Food as Entertainment

For most of my adult life, I fancied myself as a foodie. I lived for amazing meals at highly rated restaurants, I loved wine (especially sparkling wine), and dreamed about eating my way through Europe someday. I pretty much only watched food-related shows on TV (and I hate to admit it, but I would often fog eat while watching). My kids were starting to get into Chopped Junior. My favorite podcasts were about food. I thoroughly enjoyed finding and pinning new recipes on Pinterest.

I had no idea that any of this was contributing to my weight problem.

When I went through my life coach training program, using food as entertainment came up as an issue for those who struggle with weight.

My instructor said, “Food’s job is not to entertain you. Food’s job is to fuel your body.”

So I did a little mental inventory and realized just how much of my joy and entertainment in life came from food. No wonder I didn’t want to eat less!

Because if you think about it, say 75% of the entertainment in my life was from food or things food-related. If I take those away, how will I entertain myself? What’s left? It’s way easier to just keep doing what I’m doing. I mean, if I can’t listen to The Sporkful, what am I going to do while I fold laundry or clean up the kitchen?!?

But this realization really explained to me why I needed so much willpower when I was dieting. This constant exposure to food and constant thinking about food made me want to eat! And I had to use willpower to force myself NOT to eat. Womp womp.

So I decided to stop it, cold turkey (no pun intended!). I unsubscribed from my food podcasts. I deleted the subscriptions to all my favorite Food Network shows. I forbade myself from buying any new cookbooks. And no Pinterest for food reasons.

It wasn’t super comfortable at first but I distracted myself with other things. I asked for new podcast recommendations from friends and starting getting into some new shows. I wanted to watch less TV anyway, so I subscribed to a couple HGTV shows (Fixer Upper, anyone?) and left it at that. And before I knew it, I was actually LESS HUNGRY.

What the wha??

Yes! The more I thought about food, the more true physical hunger I felt. And of course, I hadn’t learned to sit with hunger yet, because hunger, to me, meant something that should be acted upon by eating. So the less I thought about food, the less I thought about food!

It felt like a minor miracle!

So I highly encourage you to take inventory on your entertainment habits. How many things in your life revolve around food? Think about other ways you’d rather entertain yourself. Maybe things you’ve always wanted to do or learn about but never felt you had the time. You might decide to slide those right into the food-related entertainment spot. Or it might take some trial and error to find other things that entertain you as much as food did.

But now being on the other side, I see how incredibly freeing it is to not think about food so much. I have so much more brain energy now to spend on things that help me to become the person I want to be. And for me, that’s totally worth missing the last season of MasterChef!

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