I have read many posts about WHY people eat and each time I wonder "Is that why I eat?", "Is that why I became SO big?" I have finally come to the realisation that I think I eat simply because "I LIKE IT". I enjoy eating. I LOVE the flavours of food. I don't think I have any other reason/excuse. I know that I used to eat a LOT more when I was stressed, but that certainly wasn't a lifetime occurrence, so that is NOT the reason that I got to over 350lbs.
Of course, now I eat a lot differently, but I think I still eat for the same reasons. 1. I love the flavours. 2. I just LIKE eating.
People say that when they change their lifestyles they suddenly begin to realise that they "Eat to live, not live to eat." Well, I am not sure I will ever get to the point where I simply see food as a source of energy for my body.
Even now, after over 3 years of a changed lifestyle, I look forward to each meal/snack and think about the delicious flavours I will be able to partake in. At first I was worried about this mindset and would berate myself that I couldn't simply look at food as 'energy'. Then I talked to my dietician friend and she said that she is the same. She lost about 80lbs quite a number of years ago and she STILL sees food the same way I do. That was a relief.
I suppose that I HAVE made wonderful changes, and I now 'see' junk food for what it is, and I want to have much healthier food in my system. So I understand (after lots of reading and talks with my dietician friend) what my body needs to function better. I now LOVE the flavours of fresh vegetables and fruit, whereas before I hardly even noticed them underneath all of the sauces and pastry. I prefer much more 'natural' flavours now, and don't miss the fattier, sweeter, creamier ones at all. I eat very little processed foods and prepare almost all of my own meals.
So, with all of these changes, I have been able to lose a lot of weight and have now kept it off for over 12 months, which is wonderful, and I am learning to appreciate the fact that this is actually a GREAT achievement. So I can stop kicking myself for still loving food and still looking forward to each and every meal. I am allowed to still eat a good amount of food, as long as it is mostly vegetables or natural, healthy food.
Oh dear... I think I have been on my soapbox long enough now. I was originally just curious as to whether other people eat for this same reason, or whether most people have 'reasons' for why they overeat.
Thanks for 'listening,
__________________ Zelma - Loving the freedom of being half the size I used to be!
Well for me, I've been an emotional eater for quite awhile, since being heavier. I remember when I was thinner, whenever I would get stressed or upset, I would do the opposite and not eat. I LOVE food, the taste, texture and I just enjoy taking my time and enjoying every single bite. My family always says I eat way too slow, but I like to enjoy it.
But, when I was on my way up in #s I would be eating and NOT enjoying what was in front of me because I would be thinking about what my next meal was going to be and when I could eat again. I still think that way, only, now I am very concerned with my caloric intake and the overall substance of the food I take in. Eating is also often an experience associated with guilt for me and that will poison any ice cream sundae for me.
__________________ Lost: 140ish lbs
Maintainence: 2 years
Oh yeah, I like food. Although I don't think that was the primary reason I allowed myself to get to 287 lbs. I do think there was some kind of underlying stuff going on in my head. Lots of people like food, they just don't overeat it to the extent that I did.
I still do love food. I have definitely owned up to that fact. I will never look at food as simply energy for my body. But that's okay. I even enjoy my food now more then before. I've said this many times. Before when I was shoveling everything and anything into my mouth I didn't really appreciate anything all that much. Like the spoiled kid who has too many toys, he is never satisfied and appreciates nothing. Now I truly savor every morsel. I look forward to my meals. I even like the whole planning, shopping, preparing, gathering up recipes, checking out nutritional information aspect of it now. I enjoy a big plateful of roasted vegetables just as much, if not more then the bag of cookies I would eat in the past. I appreciate the textures, the scents, the colors, the quality, and the good it does for me.
Oh and the flavors as well.
So yes, I love food. And I have figured out how to love both the food and love me as well. I have figured out that the high quantity of high calorie food is definitely not worth it. That I can have just as much enjoyment (if not more) from my food without risking my life by eating too much of it.
I do! I've been giving this same issue some thought, Zelma, for the same reasons. I'm not really an emotional eater (which is not to say that I don't occasionally sabotage myself when feeling depressed)--mostly I overeat because I LOVE to eat. I love food. Cooking it, buying it, eating it, reading about it. I buy beautiful cookbooks for different ethnic foods, read recipes online for hours; I also love to feed people. Really, I just love food and I have a hard time stopping when I'm full because things still taste delicious even when I'm full.
God. Listen to me. It's a miracle that my highest weight ever was only 185.
The nice thing is that I don't have an unreasonable love of junk food, and that I like alot of variety in my diet. I can fetishize grilled vegetables and blackened fish just as easily as I fetishize cheese. Almost. I really love good cheese.
