Disclaimer: This post contains a bunch of questions without any satisfying answers. 

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Disclaimer: This post contains a bunch of questions without any satisfying answers.

Now that so much of my mental space has been freed from food and weight struggles, (and also because I am in between career phases), I’ve been finding myself a little bored.
My tendency when I feel bored is to inspire myself with food. (Or shop for clothes online, but that’s a topic for a different post…) I look through cookbooks and go on the internet to find new recipes to try, and this sparks some amount of excitement and engagement in my day-to-day life.

The question that I keep coming back to is whether or not this is this a different manifestation of my old food obsession.

Is continuing to seek excitement and pleasure from my food a way of distracting myself from the task of figuring out what I want to do with my time and energy? Or pursuing other areas of growth?

I honestly don’t know the answer to this question.

I have heard several recovering food addicts discourage becoming too involved with recipes. I remember one point being advised by others in the community to let go of my foodie identity, because it can get in the way of my growth in other areas of my life. It is often said that the goal of this way of eating is for food to only take up a small sliver of our thoughts and energy, and that the biggest gift of this way of life is that when we get our food figured out we are able to get on with our lives and do what we are called to do in this world.

But what if we get our food figured out, sit in that space for a while, and still don’t know what to do with all that time and energy? What if we don’t know what is calling to us?

I’m wondering, can food and cooking still be a hobby? Can it still be fun, creative, and spark joy, without getting in the way of our self-actualization and growth in other areas?

Can we seek excitement from our food and still live free of our food addictions? Can we still use food as a means of service, connection, and community?

When I sit with this question, my highest self seems to believe that it is possible to find a balance.

Right now, I think my foodie identity and cooking hobby is serving me in a variety of ways. Keeping my food somewhat exciting has helped alleviate the feeling of deprivation, which can be quite triggering for me and can get my saboteur all excited. The overwhelming support I’ve received for this site has helped me feel of service to the community of recovering food addicts. Creating new and interesting meals has been an outlet for my creativity and my desire to create things and share them with others. The yummy food I have made and shared has provided a point of connection with my spouse, friends, and family. And lastly, eating and enjoying delicious flavors gives me experiences of purely hedonistic happiness and short-lived pleasure.

That said, I think there are also ways that my foodie identity is not serving me. I think turning to recipe creation in moments of boredom can be a distraction that inhibits me from pursuing some of my other goals. Sometimes it can feel like an avoidant activity, similar to screen time, and get in the way of other commitments. I can get out of integrity with it, spending more time (and money) than I would like shopping, planning, prepping, and cooking. This part feels similar to my relationship to food pre-recovery.

I think that what writing this post has helped me realize that my relationship with food hasn’t changed very much since starting my recovery, but I AM free from my old pre-occupation and concerns with my weight. All of the mental chatter about that has been switched off, which is a huge gift. But I am still a little bit of a junkie for the novelty and excitement of eating.

Maybe I don’t have to change this right now, maybe just noticing it and becoming aware and curious about it is fine.

Maybe sometimes, when our lives demand a lot of us and we are focused on our careers, hobbies, relationships, and other forms of self-actualization, this way of eating allows us to pay very little attention to our food and stay sane and give our bodies the right fuel to keep us living happy, healthy, and free of food obsession. Maybe other times, when our lives have a lot of time and space in them, it’s okay to let our (sugar and flour free) food be exciting and indulgent.

Maybe, as with everything, it’s just a matter of balance.

What are your thoughts and experiences on this issue? Discussion on this topic is welcome via comments or messages!

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