Food as fuel

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 Permalink

Our Sunday newspaper’s Healthy and Beauty liftout this week featured a story on four elite female athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games in India.  It was one of those Q&A style interviews with questions about their sporting lives.  It also asked them about food and diet.  Other than one distance runner who had been anorexic, all of the athletes used the word ‘fuel’ when talking about food.  They ate what they needed to, in order to ‘fuel’ their body for competition or hours of training.

When I was at fat camp last year, the mantra of the owner (a Biggest Loser graduate) was FOOD IS FUEL.  We were to try to view food objectively, only as something we shovelled into our body to keep it moving; we were to try to break any emotional ties or linkages to food.

I am in two minds about this concept.  The ‘food is fuel and nothing else’ argument means that we could exist on nutrionally-balanced shakes or health bars.  We goes against those dieticians and therapists who tell us to savour our food and eat consciously. 

But, it does set the scene for less food-related angst.  I like the attitude of the athletes I mentioned earlier.  Although they viewed food as a fuel, as something to feed their body, I am sure they indulge in chocolate at times an probably suffer some guilt when they eat too much pizza, but essentially it seems as if they have a healthy relationship with food.

I am home sick.  Because I feel miserable I am obsessing about certain foods.  Making chocolate chip cookies.  Corn chips.  My obsession is not because these things will make me feel physically better.  This isn’t about fuelling my body.  This is about feeling better emotionally.  At least for the time I am eating them and until the guilt kicks in. 

It worries me that I cannot manage my relationship with food.  It worries me that I not really getting anywhere (fast) on this latest Weight Watchers adventure.  It worries me that even if I do lose weight eventually, the emotional issues I have with food will still be there and mean that I might again gain the lost weight.  It also worries me that I know what my problems are but am unable to do anything about them!

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