I will often see illness as an opportunity to loose some weight. I guess this is looking on the bright side if like me you could do with giving back a few pounds. I think this is about breaking the cycle of eating and resetting the body’s expectations of when food will be delivered to it. I know that sounds like my eating system is detached from my mind, but there are times when it is obvious I have been snacking at no so good times because if I don’t snack then, I become aware of acid reflux. This indicates to me that my body is expecting food.

The classic time for this is around midnight when the munchies kicks in and I try but usual fail not to devour a large packet of crisps. Because I only buy said crisps when they are on a half price offer, this large calorific intact is limited to how much restraint I can muster when the offers are on. I love crisps, the texture, the crunch, the flavour (few countries reproduce the range of flavours available in the UK) so they are a treat and since I don’t munch them every week, I think it is a fairly inexpensive treat at that. But I am getting older and I am exercising less so I don’t need to eat so much otherwise my weight keeps increasing (albeit slowly).

My latest attempt to reduce calorific intake is to try and cut out sugar from my diet. Now I don’t tend to add sugar to things I eat. My drinks (tea, coffee, water) are sugar free. My cereal is sugar free (porridge or raisin wheats). In fact food in general is sugar free until we add flavourings and sauces. My main challenge is not to eat biscuits and cakes. Biscuits, cakes, ice cream and crisps are probably my go to comfort eating foods. Since the later three are not easily available in my house, it falls down to biscuits to being my current enemy number one. I don’t think I would make a very good superhero since my arch-enemy often defeats me.

Anyway, an illness like food poisoning is a good chance to reset my cravings, desire and comfort eating so as a determined dieter, I intended to keep my reduced structured simplified calorie intact after the period of enforced abstinence. I was doing quite well until my daughter’s graduation celebrations when I decided I could have a day off. Bloody hell has it been difficult to get back to the simple life after that but I still think I am in better control than before the food poisoning.

It occurred to me this morning (where I was wallowing in the luxury of not having to get up and having the bed by myself) that perhaps my relationship with food is actually a bit more complicated than normal. Now I know comfort eating is quite a typical reaction to anxiety but as I lay there I began thinking about some foods I crave. Foods like cheddar cheese with pickle on crackers. Sausages, baked beans and chips. A hot mince and bean curry with fluffy rice. Curried roasted vegetables. Apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla ice cream. Pizza. Cheese on toast. I don’t crave these foods all the time but sometimes I just want to eat them.

Yes I will find comfort in eating those foods but there is more to it than that. I think I could probably live off those foods all the time. They are foundational to me somehow, they are like eating anchors, they bring me security. In some sense they are a regular pattern in my life that I need to know I can have access to in order to ground me. Now maybe everybody has such foods but my feeling is that this might be an autistic trait.

I live in a household of many cooks and I used to be the main cook. I wonder if I like to cook for others because I am therefore in control of what I eat. As I lay there this morning it seemed to me that having people cook for me might actually be more challenging that I first thought. I like to share the workload but I think I find it stressful not knowing what the food is going to be like. The reality is that I don’t always like the food that is put in front of me, because I guess I may need my comfort food instead. I want food that indicates security and familiarity. Now I could ask other people to supply that food but you know what? Other people don’t do things the same way. I notice these things, and they bother me. I am autistic after all.

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