Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Eating habits, food, swimsuits, and underpants!

I think too much. I spend all day and all my life constantly thinking. I read too much which leads to more thinking. I'm fascinated by psychology and have read quite a few psychology related books. I am interested in the correlation between eating habits, health and body weight/size, and the mind.

One of the topics that is constantly on my mind is food, and eating habits. Like all women, I have a strange relationship with food. I have a very strange one, in that I've never met anyone with the same characteristics!

I've never had a problem with weight. I can eat what I want and never gain weight (bet you all hate me now). That being said though, I have a small appetite. I get full quickly and hungry quickly. I am a fussy eater. I will only eat something if I like it or want it. Otherwise I just won't touch it (even if I am starving). No, I don't have an eating disorder.

Growing up as kids, we could have whatever food we wanted. We could have McDonalds, oven fried items, snacks like potato chips, soft drinks, the works. Couple this with the fact that I was always a quiet indoors sedentary sort of kid I am still amazed I was lighter and thinner than the average kid. Maybe I just got 'good' genetics, who knows? Friends would always come to our house and be amazed at how much stuff we had in our kitchen. I have to admit I think my mother liked to hoard food. However, my sister and I both have small appetites and not much interest in food so a lot of went to waste, unfortunately. We barely even touched anything. I mean we ate it, we just didn't wolf it down like most kids would after school.

Now, I am a fairly healthy eater but I quite often indulge in chocolate, potato chips and other common snack items. I hate soft drink. I hate the bubbles, I hate the fizz, I hate the sweetness and artificialness. I never touch the stuff. I think my brain was already wired from a young age not to like unhealthy stuff. Even as a child I would pick the fat off meat and not eat chicken skin. I hated anything oily and didn't eat fried stuff often.

I love to eat out and when I do I tend to pig out as I hate wasting food that we've paid good money for. But when we eat at home I don't enjoy the aspect of eating so much and my family and husband roll their eyes at me when I take 3 hours to eat my dinner.

So, as you can see I am pretty screwed up food wise! Haha

I found this article which was interesting.

"In less developed countries in Asia, people are primarily intuitive eaters," said Hawks. "They haven't been conditioned to artificially structure their relationship with food like we have in the United States. They've been conditioned to believe that the purpose of food is to enjoy, to nurture. You eat when you're hungry, you stop when you're not hungry any more. They have a much healthier relationship with food, far fewer eating disorders, and interestingly, far less obesity."

Hawks says that "normal" dieting in the United States doesn't result in long-term weight loss and contributes to food anxiety and unhealthy eating practices, and can even lead to eating disorders.

"What makes intuitive eating different from a diet is that all diets work against human biology, whereas intuitive eating teaches people to work with their own biology, to work with their bodies, to understand their bodies." said Hawks. "Rather than a prescriptive diet, it's really about increasing awareness and understanding of your body. It's a nurturing approach to nutrition, health and fitness as opposed to a regulated, coercive, restrictive approach. That's why diets fail, and that's why intuitive eating has a better chance of being successful in the long term."

I have noticed this since coming here that people are snacking all the time. And not always on healthy stuff either! I guess for most Asians eating is a pleasurable activity to be enjoyed whereas in the West it's looked down upon. Getting back to the psychology thing I think that's why people binge eat or starve themselves or end up with eating disorders. Their mind is all screwed up because they have been told that such and such is 'bad' but then they crave it so they buy it and eat it, feel enormous guilt, etc etc. Then there are the people who 'comfort eat' who use eating and food as some sort of morale booster (definitely not me!) Also stress... what I tend to find is that those who are overweight will put on weight when stressed, and those who are underweight will lose weight when they are stressed. It's as if the body is going into "stop, you are being stupid!" mode, "stop stressing! see what you are doing to yourself?"

Anyway that's my little essay for the day!



In other news - Despite being fairly thin (I think?) I have a fat bottom!!

I decided I needed a new swimsuit and went shopping for it on Sunday night with the hubby. Boy oh boy was it hard work. It took me about an hour to get one. First of all, I am totally pear shaped and noone believes me when I tell them I need a bigger size. The salesladies in the fashion department frustrate me to no end. I say I want to try on "this" and hold up the item and they go, "Let me take a look... nah, this is too big for you. Here is an M." and I'm smiling and trying to be polite but deep down (after it has happened a billion times) I want to strangle her, "No, you don't understand, I have really big hips. I know it doesn't look like it..." and well, basically they don't believe me until I step out of the change room and the size LARGE pair of pants fit me perfectly. I have one in a size M and one in a size XL but most of my pants are size L.

So anyway, I wanted to buy a two-piece tankini (because I don't like one pieces and am too chicken to wear a skimpy bikini) but it appears you have to buy it as a set. In Australia (and US and most Western countries I'm sure) they sell them as 'separates' so you can not only mix and match colours and patterns you can mix and match sizes (great for us pear people). Hmm..

Anyway, this lady was trying to get me to squeeze into a pair of size M pants. Umm.. I literally could only get them on over my knees. I couldn't even fit into the L. There goes my morale!! In Australia I have to buy the smallest size possible and here I have to buy the largest size possible!!

So after an hour of exhaustion and almost pulling my waist-length hair out and getting myself, my hair and the swimsuit all knotted up whilst in the change room - I finally made my choice. Let's not forget the salesladies yelling "Xian sheng" 先生 rather comically, and other staff and customers looking at me when I stepped out of the change room (ugh). Luckily they let me get two different sizes though. So I got a top in size L and bottoms in size XL.

Hubby also got some men's swim trunks.

So it was exhausting but worth it. I can't believe I got the little overskirt, the cap, and a beachbag for free too. You never get any freebies in Australia. Last night we took our new gear out for a 'spin' in our gym's pool. :) Whilst I was in the change room and pool I noticed some very familiar patterns - of swimsuits I had considered.

Another thing is underwear. I have had to buy size L underpants and hubby who usually takes a L in Australia has to buy XXL ones. One time he bought some XL ones and they were too small for him. I put them on for a laugh and amazingly they fit me like a glove. I can't believe I am admitting to wearing men's underpants! hahah.. I've gone from wearing size S undies in Australia to size XL men's ones in China - C..r...a...z...y !!! :D

1 comment:

sognatrice said...

Sounds like shopping in China is a lot like shopping in Italy, which I wrote about here. I wear a US size 8 or 10 (a small to medium, basically) and it's difficult to find anything to fit me here. Crazy!

As for relationships with food, I agree with you that we've (US at least) developed a horrible connection with being "bad" and "good" when it comes to food--Italians don't really have that either for the most part, although I have to say that many women do tend to eat a lot less (probably part of that appetite/only eat when hungry thing mixed with being "good").

I've also discussed the weight issue (ugh!) a bit on my blog here if you're interested.

I'm so glad I found your blog this morning :)