My friend and I were on the subject of diets and weight loss the other day when she told me about a psychologist she saw on TV who said we overeat due to four sublimated emotions. Her acronym for them was FLAB, which translates to: Frustration, Loneliness, Anger and Boredom. Apparently reaching for a bag of Cheetos is symptomatic of inner conflict. So, the psychologist advised, the next time you’re tempted to suck up a gallon of Rocky Road, you should ask yourself this question, “Am I actually hungry or is my (fill in the blank: husband, job, kid, mother) driving me nuts?” If you answer in the affirmative after this inner dialogue and, if you can honestly say you are seriously and for-real-famished, you should then ask, “Now, wouldn’t an apple be a better choice?”
This gave me pause. I have flab. But could FLAB possibly be the reason why? Hmm. I’m not particularly frustrated. I’m certainly not lonely. I’m irked occasionally. But angry? Not so much. And who has time to be bored? Not me.
And what about that apple choice? Would fruit really hit the spot? I’ve been thinking about it and I have to be honest here. My answer to myself is, “Yeah, an apple would be o.k. But it would be REALLY good with a nice BIG chunk of Gouda!”
That’s when it hit me. My mindset just doesn’t jive with that psychologist’s FLAB. I have more of a theme party mentality when it comes to dining – I tend to design with food; to embellish, to coordinate food experiences. That morsel of self-awareness led me to understanding my own version of the acronym. For me FLAB breaks down thus:
F stands for Food Network Fantasy. I imagine myself a chef on a food show; Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, to be specific. Wearing a large smocky shirt to imply a relaxed insouciance in the kitchen, I cook as though demonstrating each dish for a TV audience. Like Ina, each plateful I bring to the table is an offering of love to my dear one.
L is for Live to Eat. Not for me the “food is just fuel” dictum. We are so fortunate that we have abundant resources; a bounty of wonderful food available to us. Under these circumstances, I consider an “eat to live” approach almost ungrateful. Cheese and French bread must surely have been put on this earth for our delight as well as our nourishment.
A stands for Amusement. My whole day, I look forward to 6 p.m. so I can start the evening meal: chopping and sautéing and marinating and roasting. I consider it my hobby, my avocation. I find great joy in browsing gorgeously illustrated cookbooks, shopping daily in our charming local food market, planning menus, blending flavors, combining textures and tasting dishes — oh, heaven!
B is for Banquet. As in, every bite is a banquet. Every meal is a gala celebration. Each opportunity to dine a communion between food and spirit. Why just eat when you can feast?!
Has my FLAB acronym gotten me into trouble? Absolutely! Could I stand to lose a few pounds? Doubtlessly! So, what about substiuting that apple for FLAB? Hmm. Sure I could have an apple.
But maybe with a SMALL chunk of Gouda?