The second most common reason I hear for people not able to lose weight or keep it off is "I just love food too much". (The number one reason, not surprisingly is "I have no time"). This always gets me thinking, do you love food or love to eat? Is there a difference? I think so. Personally, I love food. I love real food made from real ingredients. To me, loving food is about the smells and flavors, where it came from (as in a factory or a kitchen), what it's made out of, enjoying and savoring it and sometimes the overall experience (this one is a bit more rare, we don't get that crazy with our food around here!). In my mind, loving to eat, often has a different connotation. Sometimes we eat as a distraction when we're stressed, or anxious. Sometimes it's a band-aid when we are sad, angry or hurt. Sometimes, it's just a mindless activity when we're bored or uninspired. All of these reasons for eating are sure to derail any weight loss effort, no matter how good your intentions are!
Last night was a blatant reminder to myself that I just really love food. Nels and I had a "free night" as far as dinner goes. The kids were eating over at their Auntie's house, and we had a variety of leftovers in the fridge. Nels made himself a pulled pork sandwich and leftover soup. And I, could not stop thinking about the mahi mahi and buccatini I had planned for tonight! So I made myself a lovely meal (and enough to have for lunch today too ;).
(Forgive the terrible lighting in this picture!) This wasn't time consuming or complicated (easy for me to say, right?). The thing is, when you really love food and know what tastes you like, what flavors you really enjoy that are real, not manufactured) it becomes easier to throw something together without a recipe.
This fish was sprinkled with salt, pepper, oregano and a tiny bit of paprika. I sauteed it in a little olive oil in a cast iron pan. Easy peasy. I squeezed a little lemon on it when it was done. While that was cooking I made some buccatini (my favorite pasta! It's spaghetti with a hole through the middle).
Before draining the pasta I always save a little of the water, just in case I need it for the sauce. In the same pan that I cooked the fish in, I added a little more oil and sauteed some minced garlic for a minute or two and then poured in a little white wine and a splash of the pasta water. I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper and stirred in a little bit of finely shredded Parmesan cheese.
Next I threw the pasta in the sauce along with a half of a bag of fresh spinach and cooked it until it was wilted down. That's it. Totally satisfying, no hassles, nothing over the top but tasted a little fancy anyway. As I was writing this, I couldn't wait for lunch so I could have it again!
The moral of this story is this: If you truly are a lover of food, use it to your advantage. Eat things that are real (minimally processed or whole foods). Be picky, a food snob if you will. Savor your food, fully enjoy it and take your time. If you take the time to be mindful, you'll find you need much less.
If you're discovering that you just love to eat, I invite you to be mindful when you're eating. Take stock of how you're feeling as you eat (especially food that has little or no nutritional value!). Are you eating your feelings? Bored? Or maybe you're just eating it because it's there. If this is the case, find other, more productive ways to deal with those feelings and/or find something else to do!
Loving food does not mean you're powerless against weight gain. Loving good food that is good for you, is good for your body, mind and soul!