Oh yes, I don't just like to eat, I love to eat! I don't think I would say I was ever really an emotional eater. I did eat out of emotion, but it was rare. I just liked to eat, and got used to eating big quantities. I still have to figure out ways to get more "bang for my buck" and find low calorie -high volume foods. I think I have expanded my taste buds in the process. I enjoy the flavors or fruits and vegetables so much more than I used to.
As far as thinking of food as energy, I occasionally do that, in that I do consider what foods will give me more energy and will fuel my body. I mean that I know that I feel better when I eat lean protein, fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables than if I ate processed junk food. However, I eat things that I love, and I look forward to it. Right now, I've just finished dinner, and I'm already planning oatmeal for breakfast, and anticipating how good it will taste (my comfort food breakfast).
ZedAus, I don't ever kick myself for loving food either. I really haven't considered it. I love to eat, and will continue to, I'm sure.
I love everything about food. I love to think about food, talk about food, grocery shop, go to the farmers market, browse for gourmet food products, plan meals, look for new recipes, read about food, prepare new recipes, grow my own food, but most of all, I love to eat it. About the only thing I don't like about food is the clean-up. I guess you could say that food is one of my hobbies. I can't believe I could ever look at it as mere sustenance.
In fact, I took today to spend some time pampering myself. I got a massage and a pedicure, and rented a movie to watch tonight (my SO is off with friends so I have the house to myself--YAY!). A big part of my pampering plans was picking out a new, low calorie meal to make for myself for dinner. The recipe is Chicken and Wild Mushroom Fricassee and I'm ridiculously excited about it.
And I swear, my last thought before I go to bed every night is that when I wake up, I'll get to have breakfast!
I'm also not an emotional eater or a stress eater. In fact, I'm the opposite; I don't eat at those times, sometimes to the extreme. Instead, food is entertainment for me. I eat when I'm bored and I eat for the pleasure I get out of it. One of the things I've struggled with as I've lost weight is not immediately turning to food every time I have a spare moment.
Hi Zelma! I'm a regular on the Tnet board as well. Maybe you've seen my name....a-b-c-Dee?
I'm the original poster who said stress is the number one reason I overeat, but if it didn't TASTE so good, I wouldn't eat it and it wouldn't work so well! I love, love, love to eat! (but hate, hate, hate to cook) I think that's why I choose food as my coping mechanism, and only foods I adore more than anything in the world. I need something to make me feel good. I'm at the point where fruits and veggies just don't cut it for me as a stress reliever. It's peanut butter, bread, and cheese right now, unfortunately. Comfort foods that are easy to prepare, if at all. They really work wonders on my anxiety attacks. Right now it's either eat what I want or feel horrible chest pains. The doctors prescribe me things that wack me out and make me feel worse, so I don't go to them anymore for help. I live in a small town without professional help like a dietition (or one that I trust). I'm pretty much on my own, except for this site. I'm taking it one day at a time.
I wish I could live in your shoes for just one day to see how you do it. At this point it all seems like a lifestyle I just can't seem to jumpstart. But I keep trying. Thanks for the inspiration and hope.
I also love to eat. I like to shop for just the right foods. I like to take my old favorite recipes and incorporate lower cal. ways to make them. Like others have mentioned, I fall asleep thinking of what I'll have for breakfast. I have gained a respect now for healthier eating. I prepare almost every single meal at home. I actually love to cook.
I'd like to think that I "eat to live" but it just isn't completely that way. Of course we all need food to survive, but I do get immense pleasure / satisfaction from eating.
I also love to eat. One of my biggest worries when I started this journey was that I would feel deprived from the foods that I love. Luckily, I love the foods I eat now. Like robin, I think I taste them more and enjoy them more than ever.
But I do also eat for stress reasons sometimes, or for other reasons. Often when I do, I don't really taste and enjoy the food!
I do choose very different foods, try to get variety and pay much more attention to nutrients. Like many others have said, though, I don't ONLY see food as fuel...
Okay, this post is just a recycle of what everyone else just said. Is there a smilie for that??
My 5 C's of healthy living: Commitment to conscious control, with the understanding that choices have consequences
Thank you all SO much!!! It is good to know that I am not alone. So many of you have similar things to say as well.
Michelle - I WISH I stopped eating when I was stressed. Mind you, I don't really want to be stressed either, so... You mentioned being a slow eater. One of my problems used to be that I could DEMOLISH a meal in a few minutes. I still loved the flavours, but I ate it WAY too fast, so was looking for new flavours before my stomach had registered the full feeling.
Charlotte - That feeling of guilt can be awful can't it? I am glad that my dietician friend told me to have a serving of ice cream every day for afternoon tea, as she knows it will stop other cravings for me. Because she has told me to have it I don't get the guilt with it, otherwise I wouldn't enjoy it so much.
Rockinrobin - I definitely enjoy my food more now. For one, I know it is better for me, so I take the time to appreciate that, and I also take more time to 'taste' things, rather than mindlessly eating. I still eat too fast, but I am getting better.
