Food is one of life’s great pleasures! Food should be an enjoyable experience! We should all love our food!
These lines have been trotted out by countless 'experts' over the course of this year, when discussing me and my Spud Fit Academy. Quite frankly I’m totally bored of them and their rigid mindsets. I actually agree that in an ideal world all of these lines should be true. We should take great comfort, pleasure and joy from tucking in to a big hearty meal with friends and family. We should feel nourished and satiated in mind, body and soul at the end of a long luxurious feast. Food absolutely is indeed one of life’s truly great pleasures. Except for when it isn’t.
Substitute the word ‘food’ for ‘wine’ in any of the above sentences and we start painting a different picture. Use the word ‘heroin’ and the picture changes entirely. There was a point in my life where food was all about pleasure and enjoyment, but like any addict I reached a point where the negatives outweighed the positives. No alcoholic or heroin addict has a very bad experience from the beginning - if they did then they wouldn’t get addicted! They all go through a period of time where their vice is just good fun, until the scales (pardon the pun) start to tip away from pleasure and towards pain.
In these situations what should we do? Well if you’re an alcoholic or a drug addict, the answer is obvious - you should quit, entirely, forever! Why then, do these ‘experts’ refuse to accept that maybe, just maybe, we can treat food addicts in a similar way? Why are they so closed off to the idea that addiction is addiction, is addiction?
‘They’ say that food should be a source of pleasure. But using food for pleasure was precisely the problem for me. I relied on food for comfort, enjoyment and emotional support, and little did I know that in reality it was giving me none of these things. Food was actually causing all of the problems I thought it was solving! So since I’ve spent the best part of two decades trying (and failing) to figure out a way to stick to a ‘balanced’ diet where food could continue to be at the centre of my life, what then should I have done? “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity” - Albert Einstein. Should I have tried another variation of the same old worn out diets that I’ve tried a hundred times before, or should I have tried something totally different?
I really do want food to be a pleasurable part of my life, but the simple fact is that - until this year -food caused me a lot more pain than pleasure and something needed to be done to end that cycle. The ‘experts’ also don’t seem to understand - or bother to find out - that this has been the most pleasurable year of my life and that I owe it all to eating boring food! Having said that, I actually still enjoy my spuds. I find them completely satisfying, and even though there are only ten days to go in my year-long challenge, I’m still quite happy eating them.
Perhaps it’s time these ‘experts’ sit back and have a look around them. Food addiction is clearly a massive problem in developed nations all over the world. Everyone - everyone! - knows that deep fried food is bad. And yet we keep eating it. Why would we do that other than to feed an addiction?!
Rather than constantly searching for a way to enjoy food, perhaps we could take a big picture view and start looking for ways to enjoy this thing we call life instead? Allow me to propose a radical solution: we should start looking at life from a wholistic point of view. We should judge our overall enjoyment of life in general rather than trying to break it down to its component parts and make sure we enjoy every little step. We don’t waste time telling people they should enjoy doing the vacuuming and dusting - they’re just things that need to be done so we can get to the good bits. Is it so unreasonable to think that for some of us it’s best to treat food in a similar way?
For a few months now I’ve had a saying - make your food boring and your life interesting. So far it seems to be working!