I’ve written before about how running helped me to lose weight. But that’s not the whole story. It really started with a totally different concept of how I look at food, and as a result, at my body and my life. Sex, Not Food may sound controversial or even (gasp!) promiscuous. But it’s really a mantra to remind me to listen to my body and my heart.
I had this moment about two years ago, when I was in a room filled with seemingly happy and overweight people who were gorging themselves joyfully…. But did you ever have one of those moments of clarity where you suddenly saw the whole world differently—through a different lens? Well, I suddenly saw their unhappiness, their disconnect from the true needs of their bodies—which maybe wasn’t for sex, but it was for love, affection, and tender care. And then I looked down at myself and realized I was doing the same thing. Stuffing myself with food instead of love.
The moment I realized I really wanted love (and yes, sex, too) rather than food, it was like my appetite recalibrated and I wasn’t out of control anymore. I ate when I was hungry, and not too much. And I started paying attention to what my body was really asking for and wanting for nourishment. And yes, running was a part of that—the feeling of freedom that comes from feeling my body come alive step by step, and seeing the fat melt away (definitely feels like that in this heat!) like a smooth, sensual sculpture being carved from a block of hard, cold stone.
And when I could articulate to myself what I really wanted in my heart—and allow myself to feel that I deserved that happiness—you could say everything fell apart. But it also came together in a new way, a much better way for me.
After losing 15 pounds without any real pain or effort other than the joy of exercise and opening up and listening to my heart, I picked up the book Women, Food, and God, by Geneen Roth. It basically confirms everything I discovered on my own, and I highly recommend it to everyone who struggles with his or her weight.
As Roth says in the book: “Ask yourself what you love. Without fear of consequences, without force or shame or guilt. What motivates you to be kind, to take care of your body, your spirit, others, the Earth? Trust the longing, trust the love that can be translated into action without the threat of punishment. Trust that you will not destroy what matters most. Give yourself that much.”
Don’t get me wrong. I still love food and love to eat. (And I will still be sharing recipes on my blog!) Food is still one of the great sensual pleasures of life. But it’s not the only one. And while I could say “Love, Not Food,” love is a loaded word—often filled with shoulds and should nots. Sex is much more physical and immediate. And it’s really about feeling that I am IN my body, not outside of it.
It’s a revelation.
I still have more weight to lose if I want to get out of the “overweight” shaded boxes of the BMI chart hanging in my doctor’s office and printed in the pages of our magazines. But I know I’m on the way there, and I will get there without giving up anything organic, including butter and lard. The only thing I really had to give up was a feeling that I deserved to suffer, and in the process I didn’t just lose weight, but my acid reflux went away too.
And the sex part? Well, that’s personal. All I’m saying is think about it, and see what happens….
BRILLIANT! You’ve taught us countless, amazing things about food over the years– but to me this is the most important and memorable lesson of all.
I once heard someone talk about asking a wise friend who was near his untimely death “so what’s it all about?” to which his reply was “it’s all about love.” That really stuck with me — so simple yet so moving and so true, including love for ourselves and the impact it can have on everyone and everything around us. You always give us good stuff to think about and your insights are so honest and beautifully put! Have really enjoyed your guest bloggers, but it’s also nice to have you back!
Maria, you are like a present day YODA. I really admire your genuineness and appreciate your honesty in sharing with us your journey and realizations along the way. Welcome back.
Thank you — it’s good to be back!!!!