my health and fitness goals.

I do love eating out, and I love going to places that serve good posh food rather than a place that serves "and chips". I also find that having food because you "deserve it" is a good way to look at treats. But I don't mean you should have it because you've had a rough day at the office, but because you've earned it by running so fast and so hard and so long and you can afford to make that decision, you just have to change the reasons! Although, often when I try to reward myself for an extra-special exercise effort, like a race or a tournament or something, the exercise kinda negates the need for the treat. I feel that even though I ran a good race I know how many calories I burned off and I'd rather they showed up on the scale rather than eating cake to make sure they don't! :)

Anyway, that's my ramble!

02-14-2007, 12:05 PM
Hi All!

I am the sole "Food is Yummy" individual in my "Food is Fuel" household! I really just recently realized this! I think I was so into my Food Yummyworld that I actually THOUGHT that I was baking those oatmeal-raisin cookies for MY FAMILY!!! Sure they would enjoy them, but they would have a COUPLE; I would eat A COUPLE DOZEN!!!! Of course that was after I had already devoured a batch of DOUGH before even baking the darn things!:(

I am TRYING to gain insight into how a "Food is Fuel" individual operates. From what I can tell, it goes something like this: Wake up. Put on running clothes. Eat a breakfast bar, and put two more in pocket. Hydrate with 1/2 bottle of water. Stretch. Head out the door for a 10 mile "warm-up". Return. Stretch. Shower and "have protein" (chicken breast or peanut better sandwich, strip cheese, more water). Relax and stretch some more. "Have some carbs." Plan "long run" for later. Begin preparing lunch (salad, vegetables, water). Have a "protein drink" (Carnation Instant Breakfast). Eat lunch. Rest and drink more water. More stretching. Dress for long run. Fill water bottles and put a couple energy bars in pockets for later. Do "long run" of 20 miles. Stretch. Hydrate. Stretch. Shower and have more protein (turkey with salad or vegetables, beans, water). Rest. Relax. Have more carbs (cereal with milk and Carnation Instant Breakfast). Stretch. Sleep.


I think the "Food as Fuel" person's head is in a very different place because THEIR primary motivation is to increase their effectiveness of their workout which will increase the effectiveness of their overall PERFORMANCE.

My son has found that his fiancee's gluten-free diet actually helps him to feel better and able to run withour stomach cramping! He's not allergic to wheat but has found that eliminating at least SOME wheat increases his overall performance. Neither of them have had carbonated drinks in over five years because carbonation hampers oxygen to the lungs as you run longer distances. The "food for Fuel" person is trying to become the best athlete they can be. Anything that interferes with that is unacceptable.

I will never BE this, but I am beginning to RESPECT it.

Hope this helps!


02-14-2007, 12:09 PM
Can't it be both? Can't we think of it as food as fuel AND as long as we HAVE to eat, why not enjoy it?

Hmmm, maybe because every time we eat we're not necessarily using it for fuel. I think I may have answered my own question. But I still am going to think of it both ways.

02-14-2007, 02:32 PM
Funny this got posted now, I was just reading (& listening to a podcast) from Slate.com about Emily Yoffe's attempt at the starvation diet ( http://www.slate.com/id/2158975/ ) where she encountered other people who treats food as nothing more than "an Excel spreadsheet–each mouthful tracked for its calorie, vitamin, and mineral content" so, yes, there are people out there who treats food strictly as fuel.

Me, personally? I still take great pleasures in the food & the act of eating --but now am much more aware of food as fuel too and that my gas tank of energy is beyond full, and while I have no "forbidden foods" (just yesterday I had a margarita & some insanely delish hot dog & fries with aioli), I am aware that I can't just eat anything I feel like and think that I won't get the consequences of that.

02-14-2007, 03:29 PM
I think separating food and enjoyment, comfort and other emotions is what has allowed me to be successful in maintaining a 200+ pound weight loss for 30 years. We don't tell an alcoholic to go have a drink because he has been good and not had one for a week or because he is out with his wife and wants to extend the evening. I enjoy social occasions because I like being with people, not for the food they offer. I also found that once I got off the sugar, junk food, desserts, fast food merry go round the stuff tastes terrible to me and I have no desire for it. I read many books on the relationship between food and eating and to this day I keep a journal, record every bite taste and lick and also how I felt when I was eating. It keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Good luck to all of you in working out the best plan for yourself.