I wonder what I would be like if I had never gone on a diet? What if I had never latched on to the belief that skinny, lean and toned (just skinny wasn’t enough for me, I had to have muscles too) made me good enough, worth something?
What if food was just food? What if it was neutral; neither good nor bad, fatting or not, healthy or unhealthy? What if food was fuel for my body and not something that has this power over me to make me feel great or feel fearful? What if food was something that I like or don’t like and didn’t have all these requirements that it be or not be just for me to enjoy it?
The list is astounding and crazy making and when I self-coach and question, I wonder how I ever have room for anything else in my brain. I haven’t eaten peanut butter since I was a kid because it was an “absolutely not” food during my very long bulimic/anorexic chapter. So many rules, too much sugar, too fattening, it’s not “indulgence day,” it’s got dairy, wheat, preservatives, caffeine, “fake sugar,” margarine, it’s not organic, fruit has too much sugar. The list can go on until infinity, depending on the day.
What if food wasn’t disconnection, or solace, or some weird way that I use to distract from my real feelings? When I am consumed with a clean-eating regimen, I have little time in my mind to think of other things. Or, are the confines of my latest food plan, a way to control something when other things feel out of control? It might be all of these things and more.
What if my schedule and prep (which used to bring me safety and freedom) has now become a prison? Can I let myself out of food jail and begin to create some sort of safe container in letting food be food?
I might know some people that can eat like this, mostly young people, non-Americans and some men. I used to eat like this, way back when, before that first inkling that skinny was somehow better; before that first diet. I have no idea if I can make it back to that sort of natural eating place. It seems that I may get closer by continuing to ask this question of myself. What if food was just food?