I recently started reading Frank Bruni’s memoire, Born Round. In it, the former restaurant critic for the New York Times chronicles his fraught relationship with food.
So many of us “food lovers” have, shall we say, a complicated relationship with what we eat. Some binge, some starve, some swing back and forth while others have whole lists of dos, don’ts, etc. Most of us do, in the end, truly love food though even love becomes a weighted word at this point (pun possibly intended…).
When I heard Geneen Roth speak last year, though she was strong and direct when it came to coaching others about kicking their food addictions, she seemed uncomfortable when it came to answering questions about her own day-to-day meals. I understand: it’s challenging to help others create a smoother journey when your own is still littered with potholes.
I am an emotional eater – always have been. I don’t think I’ve ever skipped a meal in my life – in fact, there have been times in my life when I would be more likely to add a second lunch than forget about it. Does that mean that I’m not in a position to help others? Some would argue that, on the contrary, having been through what I have puts me in a better position than someone who has no idea what it’s like to have imaginary conversations with the contents of your refrigerator.
People who approach me often want to be “cured” – they want to stop thinking about food as much as they do; or change their thoughts about it. I don’t do brain surgery, but I do know how to learn to love food – the shapes, colours, smells, textures. The melt in your mouth and the deeply crunchy; the chewy, the saucy, the spicy, and, of course, the sweeeeeeet.
Because really learning to love what you put in your mouth, how you feed every cell in your body, what you ingest to keep yourself going all day – is about learning to love you.
I know because it’s my journey too.