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What is it about food that you love? Does your love of food effect your weight?

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Clearly we all love food here. I have struggled with my weight since puberty. I'm not grotesque,but have always had an extra 20 pounds or so. I've been gaining and losing the same 20 pounds for about 10 years now!

Whenever I watch those tv shows about weight loss, the people almost always say they have an emotional attachment to food. Food comforts them, etc.

For me, it's not emotional, not because I didn't get enough hugs as a child or anything like that. I just love food. I love to learn about other cultures, and to me the best way to do that is through food. I love to travel and eat, to the extent that I've been known to make spreadsheets of various places to stop when I am travelling to different places.

I also feel like food is a very important part of my pride in my heritage. As my username suggests, I am of Italian descent. I love to show off my heritage by cooking Italian delicacies--both Italian-American and ITALIAN Italian food. It's exciting to introduce my partner--who is of Eastern European background--to the wonderful foods that make up who I am.

To me, it's just interesting. And fun. And challenging. I love to cook and seek out wonderful ingrediants. To me it's a hobby, like knitting or playing golf.

Unfortunately, it effects my weight. I'm a good cook and I love good food, and tend to overindulge. At least it's good food, and not twinkies! :-)

Anyone else struggle with the love of food/fat ass thing?

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  1. Count me in. I do love to eat (and have a healthier than usual appetite) and I love to cook (baking, especially). I lost 80 pounds in my late teens, and I've gained and lost 20 pounds 100 times in the past 30 years. While I've been a size 10 now for about 5 years, it's a constant struggle between my food love and my jeans love.

    1. Yes. Eating with two different friends, yesterday and today, I said to them both, "I just love food," and got very animated agreement. I would say I have 20 or 30 pounds to lose, and plan never to quit trying to lose it. But it has occurred to me lately (since I have begun looking at Chowhound??) that substituting quality for quantity might be a way to go. I have eaten a lot of bad food in my time, sorry to say. But lately I have had the very nice experience of going through the grocery store and saying to myself, "No, not that, not that, not good enough." And last night, looking for a snack, I found that everything I had in my kitchen was more suited to a (good) meal than a snack. So, no snack. I think there's hope

      1. I love everything about food.

        Food (and classical music) is universal. It's a great discussion point that brings out the good in people. Being social means being exposed to tons of food. As the saying goes, food is love.

        As for more personal reasons:
        Food/Cooking is a creative outlet, a chance in the day to create something good to be enjoyed. It's a chance to think and often appreciate (the effort/work of others). Emotionally, I fully embrace food and its biological link, and while I don't use it as a crutch, I certainly let it affect my mood. For example, Saturday's lunch was a 5 course mix that (was supposed to) came to an end with a creme brulee. The dessert was a bit off. I wasn't going to let it end that way and ordered a couple of more desserts (The first, a cheesecake, was good and I thought I'd order the second just for the heck of it - An apple tart, which was really a crepe, that was delightful). I was pleased.

        As for the weight aspect, well, the lunch described probably came in at around 4k calories. Not a big deal when I was active for 4-5 hours that day (although, my ankles did suffer a bit). Food is one my two big motivators for exercise. Instead of guilt, it's motivation/fuel!

        1. Italia, I know what you're talking about. For me, cooking is both my way of doing "art" and showing love to my family--I want to feed them nutritious, delicious dishes. And as someone whose paternal side is Italian (Napolitano), food accompanies all life's major events, from weddings to funerals to Sunday dinner.

          But I am much more sedentary than my aunties ever were. They were 4'11" and could cook (and out eat) me under a table, but they walked to work and to the grocery store, unlike my five-hour-a-day roundtrip commute. The high stress American lifestyle forces us to be more conscious of what we eat, and how we "burn it off".

          I also agree with you, btw, as food being sort of a Rosetta stone to a nation's culture. Neat post.

          1. I have had huge weight issues in the past and lost a lot of weight about 5 years ago because I didn't want to sit on the sidelines of my daughter's life due to overweight.