Baffled - I had the same problem of eating even when I WAS full. If there was something left that I knew would taste good, I just HAD to eat it. I am sure I would regularly eat enough for two or three grown men!
Tammy - I had to chuckle at your post. When you talked about just finishing dinner and planning your oatmeal, that is EXACTLY what I do. And oatmeal is my comfort food as well. Every morning!
Barbara - Another chuckle as I read your post. Most nights, as I am falling asleep, or reading, I am looking forward to falling asleep quicker so I get to have breakfast sooner. Only problem is that I have to exercise first, so that kinda takes a little of the excitement away. LOL
Heidi - HI!!!! I definitely know you from TNet. I am wondering whether it was you who first put me on to this site. I know it was someone from TNet. If it was you who recommended it, THANK YOU! I love this site. Oh, I DID used to eat when under stress as well, but that wasn't my primary problem. Also, I am sure you will get to where I am sooner than you think. I have heard it said that habits can be broken and new ones established in a few weeks, but for me it took MUCH longer than that. I mentioned this to my doctor at my last visit and she said that was normal. She said that many people who think they have changed a habit actually haven't and find it easy to revert back to old habits. I found that it probably took me close to 12 months before I was actually comfortable with many of the changes I made, such as regular excercising and eating better foods. Some things took even longer. I wonder whether some people have it in their heads that habits can be broken/changed much sooner than that and when they have a 'lapse', they feel as though they have failed and just give up, thining that they are unable to change their lifestyle. Just give yourself plenty of time to adjust to each new change. Don't expect miracles in your behaviours, or you are setting yourself up for failure.
It is GREAT to see you here and know who you are now.
Lilybelle - I don't really like to cook that much, but since changing my lifestyle I find that I enjoy it more than I used to. I think what I enjoy most is changing recipes (like you said) to make them healthier. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Wyllen - You are SO right about not tasting the food when we eat just because of stress. I know when my father passed away earlier in the year I found a couple of times that I would get to the end of a 'large' low-fat soft serve yoghurt - my decadent treat - and wouldn't even have tasted a mouthful. I missed out on all that enjoyment!
Take care all,
__________________ Zelma - Loving the freedom of being half the size I used to be!
I love to eat, too, and I wouldn't say I'm an emotional eater either. I think I learned from an early age (and not the greateast of childhoods) to keep my mind stronger than my feelings so they tend to stay at a pretty even keel anyway. I don't see any changes in my eating habits based on my emotional fluctuations. The only significant time I can think of is when my father died of cancer 18 years ago and I actually lost 20 pounds.
But I do like salty junk food. One of the things with me was that I'd be watching tv or reading or in front of the computer and that's when my hand's in the bag and I wouldn't be paying much attention to how much I was eating, just enjoying the taste!
I love to eat. I am 100% Foodie through and through. However, sometimes I DO eat not just because I love food. Sometimes I eat when I'm bored, sometimes I eat when I'm tired. Sometimes I eat when I'm upset. It's at these times that I'm eating and NOT actually enjoying the food, flavours and textures that are going in my mouth.
I grew up very poor and we ate a lot of stuff just to have food in our bellies. I only learned that I loved good food when I was an adult and out on my own for the first time (discovering vegetables actually didn't only come from a can...) and I went a bit overboard. I only really had food/weight/emotions issues when I became an adult although I remember a few times eating in secret when I was a kid because we weren't allowed any sugars in any form at home (so I went and bought boxes of Little Debbies with my cleaning money and ate them all before I would arrive home, for example).
I never really learned about any sort of moderation with food until I joined Weight Watchers. Sure, you can eat and enjoy food all you want... it's the AMOUNT one puts in their body that makes the difference.
I'm with Barbara. I love it all. The planning, the shopping, recipes ... My brother called me the other day because he'd found a new grocery store. We talked for over 40 minutes about his wonderful finds.
For me it's been all about channeling that interest into more healthy channels.
Eat good food. Move yourself. Lift something.
ABSOLUTELY!! I love to eat and I love to try new foods and new flavors. I participate in a lot of psychology research studies as a healthy control subject to bring in some extra money, and I always laugh when they ask if I've ever had any trouble with eating disorders. I will never become anorexic on account of how much I love food
Of course, that seems to have led to some other problems, but I hope I'm on the way to fixing those. As I've been trying to change my diet, I've been realizing how good foods feel in my body and how bad, processed foods feel. I hate the really heavy, uncomfortable full feeling that I get after eating a bad meal and I love the feeling of being satisfied, but not in pain after eating a lighter, healthier meal.
One of the words of wisdom that has really helped me connect things came from my bellydance teacher - "Enjoy eating, love eating, but never eat so much that you can't get up and perform at a moment's notice." I believe it's possible to live to eat, not just eat to live, but do it in a way that is healthier.
__________________ Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.