The Fight Against Food. Is It Worth It?
The second article in a series about our relationships with food and how it affects competitors and dieters especially in the physique arena, Catherine takes a closer look at our relationship with food and other relationships. if you haven’t read it yet , visit Catherines first near viral post on Competition, Judgement and Sanity here…..
This is close to both of us as we have had a hard time post competition, on what to do with ourselves. We both feel its not good to stay that lean for a very long time and you end up missing a lot of other things in your life. Ive been through nine 16-20 week periods where I had to fight against food. Even 4 years later I still get people asking me when I will step back on stage.
Its a constant thought in my mind and I even find myself doing the ab “pinch and roll” to make sure I’m not getting too fat…. But who am I comparing myself to anymore? People I see everyday? My old bodybuilding competition self? Facebook connections I have across the world that are peaking for a contest every weekend?? Its enough to drive me crazy!! Why are we doing this? Isn’t this a kettlebell and functional fitness website?? Yes, but its a holistic collective as well. The thoughts that we have or have had before, can be used to help people escape the struggle of finding purpose for fitness or health that doesn’t involve JUST what you look like. I hope we can bring you some help if you are in a rut.
- Joe Daniels
The Fight Against Food. By Catherine Ostberg.
Have you ever seen a child overeat until they were miserable? Avoid eating certain foods in front of people for fear of being judged? Gone up to their crib and housed a box of Oreos in secrecy? What about refusing to eat because they ate too many pureed peas the day before? Or saying “I hate the way I look in my Pampers today. I’m not drinking any of Mommy’s milk”?
Ok, I am aware that, developmentally, children do not have the capacity to think some of these things. I do, however, think we have a lot to learn from them.
I’d also like to take a moment and clarify that this article, or any of my articles, are not intended to bash the world of bodybuilding. The intention is to bring light to mental and emotional issues many experience within it. These thoughts are written not only as therapy for myself, but in hopes to provide solace to anyone who may feel alone in their thoughts.
Ok, back to the kiddos. Their lack of complicated relationship with food is a perfect example for those who have somehow gotten uber mixed up on “doing it right”. They eat when they are hungry, and they stop when they are content. How many of you who have been on a strict diet have a hard time with the aforementioned ability? Regulating yourself. A previous me could’ve plowed through $20 of Taco Bell and still wanted pizza, so you’re not alone.
Think of love. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Imagine your spouse to be in the military overseas, or on leave for work. The thought that they are away makes you miss and want them even more. What happens when they return? I could only imagine that you couldn’t get enough of each other.
Love, food, air, shelter, these are all very basic necessities. While a strict diet is still providing BASIC caloric needs, so is speaking to your better half ONCE a day. While yes, you can get by on talking to them once a day, aren’t there some days when you need that person more? You want to be at their side every waking moment? So, while dieting, some days you feel on top of the world, there are other days where you just need a little more. Some days 1200 calories won’t cut it. You know what? I think that is perfectly normal. It’s the element of satisfaction, which to me, should be filled.
If your spouse continues to neglect your needs, aren’t you likely to turn elsewhere for fulfillment? Isn’t that similar to what happens with food? If you continue to neglect your cravings, aren’t you constantly fighting an epic cheat? Same with a neglectful spouse, huh? Oh hello, now there is a new emotion on the table: guilt. How do you compensate for guilt? Some sort of self-punishment maybe? ( for some reason all can think of is many peoples infatuation with killing themselves on the stair mill or bleachers..) Do you see where this is headed? Some cyclical emotional roller coaster which I won’t even touch right now.
While some may attribute this to mental weakness, I attribute this to understanding human nature. Toughness is a choice. It can be turned on or off. I can let my guard down to the world or have my shield up. BUT I choose to no longer use my energy to fight against food,, but bettering things like relationships, work, and my creative abilities. I choose to live a more balanced life. I choose to be emotionally available to the world in which I live. I choose to take on each day with an open mind and open heart. While operating on a rigid plan which encompasses and constant deficit, I feel as though “life” passes me by. Shit happens. Your friends struggle. Your family needs you. There are millions of “life happens” situations in which a previous me would ignore. I need my friends and family, they need me too.
So sure, can you just tough up and get it done? Absolutely. I admire toughness. But I also admire those who respect their own mental and emotional needs enough to realize they deserve the same, if not more time than they’ve dedicated to their physical “needs”.
Ive seen so many people miss out on things that their kids are doing because they have physique shows coming up and they can’t be around food or do too much more cardio or whatever. I really feel that this adds a huge element of stress to the cumulative life you live. I really feel that the best thing you can do when you are in your fight against food, ask yourself , “Is it really worth it??” My life has been so much more fulfilling when I stopped competing 1-3 times per year and learned new things to do with my life. Yes its hard to stop doing something you may be good at and start something you may be terrible at but you never know until you try.
See also From Sport to Sane and Heathy by Catherine Ostberg.
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