Food – friend or foe?

I recently read a series of incredibly honest posts on a friends blog which made for hard reading. But, at the same time, they were so positive that I was inspired to share my story on the same topic… Food!

I bloody love food (and yes, I know it shows!) but at the same time I’ve had a difficult relationship with it for over twenty years. And to be fair, it’s not just food I’ve had tricky spells with. I think I would probably be considered as having an obsessive, or addictive predisposition towards things in general – smoking, chocolate, food, exercise, cleaning. At various times all have proved problematic for me.

But, for once keeping on track, this is about the food.

As far as my build is concerned, I have my Dad’s gene’s. To be fair, they’re pretty good ones, I don’t get sick often. But he’s tall and by no means slight. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no chunk either but weight finds us easily and likes to hang around!

One of my earliest memories of Dad is of him ‘finding’ running. I have absolutely no idea what triggered it but overnight (or so it seemed) Dad was suddenly running miles and dropping serious amounts of weight. But I digress!

Until I was about 14/15 I was skinny – I’d always been amongst the tallest of my peers and definitely didn’t have a weight problem. At some point, I suspect around the time that hormones started to get in on the act, this started to change… slowly and steadily the pounds went on. I do recall a love of Salt & Vinegar Chipsticks and Cadbury’s Flake that became my staple diet for a good while. Of course at some point alcohol would have become a factor, as would leaving home and having ‘food freedom’.

Skipping over the emotional catalysts, one day I started WeightWatchers. I’d stopped smoking and had piled on more weight. Something just clicked and I got stuck in. Initially it was fine, the weight came off and I felt great. Then I needed to use safety pins to keep my work trousers up – it was time to size down. As I type, I wonder if that’s where it all went wrong. Suddenly I was buying smaller clothes and they felt tight again. This meant I had to stay focussed on keeping control of my weight.

I started exercising madly. I’d park at the gym a couple of miles from work and power walk each way  then spend at least an hour in the gym before heading home to do more exercise there. At the same time I starting competing with myself to see how many WW points I could save each day… My aim was ALWAYS to save more than half my ‘allowance’ and double on workout days.

Before long I was surviving on 15g of Rice Krispies with the tiniest drizzle of skimmed milk, sugar free Jelly, carrot sticks and miniscule evening meals where the lack of points scoring food was hidden by a mound of ‘free’ vegetables.

I had become bony and most definitely too thin. I was always cold and tired, my periods stopped and my hair started to fall out. I even recall being at a family party and an Aunty who hadn’t seen me for a long time just didn’t recognise me. But I was IN CONTROL! Whilst I felt controlled and unhappy in other areas of my life, I could control food so I did. If people told me I looked thin, I took it as a compliment. Looking back I realise it wasn’t!

Out of the blue, a massive trauma turned my life upside down. Within weeks I was eating junk, drinking alcohol and smoking again. Needless to say controlling the weight became impossible and the inches returned.

A period of adjustment followed and, in time, I developed a healthier, albeit it slightly painful, relationship with food and exercise. I was in control, not it. Eventually I got to a healthy weight where I was also fit and strong. It lasted around a year…. Then came the babies….. but that’s another story!

In some ways I don’t think I’ll ever have a totally healthy relationship with food. I would give anything to be one of those people who can eat when they’re hungry and then stop when they’re not…. But I’m not!

If you have a story you’re willing to share I’d love to hear it.


1 thought on “Food – friend or foe?”

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve struggled with food in the past. From what people have said to me and what I’ve heard it seems quite a lot of people have a rocky relationship with food. It should be ridiculous really because it’s JUST food, but it’s so much more than that. So many emotions, memories and thoughts associated with it and it does have a big impact on our lives. Sometimes it’s as “simple” as the whirlwind of life buzzing around us and using food as the one element you can control to make sense of it all. x


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