The Joy Of Eating.

Guilty eating.
Secret eating.
Stressed out eating.
Happy eating.
The first time I decided I was fat, my relationship with food was screwed.
From that moment on food became my enemy, my secret mistress, my best friend, a source of misery and a source of joy. 
As a child I was painfully thin, every meal time was a battle ground, mum desperate for me to eat, me not wanting to, inevitably ending with tears, recriminations and upset, not the most conducive of atmospheres for enjoying food .

As I grew and hit puberty my body changed, at the age of 12 I was already developing breasts, my hips widened  and my belly began to round, all of which was slowly leading me into believing I was fat.

I had certain foods I enjoyed, anything with cheese, chips, pizza, basically anything that wasn't remotely like the food I was given at home.
Other than chips once a week  (the one time of the week i looked forward to eating)   our diet was a vegetarian, brown rice,wholemeal flour nightmare prepared (bless her) by a mum who had neither a talent nor interest in cooking.
I can't blame my mum though, my sisters both ate the same and neither had the troubles with food I had.

Apparently after my mum and dad split up I would refuse to eat until my dad came round to feed me, at the tender age of two food was clearly linked to my emotional state and has been ever since.

When I was 14 I started a Saturday job which gave me the money and freedom to eat whatever I wanted.
I also had a family that thought I was fat.
Screw you I thought.
I would have a school dinner which always consisted of Cheese Flan and chips, every day, then I'd pick at the meal at home and after said meal my secret eating would kick in.
I would buy food on my way home from school and hide it in my room to be eaten after dark with no-one else knowing.
I once bought a whole loaf of white bread and kept in in a cupboard pulling pieces off and stuffing them in my mouth every time I went upstairs, it gave me a huge thrill to know I had food  that I actually wanted to eat, that no one knew about and could judge me on.
The thrill however soon gave way to massive feelings of guilt, every time I shoved a piece of that bread in my mouth a lump of regret, disgust and shame would form in my stomach, turning the bread or whatever else I had eaten into lead.

These feelings followed me into adulthood and the more overweight I became the worse my relationship with food became.

I truly think there are two types of overweight people.
Those who adore food, they love cooking, they love eating out, food for them is so wonderful and enjoyable that they eat far more than they really should.

Then there are people like me who have zero interest in food.

The ones who eat purely because they have to and if you are only eating because you have to then good healthy food will never really satisfy you, it doesn't 'hit the spot' as it does for many others, you leave the table feeling unsatisfied and when you feel unsatisfied you look for more food to fill the hole.
These feelings of dissatisfaction also occur when eating makes you feel guilty, emotional and disgusted.

And the food that hits the spot?
The 'bad foods' the foods that increase our insulin levels, give us a 'hit' leading us to crave even more sugar even more fat and we mistakenly believe the reason  we want more, even after eating, is because it tastes good.
 Unfortunately we aren't overeating this type of food because it's delicious, we're overeating because we no longer hear our body when it tells us that we have had enough, increased insulin levels override the bit of our brain telling us to stop eating or what types of food we need and so we don't.

When Barbara told me to start enjoying food again I thought she was barmy, clearly I enjoyed food far too much.

Then I looked at my food journal.
2 cups of coffee
Cheese sandwich made with white bread.
2 bags of crisps
Chocolate bar.
Oven chips
3 slices of white bread.
takeaway pizza/chippy/burger

Hmm not exactly haute cuisine.
Not exactly the diary of a food lover.

And so I took her advice, I started to  make my food look better,  at first I was still eating the same kinds of foods only I would tweak them.
I would have pizza and oven chips but I would have one slice of pizza a small portion of oven chips and a huge salad.
Admittedly in the early days I would pick at the salad and wolf down the pizza but gradually that changed until I was actually enjoying varied, healthy and tasty food.

She told me to stop secret eating, it would only compound the feelings of guilt, to accept that I had certain snacks I wanted to eat and to savour and enjoy them, plan for them.
She told me to eat only when I was hungry, not because I was pissed off/sad/happy etc and certainly not because it was expected.

Not because it was expected hmmm.

This struck a chord.

I am not a 3 square meals a day type of gal, I like to pick, I suffer from stomach problems, have done all my life, whether my issues with food stem from this or have caused this I'm not sure but I certainly struggle to eat and digest a big meal.

I just do not feel hungry in the morning,
I often don't even feel hungry at lunch and more often than not I don't want a big meal at dinner.
And yet I was eating lunch because it was lunch time and because I wasn't particularly hungry I would have the easiest blandest cheapest meal I could.
And of course when you finish a meal unsatisfied you crave more food.
At dinner time despite cooking nice healthy meals for Mr B and our son Oliver I would resort to oven chips and bread because in reality I didn't want to eat a meal.

I now eat how and when I want to.
If I'm hungry I eat, no matter what the time of day.
If I want to eat a bag of crisps and a biscuit I will.
If I don't want to eat lunch I won't.
If I want beans on toast for dinner instead of a full sit down meal I will.
If I want to eat toast and marmite at 3am I will (this quite often in my periods of insomnia)

More often than not I will have a 'proper dinner' full of veg and other lovely things. 
I invariably end up leaving half  of it but that's okay, I've given myself permission to eat the way I want to eat and not the way I think I should eat.

My meeting with Barbara was over 10 years ago
And now
I  enjoy what I eat.
I eat what I enjoy
I feel no guilt.
I feel no stress (other than when public eating)
I have stabilised at a weight that is healthy.
I will never ever go on another diet.

Reason to be joyful (I've stopped numbering them quite frankly because I can't remember what number I'm up to and I can't be arsed checking I'm too busy eating crisps..........)
These cakes I made with my own fair hands and ate with NO GUILT!

What are your eating habits?
Do you too love to snack but feel forced into mealtimes.
Can I help you in anyway get to your food lightbulb moment?
Any other food related questions glady answered.