My relationship with food has been fraught, to say the least. I don't do all the Oprah-y emotional eating, but I do some of it. Sometimes I eat because I deserve it. Sometimes (often?) I eat because the food is in front of me, even if I don't particularly like it. Sometimes I keep eating after I'm full because it's just so tasty, and who knows when I'll get to eat this again? (Answer: Whenever I want it - I'm a grown up, I can choose my own food! Duh!)
On the plus side, it's getting better. I do all those things less than I used to. However, I've been hearing about, and been interested in, health at every size (HAES) for a ages now, but never believed I could do it. I completely agreed with its philosophy - that weight is not what it's all about. We should forget that and focus on eating and moving to make our bodies work properly, not make our bodies look different. But I really didn't think that I could ever eat the way HAES recommends - to listen to your body's cues and not worry about anything else. Again, I was right there with the idea, but figured I had broken my body's cues so badly from decades of overriding what my body was telling me (ignoring hunger and ignoring fullness), that the whole system was beyond repair. I figured I could eat healthy, but it would require a conscious effort and control - so I set off trying to eat better and move more and gave no more thought to listening to my body.
Just recently though, I developed an inexplicable desire to massively increase the quantity and diversity of vegetables that I eat. Granted, this message is everywhere, and it's been everywhere for ages, but apparently my appetite just caught on. Could this be evidence of me being able to hear some of my body's signals? Maybe. Then today, a friend brought lunch and it amounted to bread, cheese & meat. It was tasty, I had what I wanted and stopped. An hour later I was hunting around the kitchen, looking for food. Conscious brain kicks in and says "You can't be hungry!" I was about to walk back out of the kitchen, and a revolutionary thought occurred to me. What am I actually looking for? Fruit, or something. Not an apple, too starchy. No mandarins, no oranges. Cucumber! I want a cucumber. I'm a grown-up, I can peel and eat a cucumber.
This is all kind of pathetic, but it feels vaguely like that intuitive eating thing might not be entirely out of reach. Of course, I may be 70 by the time I master it, but it's good to have a project to be going on with.