Jo with her daughter. (Image supplied.)
On the outside I look like I have myself pretty much sorted. I’ve been overweight in the past, but for most of my life have been at a healthy weight thanks to food delivery services, portion control at family functions, and regular exercise.
On the inside I’m a total mess. I suffer from silent food anxiety every single second of every single day (and I wish I was exaggerating about that). Thoughts of food, what I have eaten, what I’m going to eat, what I should eat, what I shouldn’t eat, what I really want to eat, run through my head constantly.
I have never achieved peace when it comes to food and I realise now that while my weight makes it appear as though I have a healthy relationship with food, I definitely don’t.
It’s exhausting. Why can’t food just be food? Why do I think about it so much? I just want to be normal like I imagine everyone else to be. In my head, people think about lots of different things and only start thinking about food when they are hungry.
I think about food during every activity. In my head, it’s all related.
Watch: A simple quinoa recipe by Paper Tiger. (Post continues after video.)
I skipped breakfast so I’ll have a bigger lunch…
I’ll write this article and then it will be time for afternoon tea…
Tonight when I take the kids to the Christmas lights I’ll just have a small scoop of ice cream…
I’ll give the kids their dinner first and wait until later to eat mine…
After I finish this run I’ll probably be really hungry so I’ll have something with protein in it…
See what I mean?
I just want it to stop.
I’m a child of Oprah, having spent most of my formative years watching her show religiously, and I’ll never forget her food and weight struggles. There was one episode that aired after she’d met trainer Bob Greene, during which she read out excerpts from her personal diary. She had written something like, “I want to remove food as an issue from my life”.
That’s exactly how I feel. I’m healthy, I’m happy, I’m loved, so why is food still such a major issue in my life? Why is it constantly in my thoughts? Why can’t I shut my brain off from the manic food thoughts all the time?
I’m turning 40 in a few weeks and have been giving much thought to how I want the rest of my life to be. This is one of the issues I am addressing. I can’t go through the next 40 years of my life worrying about every single bite I take.
I think I know why I think about food so often, and it’s not about the food. I think it’s my brain’s way of coping with life, stress and pressure. It’s become a way to tune out of those things I find overwhelming; then, at some stage, it became a habit. A default setting.