First let’s agree that food is good. Food is delicious. Food is obviously necessary for survival. I like food as well as anyone. My blog has lots of recipes. Cooking frequently for large groups of people, I have to think about food and plan for food and prepare food.
So now that we’ve got that straight, let’s talk about the fact that life is not about food.
Has it ever struck you as odd that when starting a new diet, the first thing you get are recipes and cookbooks? Add to that a system for figuring out how much and what kind of food can be eaten. Next, you think about it all day and plan for it in the evening.
Forbidden foods become a near obsession. The next thing you know, it’s time to go out to dinner with friends and you blow the diet. You go to a wedding and decide to eat cake instead of the special diet bar in your purse. We all know that the label “diet” on the package seems to give us permission to eat more anyway.
Having lost over 100 pounds several years ago, I have some perspective on the focus-on-food mentality. Having kept the weight off puts me in the 2% of the population who maintain their weight loss long-term. I lost it all without diet foods or a diet plan. I’ve kept it off with a great, doable exercise program and regular food.
What changed was my heart. I realized how often I was thinking about and planning for and longing for and living for and loving—food. It was a life-changing revelation.
I was making my life all about the food.
Food is fuel, not your friend. Food meets your physical needs for energy and strength, but not your heart needs for love and companionship and acceptance. Food is an important part of life and celebrations, and not something to approach with guilt. But it’s not the most important part of life, within reason—and I’m not advocating starvation. In fact, I’m not advocating hunger at all.
When you pay attention to your hunger and fullness, you might be surprised at how small a quantity it takes to truly satisfy your hunger, especially when you have extra weight to lose.
The truth is, what’s in your heart has come from your mind. Take your mind off of food. You fall in love with what you focus on, so focus on things other than food—things that can love you back, like people.
When you keep food in a healthy perspective you are free to enjoy what sounds good when you’re hungry. You can approach the table and realize that food is not your boss. Enjoy the taste, then move on with life. It’s not about the food.