Tired of Thinking About Eating

I’m going on about eating again.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently, because my weight is back up and although I am trying to be alright about this (I’ve started dance classes, which is a nice reminder that my body does fun things) it is just past the point where anything I own is comfortable to wear.  So I’m reminded daily.

Anyway, so I posted this plea for help to some friends earlier – forgive the cut and paste dump, but I am taking you on an emotional journey here.  Or, a journey, anyway. Emotion optional.

What I find about diets is this. Either I vow to make general changes, like only small amounts of refined grains or added sugars, lots of whole vegetables and meat and legumes, which sounds great. But the problem with that approach is it is too vague and unquantifiable and I can’t record anything and there aren’t enough rules and therefore it doesn’t matter if I just eat a family packet of crisps tonight because How Do I Know That I’m Doing It Right?

The alternative is anything that does have rules. I’ve calorie counted, done whole30, done 5:2. I drop weight very fast, partly because I get into the whole rule structure and start competing with myself about how much better I can do.  If a calorie plan says I should eat 1500 calories, well then I’ll eat 900!  And then in a totally shocking plot twist I stop dieting and go back to crazy bingeing eating.

Diet is one of those questions that elicits All The Opinions, so that’s what I got.  Some of them responded by recommending versions of those all-encompassing lifestyle diets where you get an entire meal plan and exercise regime laid out for you.  Others suggested I take a tried-and-true like Weight Watchers and adapt it for my own needs.  Others still said, look at the underlying causes of why you might overeat.  Think about your food and be mindful about the pleasure and make sure it hits the right spot.

food mice

None of them appealed, because no matter what the approach was, they all had one thing in common: they required me to spend more time thinking about food.

Friends, I am tired of thinking about food.  Belle’s website resonates with so many of us because she encapsulates this so well about alcohol.  I’ve had a few relapse thoughts recently, just idle ‘I wonder if I could…’ thoughts, not helped by the holiday season and the swathes of people who keep asking me if I’m sure I don’t drink at ALL, and really, STILL sober huh?  But what I remember every time is how boring and tedious and  time consuming it was, thinking about drinking.  And if I went back to any drinking at all, that would happen.  Maybe I’d stick to one glass on a Saturday night.  It’s unlikely, but one hears stories suggesting that it’s possible.  But I’d only do so by exerting fierce self control all the time.  I’d think about that one glass all week.  I’d wonder, on a Thursday, whether it would be alright to have that glass on Friday instead this week because it’s been a hard week.  And maybe I’d go back to drinking a bottle of wine a day and maybe I wouldn’t, but I know without the tiniest hint of a rumour that there might be a doubt in there somewhere that I would be back to thinking about drinking.

Not thinking about drinking has freed me up to think about so many other things.  In the past twelve months I’ve taught myself to sew, and to knit, and I’m teaching myself carpentry at the moment, and that’s just the non-business side of my life.  It is ridiculous, with so many amazing things to occupy our brains and our hearts, that we shoved them aside to think about whether we’ve had two drinks tonight and is a third reasonable, on a Monday?

food sleepy

So, no.  It’s not worth the brain space, not something that mundane.  And that’s how I feel about food at the moment.  I want to eat when I’m hungry.  I want to enjoy food for its own sake.  I do not want to spend any more time thinking about it than I do.  I don’t want to count points or calories or grams, I don’t want to meal prep or read ingredient lists to see if something contains a verboten substance.  And I definitely do not want to sit with a single cookie and savour it, because seriously, I am an adult woman with better things to spend my time doing than romancing a baked good.

food cupcake.jpeg

And that’s why, my friends, having no rules at all and just “embracing healthy eating” feels so hard!  Because it means that I have to make a decision about everything I eat, every single time.  Is this dried fruit what I really want; is it going to satisfy my craving; is there a better substitution I can make?  Fucking exhausting.  Mindful eating, even worse.  Rules?  Just as bad, or worse, or better, who even knows?

I feel like I should end this post with a fanfare – tarantara! – and an announcement of the solution.  I don’t have a solution, though.  I’m just tired of thinking about eating.


