Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food thoughts

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about food. I always found it funny how lay people would think people with eating disorders really don't think about food when it's the very opposite. The brain become starved for food, and that's when the obsession sets in. My thinking of food isn't really about though. I don't consider myself in a starved state right now. Actually, my thoughts are due to several things.

One reason is just due to the marathon and wanting to be healthy and eat sufficiently. I've been trying to look at food solely as fuel for the body without adding all those moral attachments. I'm not as successful as I'd like to be, but I try to remain optimistic that one day I'll get to that point.

I think in general, however, I fight this a lot. This feeling of wanting to be healthy but really afraid of that word "healthy" too. Most people who look at me think I'm very healthy physically and mentally speaking. They believe that I am a healthy eater, eating my daily servings of everything from the food pyramid. They think I don't eat candy, cookies, candy bars, ice cream, or anything that would be considered "unhealthy, processed foods." Truth be told, sure I eat some of this stuff and then still wreak my brain as to why I'm even eating it. Do I really enjoy it? No. Or maybe I don't allow myself to enjoy it since guilt is the residual feeling.

Then recently I finished In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.
in defense cover
I wrote a post about it briefly when it came out on how excited I was to read this book. Well, it wasn't as exciting as I thought. It was still a good book, and he did say things I agree with. However, it left me feeling guilty and uncomfortable for even eating any type of processed food. No, I don't think I'm orthorexic though maybe at times border that line. I think, unfortunately, if I could afford everything organic, this type of obsession which orthorexics display could easily arise. I actually think in some sort of bizarre way my obsession with wheat thins and animal crackers keeps me at bay from falling into that trap. They are really the only refined processed food I eat daily, though too much of it at times that my parents like to tell me they are my own foods groups.

Maybe I left feeling the way I did from the book, because I have food problems anyway? I'm not sure really. It just leaves me grappling in this constant state of flux that I'm not sure how to get out of. Maybe if I didn't place so many expectations on myself or even care so much what people thought, these moralistic thoughts wouldn't take hold of me so much.

The funny thing about all this is that I've often told clients in our dog obedience classes that they should buy the best food they can afford for their dogs. I've always been a firm believer that diets do affect behavior, and I've seen this with dogs a lot. I guess maybe I should follow my own advice and not berate myself for being completely organic or the ultra health person.

It's just sometimes hard when that's how everyone seems to perceive you. What would it mean if I was not that ultra health person? Maybe I only feel this way, because it's still a guise for my eating disorder thoughts? I'll have to think more on this and figure out what's really holding me back in all this.

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