"Betty Leopard": Food

Sunday, 27 June 2010


I've always had a turbulent, love-hate relationship with food. For the vast majority of my life I have verged on actually disliking food. Until recent years, the list of foods I would eat was significantly shorter than those I wouldn't.
However, growing up has had a maturing effect on both my palette and my attitude to food. There's still stuff I don't like and stuff that I only eat because I know I should, but I'm willing to try new things and keen to ensure I'm eating the right things.
During my teens I was probably a borderline eating disorder sufferer. If I had breakfast it was usually biscuits. Lunch was an inconvenience. At school, I disliked sandwiches and school dinners were exepnsive and awful. My friends and I seemed to spend several years subsisting on flavoured rice cakes. I could often make it through the day on a pack of spearmint polos. Sixth form college was little better, where the canteen served a range of options from beef burger to chicken burger to onion rings. If I ate dinner it was more likely to be something processed and frozen than anything of any nutritional benefit.
When I look back I wonder how I actually survived. I suppose the low overall calorie intake compensated for the proportion of junk, and I remained a size 8 to 10 through my teens and into my twenties.
A few years back a particularly bad patch of depression combined with something akin to Irritable Bowel Syndrome left me feeling almost completely unable to eat for a period of a few months. I lost a stone. I didn't realise it at the time, but I can see how thin I was when I look back at pictures from the time. My friends and family eventually got me onto build-up milkshakes, just as a source of calories and I slowly managed to re-acquaint myself with food.
However, since then a number of factors have conspired to lead to me slowly gaining weight. I now weight 11 stone, I'm not massive, not by a fair way, but I weight more than I ever have before, and I don't like it.
Despite my diet being healthier than ever before, I eat more in general, I'm older and we all know that effects how you're body processes calories and I have an underlying thyrpoid condition that means my metabolism doesn't function properly. I've also never, ever been into sport or exercise.
So now I find myself trying to change the exercise habits of a lifetime and desperately find new foods I can eat that won't go straight to my hips. A friend of mine with an interest in becoming a personal trainer has suggested I take up jogging first thing in the morning. I've never been a runner or a morning person. If it wasn't for the fact that I respect his opinion so much then I wouldn't even consider it. Let's see how I get on, I wouldn't put money on it.
The only thing I like less than the actual weight is how obsessed I'm becoming with food. I've spent most of today looking up 'metabolism boosting' foods and writing shopping lists, planning meals. Knowing my past form and mental stability, this could completely backfire. The temptation to restrict my food intake is rather strong. I hope I can do this.

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