Food as fuel.

Food as fuel.

This is one of the biggest things I am learning about during this 60 day challenge and one that is helping me break free from what my equating food to joy. Pinpointing that I have developed this attachment has been extremely eye-opening because I didn’t think my love for food went beyond what I was considering normal love for food.

And while loving food may be normal and we should embrace the food that we eat and enjoy it, it shouldn’t equate joy. It should just be part of it.

I’m not saying that I’m only happy when I am eating. What I am saying is that I was looking at the premise of cutting back in some areas of my diet as deprivationthe antithesis of joy.

But what I have found is that you can enjoy food – in moderation – but look at it as fuel for the body and for all that I do, not as something I should look forward to, necessarily, as enjoyment (aka gorging on baked cheetos endlessly, hypothetically speaking, of course…).

And when I look at food as fuel, I STILL enjoy it!

Look at that…amazing, right?? Seriously though, in the past, when I was trying to ‘count points’ (a la weight watchers) or any other diets that feel restrictive (low carb etc), I hated it. I felt stressed, deprived and like I could never enjoy anything without cutting back in other areas to an extreme. But now, even though I am sticking to my ‘number’ I don’t feel restricted, I feel nourished and satisfied and have even found a way to enjoy some wine on the weekends (my one fear was that I’d have to cut it completely from my eating, but I think that fear was partially because I had conditioned myself to think wine = bad when honestly, it’s low in calories (5 ounces is actually a pretty good pour, I have realized)).

My readjustment to my way of eating now is well, an adjustment. Sure. It means planning ahead when I eat out. It means eating out less (which is fine by me!). It means being focused and making sure portions are correct. But it’s been a lot less hard than I thought. A lot less stressful than I thought. And a hell of a lot more rewarding than I thought.

And just in case you didn’t believe me…here’s a sample of what I eat in a day (my meals for today!)


Cottage cheese with blueberries

Light raisin english muffin with organic crunchy peanut butter (YUM)


handful of nuts


Egg salad (a la Lindsay’s DIVINE recipe!!) on a low carb wrap

Side of carrots and special K ‘cracker chips” <–these are so tasty! just got them, 110 cals and they are pretty simple, not much filler so to speak.



Chobani Pineapple (YUM) with blueberries on top


Grilled boneless pork chop

stir fried kale (ahem, Lindsay, hehe), zucchini and leaks over Trader Joe’s gnocchi.


MORE watermelon or a Dove ‘promise’ <-haven’t decided yet. Game day decision tonight!

See? Not so bad, right?? Tons of goodies in there if you ask me πŸ˜‰

So…food as fuel. What do you think?

Doesn’t it make so much sense to look at food this way as it takes away the cravings aspect of it…at least a little bit? It does for me, and honestly, it’s a freeing feeling. Weird maybe, but true (for me!).

34 thoughts on “Food as fuel.

  1. I think that when you start looking at food as fuel and nourishment then you also start to appreciate it more. If that makes sense. You pay closer attention to what your eating, how your eating, and how to make it appealing as well. You sort of just get used to it. I know lots of people question me on what I eat and how I can pass up all the things I do, and quite frankly it’s b/c I don’t want it. I know it’ll make me feel yuck (and I don’t mean guilty, I mean flat out feel like crap). Do I still indulge? Of course, just not all the time. It does make that cheese dip taste a little better πŸ˜‰

    1. So true. I also FEEL much better now than I did before. That’s another really good point. Like, the day after the wedding on Saturday? I felt GOOD. Sure I have a few glasses of wine but I only ate until I was no longer hungry. I didn’t gorge myself. I LOVE that feeling after, so much more than bloated and yuck!

  2. Excellent post sis, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve actually been thinking about how to cover this on my own blog but you just did a much better job of it here! I never thought of myself as having that emotional attachment to food but I TOTALLY have one and just never wanted to see it for what it was. But now that I know it exists and I know how to manage it and I’m STILL happy and not feeling totally deprived and frustrated over this new approach to eating, I feel so confident that I can sustain this and all of our hard work in the long run. It feels damn good, doesn’t it? Huge accomplishment right there. Ginormous.

    1. Thanks sis. It DOES feel huge and something I never ever thought I had a problem with – food attachment. I feel way better now, still satisfied but just more balanced overall. It’s awesome, and we totally can sustain this!

  3. It’s obvious you’ve not been pregnant yet. Heh. I ate SO much food as fuel/growth for baby when I was pregnant that I actually got sick of eating and thinking about food. I mean I didn’t want to eat a single other morsel ever again. It definitely made me change how I looked at food.

    I’ve also had someone else refer to money this way. Look at money as a unit of choice. The more money = the more choices. Again, trying to stop money from equating joy or less money equating less joy. Less money only means fewer choices but I
    still have choices, right?!?

    Love that you’re noticing so much on this program. Very excited for you!

    1. Ha! Yes, T, I can confirm I am definitely NOT pregnant ;-P That is a great way of equating money too. I need to think about that more often as well, when I have less money at certain times of the month, it’s not THAT bad, but sometimes it feels like a ton of bricks. But it shouldn’t at all! Same with the food/fuel mentality!

  4. You aren’t alone with needing to work on your self-image. I struggle with mine all the time. Of course, I should be struggling.

  5. I could not have said this better myself. You did a perfect job at explaining this number ‘thing’. Thank you πŸ™‚ You are learning so much and I’m so happy!

  6. my new challenge in this life is to try to crack the habit we have at the new house. the man and the roommate do not cook. they eat out every. single. meal. i don’t like that for two reasons: money and calories. but it’s such a hard pattern to just swoop into and crack. i’m going to try, though. this will be my health challenge: to get a healthy eating habit going in a house in which i am the only cook.

    at least i (FINALLY!) joined a gym yesterday. i can counteract the ick factor with exercise now. πŸ™‚

    1. Yay for joining a gym! And wow, they eat EVERY meal out every night? That’s nuts. Kudos to you for trying to make the change πŸ™‚

  7. I think on some level I still equate food with joy…I have to enjoy my food if I’m going to eat it. But I have learned that paying attention to my body makes me enjoy the healthier stuff MORE. It gives a good balance I guess. Although I admit I still eat for joy in certain instances – like those social things I have talked about before. Or just becasue cupcakes taste dang good! LOL

    1. Yes, I don’t mean to say we can’t enjoy food or shouldn’t, because I sure as hell still do for sure (like a cupcake sometimes! Yes! I had part of one at the wedding in NYC last weekend and it was SO worth it!), but to your point, liking the healthier stuff MORE because it is fuel and it does make me feel better than junk food.

  8. as i’ve gotten more into running longer distances, i’ve learned to look at food at fuel. i’m always being reminded to make sure i have enough fuel to get me through a workout. i think i’ve gotten to a point where i can tell when i haven’t had enough, or when i’m lacking protein or carbs. and knowing “your number” definitely helps you gauge all of this. great post!

    oh, and is chobani pineapple better than lemon? i seriously bought 7 chobani lemon’s to get me thru the week. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Naomi! Working towards that number, even when running, is really helping me, and seeing food as fuel even MORE as a runner. LOL! I LOVE chobani lemon, it is still my favorite, but pineapple is SO Good too. As is strawberry banana (not usually a fan of that combo oddly, but I love it) and mango! all of them rock!

  9. It’s so true, food becomes associated with celebrations or relaxation or rewards (or punishment in a restrictive dieting sense) when it’s really just fuel. There’s a quote by Geneen Roth – something like “more than eating a hot fudge sundae we want our lives to be a hot fudge sundae,”

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