Today we celebrated my niece's 7th birthday at one of those big video arcade things with a crappy pizza buffet. My in-laws were excited because "this buffet has so many options!" I may be a food snob, but even with the "extra" options of gloopy pasta and Icee's, this buffet sucked.
I really love my niece, so I was up for the sacrifice of having a yucky meal at the crappy buffet, but boy, did it remind me how important enjoying my food has become.
At one time, food was a source of fear, shame, and pain for me. At the height of my eating disorder, the only foods I deemed "good" were vegetables and sprouted grain bread. While I do like my veg, and sprouted grains are a really fine food options, living on only this can really make you into a crazy person, which is exactly what happened to me. I lost all pleasure in eating, because 1) it is gross to eat only veg and sprouted grain bread, and 2) everything else had so much emotional baggage attached to it, that eating at all was a really stressful experience. I got all kinds of praise for "being so healthy!" and for "looking so great!" Never mind that I was by far the least healthy I have ever been. I could say so much more about this, but, that is another post....
Anyway, it took me a really long time to let go of my disordered emotional baggage, and enjoy food again. Along the way, I found out that tasting and enjoying food is actually really good for us! Whoot! When we experience pleasure, our stress levels go down, we absorb nutrients more readily, and we feel both full and satisfied when our bodies have had enough to eat. Magical! Isn't it amazing what happens when we listen to our bodies?
So, now I try to pay attention to my food, and really enjoy it. Which is a challenge at crappy buffets. I kindof didn't know what to do! I tried to pick the least crappy options, and I tried to focus on the sweet 7-year old across the table from me. I did the best I could, which is good enough. I am not on a journey to perfection, I am just on a journey. This was not the best meal in my life, but I guess a little crappy buffet food once a year never killed anybody. Honestly, I never want to eat there again, but it still served as a nice reminder that I have made some progress.