I’ve been speaking with my younger selves about my relationship with food, food & its role in my daily life. Their answers, of course, are no surprise to me. They may, however, provide others with perspectives about using food for purposes other than sustenance. A few heads-up before we kick off:
- the availability, choice & cost of food will affect how it is used.
- cultural norms, religion & family traditions will also make their influence known.
- most importantly, our physical & EMOTIONAL health can often be drivers of our food habits.
For the readers here, I have had times of limited income but have never been without a food source. I grew up in an integrated medium-sized American city, am of Irish heritage & many of my friends had parents born outside the USA, so I was exposed to their foods early on. I will also mention activities, as they have a correlation as well.
Changing relationship with food
Child-self: Sees food as scheduled meals planned & provided by parents, relatives, & neighbors based on adults’ choices. Aware that food can be a comfort as minor injury is often treated with a bandage & a cookie. Denial of food is a punishment…go to bed without supper for disobedience. Forfeiture of food will honor God…Lenten fast, no meat on Fridays.
Celebrations will entail special dishes…Christmas, Easter, even birthdays of loved ones. Diabetes & allergies are sole responsibility of sufferers. (I am aware of few diabetics & no allergies other than those caused by insect bites.) I eat because it is “time” to, an adult tells me to, or because it is a special treat. Eating has little to do with hunger level. Activities include dance class 3x week with daily practice. Playing tag, hide-n-seek, baseball & rollerskating. I walk to school, to the grocery store, to the beach & zoo with my family. “Diet” not part of vocabulary at home or friends’ homes or in school.
Adolescent-self: Food is now a social tool. I meet friends over food, entertain with food. Sometimes food is company, there to relieve boredom. In the workplace, food can be a reward. When offered a new dish I may eat to be polite. Activities now include dancing to every song on the radio (mostly Motown). Swimming daily as a member of 2 swimteams. Owning a bicycle facilitates trips to the library, visiting friends & running errands. Quick weight loss is accomplished by family Doctor writing prescription for diet pills. “Calories” not a subject for discussion.
Adult-self: Food is now twice monthly shopping & weekly meal planning. Bicycle has been given to younger sister. Activities are scheduled. I discover transcendental meditation & practice daily yoga, disco dancing on Friday nights, workouts at gym 3X week. Although underweight, I join Weight Watchers by lying about my height. As caregiver to a disabled spouse, “Nutrition” & “Wellness” become frequent topics of discussion. Emotional status often affects food urges, particularly when meals are skipped or husband’s condition worsens.
Retired-self: Food consumption revolves around cravings. Baked goods are favorites except when depressed & only chips, chocolate or ice cream satisfies. Activities include watching television & reading. Chair dancing kicks in when soundtracks move me. Daily yoga & meditation are random & infrequent. Weights gather dust at bottom of closet. Owning a car has reduced walking. “Metabolism” is explained as reason for excess weight as I am sure it has been ruined by following fad diets such as high fiber, vegetarian, vegan, low fat, no carb, all liquid, etc. etc. etc..
Is there a point here? No…merely a suggestion from the fresh vegetables of FOXY:
“Take care of your body, it’s where you live”.
As for me, I am putting the book down, getting off the couch and I am going to dance until I can no longer feel my feet. I will eat when I’m hungry & make water my beverage of choice. Exercise will remind my muscles how to be toned.
What of you, Dear Reader? Do you have similar experiences? Are you indifferent? I welcome your insight.