I recently threw away some papers from my teenage bedroom, and I found a list of “things to bake” on a small Winnie the Pooh pad of paper. The list included quiche, sourdough bread, and cinnamon rolls.
It reminded me of two things:
- I love food, and I have always loved food.
- The way that I love food now is so much better than the way I loved food back then.
Back then, my deep love of food felt kind of dangerous, like a liability. I always had to keep it under control — only three bites of that slice of cake, Katie. I was usually pretty good at keeping everything moderate … except when I wasn’t (like when I'd eat a ton of cookie dough while baking and then take a walk afterwards and think, I’m never eating cookie dough again. Ever.)
The way that I love food now feels like a happy and well-adjusted relationship. I feel like I can express my love without causing some kind of crisis or problem.
As I ate a small piece of chocolate peanut butter pie for a snack this afternoon, I realized that I write a lot about what a relief resolving our “eating issues” can be, how it can reduce the mental clutter and make us happier. But I wonder if I explicitly say something else frequently enough:
Loving food is not wrong.
Loving fresh bread and warm cookies and baby back ribs that are covered in barbecue sauce is not wrong.
And eating bread and cookies and baby back ribs is not wrong either.
What’s “wrong” is that you’ve spent so long messing with your eating that you’ve convinced yourself that your cravings can’t be trusted.
What’s “wrong” is that you’ve gotten lost in the restrict-and-overindulge cycle so often that you’ve forgotten that true satisfaction is natural and achievable.
Loving food can be a natural and awesome expression of sensuality, pleasure, and humanness.
So I want to remind you, in case you forgot or never learned:
You don’t have to be afraid of your love of food.
It’s okay to love food.
It’s okay to eat food that you love.
You might just have to do some personal exploration to figure out how.