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Feeling Good, Eating Bad

The closeup of a salad. Ingredients include le...

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Lunch: lamb (leftover from last night’s roast) and mint jelly on wholemeal bread, a bowl of salad consisting of nothing more complicated than salad leaves, tomato, cucumber and avocado, with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. Verdict: delicious!

There’s something wonderful in doing things the right way – I don’t mean according to somebody’s rules or something. I mean, when you do things the way you want to do them. I wanted to eat food today that was only my diet. I really wanted that, and as I’m eating this food, I’m feeling good. I feel positive and in control of this thing. I know there’ll be moments when I won’t feel like this, but I do know that as long as I eat this way, I’ll feel like this.

I like this feeling. It’s very constructive, and bright, and makes me feel like I’m progressing and getting things done. It makes me feel like I can do what I set my mind to, that I am strong enough to keep going.

It’s a very nice feeling. But it’s a feeling I’ve not really paid enough attention to, and I think it’s cost me.

See, when I eat bad food, it’s a case of instant gratification. I see a piece of chocolate or a cream cake and when I take a bite, flavour explodes in my mouth. It’s fantastic and I think to yourself, wow, I wish I could eat this sort of stuff all the time.  But afterwards, I don’t feel so great. Not necessarily physically (although overdoing anything will make me feel sick) but emotionally. At the moment of eating, the emotional payoff is instant – but it doesn’t last very long. Sometimes it doesn’t even last long enough to finish swallowing. But the thing is, I never remember that. I never remember how hollow that payoff is when I need to remember – just before I put the thing in my mouth. I want to remember – but I don’t.

So I’m wondering instead – if I follow the guidelines of positive reinforcement – would I be able to do the reverse? Will it help me if I concentrate on how good it feels to eat properly? Would I then be less inclined to eat badly, knowing I’m not going to get that wonderful feeling of positiveness? I’m not convinced – and not being convinced might be enough to scuttle the idea. But I think it’s worth a try. I like it when my day feels like this, and I don’t like it when I eat bad foods. It’s a pretty simple equation, really.

That doesn’t mean I won’t ever eat chocolate again (hush yo’ mouth, don’t even think that!) or that I won’t ever reach for the comfort of pudding or something worse. But maybe those times will happen less frequently. And if I spend more time eating good food, that’s more time I can spend feeling good, too! At least, that’s what I hope.

How does eating healthy food make you feel? How does eating bad food make you feel?


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  3. Hardly a Diet
  4. The Day I Discovered I had an Eating Disorder

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