            Since then I have shifted my love of food to cooking and feeding others. It has become a hobby of sorts and a creative outlet for me. Tasting as I cook seems to satisfy me to the point that I don't feel like eating a lot when the meal is prepared, and I get the enjoyment of the process.

            Now that I have been operating this way for several years, I have developed the opposite problem and find it hard to keep weight on. Sigh. I never, ever thought this would be an issue.

            1. I have a co-worker who likes to eat with me due to my enthusiastic manner of eating. For me, food is pleasure. She says that she has never known anyone who enjoys food as much as I do.

              I offset most of my calories with exercise but I choose enjoying food over being svelte more often than not. :)

              1. I would have said no just a year or two ago. My job required me to move quickly, and often without a break, and my metabolism was hungrier than I was. I could burn calories just by *looking* at cheese. But then the restaurant closed, and the boyfriend urged me to take some time off. To concentrate on my writing. Which I do sitting down. *And* we moved to a place that is sufficiently far enough from the shops that it made more sense, once winter set in, to wait until the BF could drive me there.

                The reality of not being in my twenties anymore has sunk in, as the year that I've spent at my desk at home shows itself unpleasantly when I step on the scale (or zip my jeans). I gained twelve pounds in one year. I altered my diet, and was not very successful. I began feeling a little deprived, and was seeing no improvement. And I live with someone who has (still) a good metabolism, a love of food. It was too difficult making his and hers meals.

                I've lost two pounds over the past three weeks, and only because I realized that my love of food itself isn't something I want to modify, and so what I changed had nothing to do with food. My lifestyle used to keep pace with my cooking, and lately I have been making a pretty good effort to get back to that place. But there is a part of me that resents it, the effort ot be what I always just *was*. I can take the little furrows and lines that are cropping up with a shrug, but I would LOVE to be able to eat like I was twenty-five again.

                4 Replies
                1. re: onceadaylily

                  Oh, Lily, wait till you're over 50 and the menopause thing. Oh well, I have almond tarts cooling!

                  1. re: pine time

                    Oh pine time, isn't it the worst. I was very thin as a child and became normal weight in my late 20s. The pounds came on a few at a time and now I am at 'the very top of what they call "normal" weight for my height and I say thank God I'm almost 6'. I love to cook, I love the taste of good food, and I love eating and drinking with my husband and with friends. I do not diet, but I do try and save most of my calories for dinner. I also walk a lot to run errands and such around town and that helps, but I prefer enjoying myself to dieting and heavy exercising. I'm 60 with good blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar so I must be doing something right.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      I do the same thing with the calorie expenditure. My early meals are always lighter. It always feels better to me to have the good, but fattier, stuff closer to the end of the day. It's like a small celebration of a day lived.

                    2. re: pine time

                      Heh. My mom is a full head shorter than I am, and always had beautiful curves. Two years ago, she, at the age of fifty-six, took up running again after a long absence. Her inspiration was her pair of golden retrievers. She said, "If those two chubby blondes can run and like it, so can I."

                  2. I was an enthusiastic eater from the first, and a good meal was always the high point - maybe several of them - of any given day. Although we were quite poor, our extended family overran with good cooks of the various Midwestern traditions, from the Kentucky-accented food from my dad's side to the German-farmhouse bounty of my Grandpa Kuntz's family (and Grandpa himself). One day of bliss I'll never forget was a joint reunion of the Kuntz and Huffman families, two Mennonite tribes that had intermarried many times over the years, held at a big rolling meadow of a park in Hoopeston, IL. I was nine or ten, and turned loose to roam as I wanted, since everyone of these hundreds of people was a relative. At each table a new family would ask my name and perhaps one or two more questions, and then they'd say, "Oh, you're Betty May's boy, Walt's grandson. Have some pie, some fried chicken, some potato salad …"

