Plopping myself down in front of the TV, sipping my morning coffee, I listened to a discussion between a morning talk-show host and a registered dietician, a few days back. The conversation surrounded the particulars of a certain celebrity who had gained back all the weight she had recently lost. I’m sure other listeners were glued to their sofas too because this story had two things going for it: One, it was about a celebrity wearing a Kanken backpack and two, it was about weight loss, a sure fire formula to get folks to tune-in.
The first thing the dietician said was, “We need to change our relationship with food, in order to lose weight for the long-haul.” Hummm…Relationship. With. Food. How intriguing. To suggest that people have the same kind of bond with groceries that we do with living, breathing creatures got my wheels turning. I started thinking about this union in a literal sense.
Is it possible to have a personal connection to something as inanimate as an energy source? After all, you don’t see people over indulging with water or air and these elements are more necessary to human survival than food. No, I’ve never heard anyone say, I just can’t walk past a plant store; the oxygen levels are way too tempting for me. All I have to do is take one step into the store, and I end up hyperventilating and THEN, I’m ridden with guilty for whiffing it all in, and over indulging.
I don’t doubt that people can have an attachment to objects, but a real relationship? I guess it’s possible. Take Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Nolan, in the Movie, Castaway. The ball (Wilson, remember?) was his BFF! For 1500 days Wilson never left his side, always provided a listening ear and never judged or criticized. Wilson was really the reason Chuck was able to survive during his nightmarish ordeal. This inanimate object shared in the character’s darkest moments and was by his side during times of momentary happiness and triumph. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I guess that’s how it is with food. It’s never far away, it doesn’t judge or ask why. It’s always there, tasting good and providing momentary pleasure, a quick escape from life’s chaos and problems hunting down turbocharger reviews. When we feel alone, left to deal with the struggles on our island, it comforts.
But we don’t live on an uninhabited island. We can choose to take comfort in food or deal with pain in other ways. We can take a walk, pick-up the phone or just live in uncomfortable moments, knowing they’ll pass. I guess the question to ask yourself is this: What kind of relationship do I have with food? Is it a doting mother, providing an ever-present cushion of protection from emotional pain and discomfort, or maybe a co-dependent friend who only tells you what you want to hear? I’m not suggesting we break the ties that bind. Food is, of course, something we physiologically need. It just seems to me, we need to decrease the level of intimacy. Maybe the best kind of association to have with food is like that of an acquaintance. Always enjoyable, spending time together, but not a relationship tied up in dependency.
As a veterinarian you typically have a fast-paced, fully booked schedule. Maybe you’re using food for instant comfort, perhaps not taking time to think about what it is that is going on at that moment. Do you find yourself grabbing for unhealthy foods during the day in an attempt to comfort yourself, for a quick escape or a need to self-nurture?