Creating A Kinder Relationship With Food

Everyone has a relationship with food.  The question is: Is it a GOOD relationship? 

As I ponder my missteps in developing a healthy relationship with food, like most people, I  take an inventory of  “what went wrong” –that’s normal.  We human beings tend to beat ourselves about how we fall short.  This usually doesn’t help anything.  We come up with a list of do’s and don’ts and shouldn’ts.  We listen to other people who JUST LOVE TO mouth off about how successful they are because they are such perfect keto saints.  (Give me a break, please).

There are lots of reasons out there, for falling off the wagon some of them damned good reasons, and some of them, are more, well, eh, who are you fooling, and then there’s the truly lame excuses, (tsk, tsk).  Looking at the reasons and excuses will only get me so far.  I have to understand food and my relationship to it.

The relationship with food is cultural, familial, and sensual (in that it involves the senses).  It is also personal.  We’re all familiar with the personal aspects — that’s where the keto saints preach to use about logging every bite that comes in our mouths,  slavishly struggling to attain ketogenesis (that holy state that seems forever outside our grasp—and always one breath mint away from slipping from our grasp, if ever attained).

This point of view inevitably frames our relationship with food in highly religious terms.  We talk about food sins. We praise ourselves for being perfect and abase ourselves for falling short.   This is the road to perdition, surely.

We have to get over this Puritanical tendency to see ourselves as “good” or “bad”– especially about our relationship with food.

Food and Sex

Back in the bad old days, we could only have ONE relationship with ONE member of the opposite sex, after marriage,  and sex was once or twice a week, at best, in the missionary position.  The survival of the species (and the patriarchy — do not get me started) depended on it.  Over time, things changed, gradually, then rapidly.  Divorce is common, sex before marriage is often a Good Idea, and in general, it’s a much happier place than it used to be for all the genders.

But our traditions remain. We want the white wedding (no matter what our gender or who we love).   We truly yearn for that one somebody to love (and to love us).  We’re socially and culturally built that way.  We often think we are failing (or our partner is failing or SOMETHING isn’t right) when we don’t have sex at least once a week with our spouse (if we are fortunate to have a spouse or significant other).

Sex is a basic drive, hard wired into our neural systems as a want, even a need. Food is actually even more basic than sex.  Just as sex has been wrapped around with all kinds of taboos and rules and mandates, dreams and wishes — eating is just as socially and culturally embellished.     So just as there is guilt about sex, there’s guilt about food.  But food guilt is relatively unexamined and still pretty much stuck in the 1950s America.

Food Guilt and Body Image

I went to look for some free images of big women.  Fat women. Women like me. I haven’t been thin since baby #2 (and my degree of thinness between baby #1 and baby #2 is, ahem, Highly Debatable). Suffice it to say, I didn’t find any.  Most of the images I did find were body-shaming images of one kind or another.  Some were images of big women in gyms, working hard to get rid of their Scarlet A.

Large women are stricken from the record of American images.  Big women pretty much have to be funny, clowns for the enjoyment (and secret derision) of others.  We are the horrible warning.   The fact that our obesity is also killing us is just our punishment for the sins of the flesh.  We are bad girls.  We don’t get the man.  We don’t get the corner office.  Those are for the pretty, thin, young women who will have to Botox to themselves, face horrendous surgeries and injections to stay embalmed to at least a comely forty-something appearance for as long as possible.

I do not want to look like Cher at 72.  Good thing as I will never be able to afford it. Carrie Fisher likely died because of the toll of all that dieting on her heart.  I would’ve preferred a Princess Leia with meat on her bones, lines on her face and grey in her hair–and had Carrie with us a bit longer.  But I digress. Let me start over.

Developing a Yoga Attitude Toward Self Care (and Food)

Concerned by my tingling feet, one of the many signs that diabetes is not under optimal control, I knew I had to get more active.  There are not many good exercise classes for a woman over fifty with thirty pounds to lose. I belong to a gym that I don’t want to go to.   There are mirrors everywhere reminding me I am no longer young, as well as no longer thin–and I won’t be getting any younger (and probably not any thinner, that little voice in my head snorts.)

I love yoga but I am as way out of practice there as I am with LCHF.  Finding a suitable class is hard.  I don’t live in California, no, no, it’s Northern Virginia, in the parochial town of Springfield (just like the Simpsons).  Recently, though, a new yoga studio opened up right next to Whole Foods.   There are no mirrors on the walls.  The instructor is probably ten pounds lighter than me.  It’s a body positive kind of studio. It’s caring.  It’s doing yoga the best one can, honoring one’s current limits and reaching for the next level.

  • If you can’t do a position the way everyone else does, adapt it.
  • Get blocks. Get supports.  Gradually you’ll be able to manage.
  • Rest a little if you need to but keep on going.

As I lay on my back, sweating copiously after an hour of the “gentle yoga” class, it came to me that I need to do LCHF in a kinder, gentler, more sustainable way.  This way of life is longterm.  It shouldn’t be punitive or approached with a brute force attitude.  I’ll still be doing yoga when I’m eighty– I’ll just be better at it.  And that should be my goal in my relationship with food.

And so once again, I’m going to be a heretic–this time in the LCHF world.  I’m going to talk about heretical things at times, controversies where Your Mileage May Vary.  I’m going to put together recipes and ideas out there that are definitely NOT part of the keto Puritan hymn book.   That way of seeing the world as good or bad, ourselves as good or bad, that way of punishing ourselves and others — that shit don’t work for me.

My quote of the day:

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”  (C.Joybell C.)

girl-doing-yoga-by-Vexels

Nameste – Lola.

 

 

Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

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