Food as fuel/Food as fun

I just got back from the weekly shopping trip for groceries.

As you can see by the date we are in the middle of the rush, pre-Christmas. I was shopping to our regular list and avoiding attempting to avoid getting lured into buying extra treats.

I am not a food nazi, despite what most people think of my profession (BTW, I am a dietitian who specialises in obesity, for those of you who don’t know me IRL). However, I do like most women over the age of 35 have to watch what I eat.

I feel I have a pretty healthy attitude to food. I like it, I cook it, I talk about it daily in my job. I have few dislikes and no “forbidden foods”.   However, in many years of speaking with other people I have found few people who have the mental split between “food for fuel” and “food for fun”, which I live with in my head.

As a dietitian, I know a lot about the healthy eating messages. As a person interested in genetics and the impact food has on our genetic expression (there is a newish discipline called nutrigenomics, which I think is really, really interesting), I have experimented to work out what works best for me, using limited tools such as my weight, waist measurement and general sense of well-being. So in my head I am often thinking “Right, to fuel my body I need to eat X, Y & Z”. So sometimes, when I am planning the day, I will be thinking “right, I am going to need this kind of fuel to optimise my performance.”

I am not sure how much of my food would be “fuel food” – probably as high as 70% on some occasions.

The other side – food for fun, involves thinking what I would like to eat.  And that is the times I eat the foods that other people would say “Surely as a dietitian, you shouldn’t eat chocolate/crisps/cake etc” . Yet I am human, I like sweet, salty and fatty foods. And guess what, they taste really good at times. So I get a bit tired of comments about my eating when I chose the fun foods.

However, most of the food selections I make are not about fun, they are about fueling my body. A body I like and I am pleased to say is only 1.5kg heavier than it was when I was 18 years old.

I think that splitting food into fuel and fun has helped me maintain that balance – and has also made me appreciate the foods I eat, when I eat for fun.


About kiwihelen

A Quaker woman with something to say. I am 40 years old, a Pakeha (white New Zealander) who is an economic migrant living in the UK. I am a registered dietitian, a feminist (although I am very aware of the mysandry of some feminist authors and also support the work of some Mens Rights Activists), a crafter and I play the trombone. I am in a long-distance relationship with a Quaker man who has two beautiful daughters. I have 12 nieces and nephews and a great nephew and niece. I share a house with my best friend J, and we are the staff for two cats Archie & Asbo.
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