Ask anyone who has ever fed me – Mum, girlfriends, the staff at Nando’s – and they’ll probably all agree “he loves his food”. (which is a polite way of saying I eat a lot). They’d all be wrong, I don’t love food, in fact most of the time I don’t even like it, I just eat it. Lots of it. My relationship with food is definitely complicated…
Admitting to comfort eating isn’t easy, especially not for a bloke. We’ve all watched the Bridget Jones movies (again, not an easy admission for a bloke) and can probably all relate to the tub of ice-cream after a bad day. I’ve done some research and it seems comfort eating is a learned response. As babies our cries were comforted with feeding, as children a bruised knee or illness was made better with sweet treats. It’s hardly surprising that in later life these patterns come back to haunt many of us, to differing extents.
It seems it is a natural reaction to crave food when we’re stressed, under pressure or depressed, along with a dozen other emotional triggers, so it’s hardly surprising if I were to succumb to the odd treat, but recently I’ve been bad, very bad. This reliance on food has also been fueled by not being able to train properly, running acted as the valve on my emotional pressure cooker..can you see the blindingly obvious juxtaposition between consuming vastly more calories as a result of not being able to burn as many calories? I can, but that’s not enough to stop me gorging.
To give you an idea of how bad I’ve been would be to admit to gluttony of epic proportions. It’s uncomfortable to admit that polishing off a large strawberry trifle or demolishing a 4 pack of Snickers is far from unusual. A tub of ice-cream? Not even around long enough to melt. A pack of biscuits? Doesn’t stand a chance. Some of you may be saying “well the odd treat won’t hurt” or “a little of what you fancy is good for you” but it’s the regularity of these bouts of greed that is the worrying thing. It also wouldn’t be so bad if it was in addition to a diet of salads and lean dinners. Unfortunately it has been far to easy to come home via the chippy or put a call in to my friendly local chinese. (“U-shu-wal or-dar Mr James?” is not something you should ever hear from a take-away)
So why am I sharing this embarrassment with you? Well the reason is two-fold.
Catharsis – I’ve always felt great benefit in writing things down, and this has been a hard post to write which means it has been a good post to write! I’ve glazed over the details a bit, I don’t need to admit to every food faux pas in public, but just sitting and writing about it has forced me to think about what I’m doing and accept that it isn’t healthy.
Motivation – They say the first step to recovery is to accept you have a problem, and having done that so publicly I now feel obliged to follow it up with a change. I do know how to eat healthily, I’ve done it before and I’m sure I can do it again, and now I’ve told you I kind of have to leave the cake and pick up the celery, don’t I?!
So, this is just the start. Over the coming weeks and months I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on the subject of food, questions too, but for now I’m going to start by writing a shopping list, one that doesn’t include Snickers or trifle.