                    The wonderful but ultimately dangerous part of this was that I could not put on weight worth a damn. All the way up to my thirties I could eat like a horse and never get over 155 or so. And then one day, at 33, I was running down some stairs, and I felt my chest bounce …

                    So yeah, I got issues. I've topped out just under 230, and then as I approached seventy it occurred to me that I've known a lot of ninety-year-old men, but never any fat ones. With diet alone, and maybe a bit of extra walking and stair-climbing, I've inched down towards 210, shooting for getting and staying under 200 within the year. Lots of fish and salads, cut way back on my beloved potatoes and pasta, flourless sprouted wheat bread toast with one small smear of butter* every other morning. None of which means food is losing any importance for me, nor that there's no room for well-planned indulgence. That noodle casserole I made the other night was regular noodles and braised chicken thighs, but the mushrooms were sautéed in olive oil and the sauce was broth, a dash of dry sherry and Greek yogurt, not créme fraiche. Our guest said, "This is so good, but it seems really light!" And that's where the fun is in this chapter.

                    *We've tried all the kinda-almost-darn-near butter-like substances, and I agree with Julia Child: there's no point in suffering that. Just get the best butter you can find or afford and don't eat much of it. Except for the occasional holiday feast, a pound will last us almost two months.

                    1. Once I realized that the first four or five bites of anything are the best, I've stopped there. Went out to dinner tonight and ordered a lamb shank. It was fantastic, but most of it now resides in my fridge, and I will repurpose it tomorrow.

                      1. Definitely an issue recently. I was fine while I was working as my job is so physical, but since I injured my knee last August I haven't been working and unable to mobilise. Consequently I've piled on the kilos and am very unhappy about it. I'm quite tall so I've kind of padded myself all over, but it still feels distinctly unfair.

                        But on the bright side I think a love of food can actually help when it comes to weight loss as it inspires creativity and there are loads of fantastic, big flavours that can be achieved in a healthy meal. I usually start looking towards Vietnamese food as it doesn't feel like diet food and tastes fantastic. But my problem comes down to the fact that I am greedy and want to eat everything.

                        1. For me, my love of food came about as part of my love of travel. You had to eat the same as the locals to get the whole experience. There were foods that I could not get out of my head, and then I began to cook so I could recreate them. Just being an eater has always come naturally, and cooking is something I love to share with my friends.

                          Weight has never been an issue for me, but I know that I'm extremely lucky with that one. I run 5 times a week, I have since I was 10 years old. Genes have a lot to do with it I'm sure. I may be a little forgetful, or have terrible vision, and a whole lot of other strange inherited traits--but I'm forever thankful for good metabolism.

                          1. Well, of course it affects my weight. If i didnt eat so much I wouldnt be this fat.

                            1. i always remind myself that food keeps its appeal when eaten in moderation. i try to eat enough to fill me for the meal, and either save the rest for later or realize i will almost certainly have the opportunity to try the dish again. hours later, the memory of the flavor of the dish remains the same whether i had a few bites, a dinner portion, or have over-indulged. in fact, i find myself really turned off from an ingredient or a dish when i have had too much of it.

                              at a restaurant with large portions, my boyfriend and i often order 1-2 appetizers and 1 entree to split, so we can each try 3 new things, but not have too much food that we feel sick.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jamieeats

                                italia84, I loved your post and jamieeats I see alot of myself in your points.

                                My love of food could affect my weight/overall well being if I didn't move and eat small portions. Some of the ways I counter the over indulgence is to share. Dh and I if we dine out share two orders rather than order 4 (say app & entree). With friends, we food shop together and split deals so we benefit on the price but don't overbuy. And, I am truly satisfied with 4-6 forkfuls of just about anything. I work out, participate in recreational activities daily but always have for the sheer pleasure of it. I'm definately a fan of small portions, small plates. I follow the "no larger than my fist" on dinner portions. I rarely eat after 7pm. But for me it's more of a personal checklist in my head. I don't get too overboard discussing it with people, it's more of a personal goal and mental note I make to myself to keep an eye on portions.