I have always had issues with food. The first time I remember feeling fat was when I was about nine years old. I was at the pediatrician and I remember the doctor saying to my father, "She's definitely overweight, but she carries it well enough." Ouch. I started my first diet soon after. I started eating the Lean Cuisines my mom had in the freezer. My mom has always had her own issues with food. Today, she's found a relationship with food that works for her, but I remember her quoting Kate Moss, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," and meaning it. She of course didn't realize the quote's connection with anorexia. My mother simply was saying that she knew what it was like to be fat and didn't want that for me. She wanted me to be healthy and happy. My neurosis around food were just an unintended side effect of the world in which we live in. I think it's that way for a lot of girls.
I was gifted a subscription to weight-loss clinic Lindora for my high school graduation. I've done Weight Watchers and Atkins and every other diet you can think of. In the end I think that doctor was right. I'm definitely overweight, but I carry it well.
I love food; cooking it, eating it, everything. That's not going to change. I'm incapable of saying no to something delicious. I am incapable of restriction diets. So, I was delighted by this episode of the No Filter Podcast. No Filter host Mia Freedman interviews author, chef, and all around domestic and feminist goddess Nigella Lawson about food, dieting and happiness.
There are very few celebrities I trust on the subject of food and diet. Jennifer Lawrence, while amazing and totally bff-worthy, makes me cringe when she talks about eating Cheetos and everything in moderation. Nigella Lawson on the other hand, I trust. That woman knows food, eats food, practically lives food, and looks great.
Nigella understands my inability to stay on a restrictive diet. "People who want cheesecake after every meal, it’s because they tell themselves they shouldn’t eat cheesecake," she tells Mia. "But if you tell yourself you can have cheesecake whenever you want it, you just eat it when you think it’s right." That's a mindset change that seems like it would work in my life.
"Within each diet, normally, there is a grain of sense," Nigella says. "Unfortunately, I think it's very difficult for people, all of us, not to carry things a bit too far, so that it becomes unhelpful." She goes on to say that there is a "strong feminist case" that says that dieting is in effect a way to make women "take up less space in the world." She says health is of course a huge thing to take into consideration but "extreme dieting is no more healthy than being overweight."
Instead, Nigella says, "I prefer to concentrate on what I add to my diet, than what I take away, and that seems to me to be a much happier way of looking at it."
I don't think I'll ever be able to shake the issues I have with food and my weight, but I can say that in my head, there are a lot of things that taste better than skinny feels. And I intend to taste them all…in moderation.
Bonus info: I really like the way Mia describes Nigella's cookbook . She says, "Simply Nigella focuses on feel-good food for busy lives. It's not about what you can't eat or what you shouldn't eat. It's about a celebration of delicious meals that everyone, maybe even me, can make." In fact, I liked her description so much that I bought the book.