I don’t think I thought much about food as a kid. My parents were good providers of good nutritious food. We may not have had what we wanted, but we had what we needed. Good healthy food.
When I got older, food didn’t play that much of a role in my life. However, I did figure out that our family didn’t eat out much because it was expensive. When I was in school, my friends could leave campus and get fast food, junk food, or whatever, and I did not. There was no extra money in my parent’s budget for that.
I never missed a meal. Even though I didn’t have money like my friends, I never had to skip meals. I carried a sack lunch to school. Sometimes my mom would give us money for school lunch in the cafeteria, which didn’t cost as much as fast food. This was more of a treat than anything else, and it certainly was not something that happened very often. I was in the band in high school and college. Sometimes the band would travel or take a trip. Then my parents gave me money to cover meals. Before this, I had never experienced going to a non-fast food restaurant. And when I did, I found that I liked it a lot.
I also liked it when my family and extended family got together on holidays for fellowship and a special meal. This was especially delightful at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The members of my family were exceptional chefs. And as I got older, I looked forward to these times even more.
Like I said, I never missed a meal and didn’t even know what it was like to miss a meal. The first time it happened may have been in high school, the result of forgetting my lunch. But I lived close enough to school that I could go home to eat if I wanted.
As an adult in the Navy, missing a meal happened on occasion. I was so used to regularly eating that when I knew I was gonna miss a meal, I got really anxious about it. When I did miss a meal while everyone else was eating, it seemed so painful, and I always felt like I was missing something significant and actually felt left out.
Over the years I became less worried or concerned with whether or not I was gonna miss a meal. I don’t remember how I came to let go of my concern. At some point, I realized that I was not going to die from missing a meal or two.
Still, I didn’t like missing meals. Sometimes I still felt that same anxiety. This went on until maybe 2005 when I tried the Lemonade Diet/Master Cleanse for the first time. After my experience with this, I understood that the body can go for long periods without food.
Fast forward to today. I typically fast 18 hours a day, leaving a 6-hour window for eating. Before the lemonade diet/Cleanse, I would have been extremely apprehensive about going so long without eating. Thanks to the lemonade cleanses, my mind was prepared for the long breaks between my eating windows.
The body can go very long without food, and I drink plenty of water to ensure I stay hydrated. Intermittent fasting is something I feel I can maintain indefinitely. How I think about food has changed a lot, and it is not something I must have. Growing up, I was constantly associating food with family gatherings or getting together with friends, and now I am thrilled with having tea or just some water.
I no longer constantly think about food (most of the time). Food is just a necessary sustenance for physical life. It doesn’t need to be more than that. It doesn’t have to be the center of my life. And that’s precisely what it used to feel like. The way I think about food is constantly changing. It is no longer the center of my life; only a tiny part of it now.