While cleaning out my grandma's house this weekend I was reminiscing with my mom about how Grandma always felt the need to feed us. She would serve us a delicious and incredibly filling meal (not to mention fattening), then insist we eat dessert. I've discovered a lot of people have received a similar treatment from their grandmothers.
My mom explained to me that people who lived during the depression when food was scarce will often give food as a sign of love. The depression hit my grandparents' families very hard and it's wonderful that my grandma would want to give me something she didn't always have.
Three generations later, I'm still trying to separate love from food. It's not easy. Every time I'm feeling insecure, I try to fill that hole with cookie dough ice cream or a triple cheeseburger. When my grandma died, someone brought over a pan of tater-tot hot dish. I must have eaten half the pan myself. I've learned to associate food with love and when I'm most in need of love from those around me, I instead turn to food. Even a small thing like a stressful day at work can send me running for the potato chips.
Don't get me wrong. It's okay to enjoy the food I'm eating and even have something that's not very good for me every now and then. I'm allowed to have happy feelings when I eat. The hard part is not eating every time I want happy feelings.
I think the answer lies in the idea that there are so many other things I can fill my life with besides food. I can find new adventures that may or may not be exercise related. I can spend more time with my friends and family. I have my blog. And I've got an incredible, supportive wife who cares about me and my journey. Whenever I have a heavy heart, I need to turn in one of these directions rather than the direction of the kitchen.
I'm filling my life instead of my stomach.