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Dieting? Not me!

After my obsession post I had various views from people who were involved in potentially extreme things… religion, diet, anorexia.

Maybe we shouldn’t bandy words about without meaning them. I am passionate rather than obsessed, though having said that I have been obsessed and I have used food as a way to give myself control and also to give myself something to focus on when going through more difficult times.

Sometimes we do feel out of control because of situations we find ourselves in, maybe through relationships, work, home, finances, illness.

Something to focus on can be a good thing.

I used to say to my kids, if they woke with a bad dream or had a bad day and were trying to go off to sleep, ” think about something happy, its your birthday in a few days/weeks/months, what would be the best birthday cake in the whole world, think about how it will look and tell me on the morning” or Xmas cake maybe….. you get the idea. It took their mind off the problem they could not do anything about right then.

So, could that have potentially started a comfort eating problem? Maybe. Could it have contributed to minds that won’t be quiet when we want them to? Maybe. Could I now add it to the list of things I did “wrong”? Maybe.

To me, at the time, it was the right thing to do. So to me now, I did my best, with what I had at the time so I am OK with that.

I am sitting here at 3.25am. I couldn’t sleep, again. Too many thoughts, too many ideas. I’m not awake because I am worried but because I am excited. I don’t need to think about what my next birthday cake will look like ( probably a raw chocolate one with fresh fruit on top:) but I can’t help but think about new ideas for food, new ways to make raw work on a day to day basis sidestepping cravings and habits of a life time. Where to have our UK retreat, whats next to do for the french one. Its fun, its exciting, its creative.

Its a long way from obsessed.

So, confessional; when I was about 19 I was at art college. I would get up in the morning and have a slice of toast with a diet spread and jam. I would cut it into several pieces and slowly eat it whilst getting ready. I would drink OXO cubes in hot water through the day (maybe one or two, sometimes only half at a time) and then I would have part of a crunchie bar as a reward for being good. Half I think.

In the evening I would cook something like lambs liver with onions and green beans and carrots – in some water, no fat. I was proud of how healthy and nutricious it was, simple, cheap and tasty.


Maybe a year or two after that I read about some super diet involving seeds and yogurt. I remember struggling through live yogurt mixed with sesame and sunflower seeds. Now I know there are great benefits there but that was all I ate. It didn’t last long. Luckily.

The other day I was in a health food shop and there was a young lady asking about diet products. The lady working there was very careful what she said, they were a similar age and the shop assistant was distinctly uncomfortable because the customer was not over weight by any means. I thought ” what on earth is she worrying about, she doesn’t need to diet” then quickly realised I had been just like that! Who knows what the diet was replacing, feeding, nourishing – not her body but her mind in some way.

I was very slim, a dancer, gym bunny, health fanatic, constantly on the move – I recently went back to Harrogate for the first time for years. Someone said to me ( in a very loving, happy to see me way) you used to be such a slip of a thing…. I did have a momentary panic, I had put on weight and was more than I “should” have been and way more than I had been, but I have been learning to accept myself as I am and the work I have done on that over the years stood me in good stead BUT there was a time when that would have meant water only for days on end. They didn’t mean I am now fat, more likely if they had any intention other than “oh, I remember you well”, it would have been that I had been too slim! But what someone says and what we hear can be very different.

We need to learn to hear what someone says – and yes, somethimes people can be plain mean in which case we need to hear that they are being mean and not us being whatever they said – and not turn it into a stick with which to beat ourselves.

So now (and for many years) I believe in being a healthy weight, I believe in exercise to keep us strong, flexible, move our lymph, sweat out the toxins and to keep us mobile. I believe that the majority of what we eat should be feeding us, not just filling us. Nutrients in every mouthful. I believe in moderation and enjoyment and peace of mind and I believe I need to go back to bed and sleep!

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