8 thoughts on “Tired of Thinking About Eating

  1. hmmm. good post, thank you. what works for me, for what it’s worth, is kind of a combination of complete lack of rules and very strict rules. on the former front, my husband does a lot of the cooking and I will eat what is put in front of me, so no rules on that score. on the other hand I have pretty strict rules around snacking, especially in the evening when if I am bored I could eat the entire contents of the kitchen and the nearest shop, perhaps even the nearest high street. so maybe bright-line rules about what you eat at particular times of day would help you? so then it is not a decision that you keep having to make, as it has already been made?

    this combination of no rule/strict rule approach means that there is less thinking about food, for me, which is a desirable outcome, indeed.

    also I am back to weighing myself every day, which is against everything I have ever read about emotional eating, but if it keeps me within a few pounds of the weight I think I am happiest at, I can live with it…

    brava on the carpentry, btw. I am in awe 🙂 xx

  2. This is a toughie Allie because (at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious) we need food to live – we don’t need booze so can just cut it out – and that’s what makes it so tricky. I linked Stop Fighting Food I think – not helpful? All I can tell you is my perspective and that is that I eat emotionally – so if stuff is tough I find chocolate enters my mouth at a faster lick! Can you use something like the 15 minute rule with food like with booze and insert a pause in the process? 🙂

    • Right, that’s the whole thing isn’t It? I won’t go back to drinking because of the simple reason that I don’t want to have to think about it again. Lucky that is an option! But food. I had forgotten that link and will revisit it, thank you for the reminder.

  3. I don’t have a solution.
    But, after years of disordered eating, rigid low carb rules,mainly starving and excessive exercising, this is what I did.

    I threw away the scale. The number does impact my mood. I do let it define me. It is healthier not to know.

    I continue to plan meals, but I go with the flow. Lunch offer.. Sure. I eat my homemade lunch the next day. My general meals are protein and lots of veggies. I feel good eating that way.

    I am celiac, so holding my gluten free requirements sacred actually prevents me from random snacking. I carry around bars I like as the H IN HALT really drags my mood down.

    I have made peace with my body. It’s a good body. I like it. It has been thinner. I used to have a 6 pack and my body fat was under 15%. I was also drinking myself to death, my hair fell out and my periods stopped. And all I cared about was getting thinner, so I could be happier. Hmmmm

    So, here I am. Food is still a funny thing. But I never think about it much. Which is a godsend. It used to be all I did think about.

    But, I’m softer. I’m still fit, as I do practice yoga every day. And even without a 6 pack I wear a sports bra and bootie shorts. No one runs away screaming.

    Therapy. Body image workbooks. Brene brown. And yoga. A nice, meditative yoga class, with no expectations of calorie burn, can really be supportive.


  4. O Anne said it for me, too. Just the relaxing an accepting.
    And it strikes me that your “tired of thinking about eating” is very much where I was almost 5 years ago when i quit drinking.
    The awareness had set in…i didn’t have a solution yet, but I was aware.
    And then the solution came…which was to stop. I know we can’t stop eating, but being aware that this isn’t working for you seems to be a good step….the unmanageable of step one (In AA parlance).

    I never think abut such things at holiday times….i allow what turns up in my mouth to be ok, LOL….
    not helpful, but true. My jeans are feeling a little snug, but better the chocolate truffle than the glass of wine….

  5. More of No Solutions here (It’s possible to increase a negative/non-existent something or other, isn’t it?). Agreeing with most that has been said above, and that is Kindness. Gentleness. I have times when my anxiety spikes and everything is wrong about everything, but if I can let go and get back to not holding on so tight, I actually do better. Keep us posted, please. I want to know where your brain and heart lead you. Even if there are many destinations. *smile* -HM.

  6. Great post. And as usual, you and I are treading the same road of post-booze struggles.

    I have been meaning to write about this for ages, and you have prompted me to do so, but in about April this year, I stopped watching my food intake, and weight came off.

    Completely counter intuitive- I eat chocolate, I eat burgers, I eat salads and I eat green smoothies. Just whatever I fancy. I appear to have inadvertently started “intuitive eating”, a concept previously mysterious to me, and it has worked.

    Because I’m not depriving myself, I eat sensibly and only when hungry- if I want to skip a meal, I do, but only if my body says it’s ok.

    I always thought intuitive eating was a bit of hippy bulls**t, but actually, now the switch has been flipped into doing it by accident, I understand how it works. Flipping that switch was down to sick of being defined by my weight, and creating a problem I’ve never had- I’ve never fallen into the overweight category, only fallen short of my own ridiculous ideals. So I forgot the ideals and now I look the best I’ve looked since I stopped drinking. Irony upon irony…

    Good luck my dear x

  7. I don’t have a solution but I read a really great book recently called Lean Habits by Georgie Fear. It is nothing gimmicky, I highly recommend giving it a look!

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