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01 June 2010

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Erin

Erin, how were you able to change your previous thought process? Was it a matter of changing habits, using mantra's, and the things you've already discussed on the blog or did you develop any other particular techniques? I have a huge challenge with this process. My mom's love language is food, as was her mother's. I have the same issue. I enjoy cooking and find myself investing tons of time and mental energy into specials meals and events. My meals tend to be well balanced and relatively healthy and I am learning portion control, but I really admire people who don't make a gathering or special event all about the food. Is it more important to learn coping skills like portion control and balanced meal preparation or try and change the thought process behind it? As I'm getting further along in this lifestyle change, I think I've underestimated the importance of the latter. Why do I put so much of my self worth on the elaborate meals/treats I make for guests in my home, family, friends, and even coworkers? Ack, it's frustrating. Sorry for hijacking your blog, I just want to get to the point where the hike is about the hike and not the picnic!

Kate

Well another way to curb your thought process is by financial necessity. I don't splurge on big picnics because we can't afford it. What packs the most nutrition for the least money is the primary question. For those who don't have to live within a food budget, perhaps imposing one would be helpful.

bearing

Kate, since my food was all homemade, there wasn't anything *expensive* about my previous picnic style, at least not more expensive than I might spend on making dinner. (True, I tended to buy the sandwich rolls back then, but today I would bake them myself.) It was more time-consuming than anything else. It's definitely possible to overeat inexpensive food, so I wouldn't trust the budget to keep me in line.

There's something about grilling that makes people want to eat enormous amounts of meat, I think! I saw one family of four who appeared to be grilling at least a pound per person. And even our family, with our Eat Less Meat commitment we started about three years ago, finally gave up and decided that when we make hamburgers we're going to go ahead and make two per person. Theoretically we'll have them half as often...

bearing

Erin -

"Why do I put so much of my self worth on the elaborate meals/treats I make..."

Okay, this is a problem for me too, but not one I've written a lot about. I might not use the term "self-worth" but I definitely have the problem that I care too much that my friends and family are impressed by the food I make. I call it "hostess anxiety." It's worthy of a post on its own but I'll have to think about it some more...

It might be worthwhile to consider what you fear happening and then try it and see if it's so bad. I haven't done this, but ... what if you threw a party and didn't make enough food? What's the worst thing that's likely to happen? What if for a whole week you didn't cook anything that took more than half an hour?

It's not really fair for me to bring this up without confessing that I'm getting better about cooking more simply for my immediate family, but I still have trouble when I cook for others. There's hope, though.

One thing -- I think a lot of women with this problem excuse it by saying "I can't help it, I show my love with food." I suspect that for a lot of us the real reason is "I try to BUY MY FAMILY'S love with food." In other words, we're trying to *get* something, not *give* it... we're looking for affirmation. We need to get over ourselves. At least I need to get over myself.

In any case, most of the time my thoughts didn't change until after the behavior changed. I had to prove to myself that something would be okay by trying it out, before I would really believe it. Fake it till you make it.

Lisa

That's a really good point -- I tend to do the same thing, and it kind of takes away from the fun of whatever the activity is. Sometimes just grabbing something easy and heading out the door makes it a lot more enjoyable.

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