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Archive for September, 2012

I’m here to tell you it’s not.

Here’s what I have learned so far: it gets better, but it doesn’t get easier. Or, on some days, it seems like it gets easier, but then a different day happens and – whoops! Just kidding. Shit’s still fucking hard.

These generalities/truisms could probably be applied to anything, but they are particularly true for my experience with eating things in a reasonable fashion. Which for me means I do not binge on foods to meet my emotional needs, stave off boredom, distract myself, or stuff down anxiety and depression.

I can – and have done – all the hard work of cutting out sugar and fried food and cheese and other things I have loved, of retraining my brain and my palate to crave and enjoy different foods. And I will say that I honestly thought there would be an end point to it all. Initially, I was terribly misguided on what that end point would be; I thought two, maybe three months and I’d be back to having cheese and the occasional dessert. That was wrong. But I still believed that if I kept working at it long enough, one day I would stop struggling. I would just naturally want to eat a salad and stop when I was full and not even find the sight of a donut appealing.

Guess fucking what?
Donuts look AMAZING to me. I don’t eat them. Obviously. And I can even appreciate – intellectually – that the donut will not serve any positive purpose for me: it will taste too sweet while being full of empty, useless calories that I really don’t need – just a total waste of food and space and energy. But emotionally, I still see deliciousness. I still see the satisfaction of a fried dough circle covered in chocolate; the image of it still connects me to happy memories of Saturday treat breakfasts brought home by my mom that we ate while watching cartoons. I still see a donut (or a cupcake or a cookie or any sweet) and immediately connect the image and smell and imagination of it to happiness, contentment, excitement and joy. So. It’s still pretty appealing.

And some days – days when I’m stressed or sad or run down by all the demands of daily life – that appeal calls to me loudly. And while I know a salad may nourish me better, I am not yet at a place of truly wanting it. Hell, I’m barely there intellectually. It still annoys me how raw salads are. I mean, I like and appreciate them, but it’s a lot of damn ruffage.

Also, eating is fun, and if you are, like me, an emotional eater, a bit of a binge eater, you don’t want to stop just because you’re not overrun with hunger anymore. In fact, sometimes all I want to do is keeping eating. Like tonight for example.

I had no reason to be hungry really. I had leftover chickpea and vegetable stew over quinoa for dinner before my hair appointment,  and this meal already featured carbs (the quinoa) – a big no-no for dinner. I would have guessed that these carbs would keep me full, but I had to stop for a snack on my way there and ended up with some all-natural oat bar, which was okay, but probably less natural than it claimed to be. And also? Carbs. It was a fucking bacchanal of carbs up in my dinner time. And still, I got home at 9:00pm and was hungry. So I tripled down on my carbs and ate a piece of Ezekiel bread.

And then I hooked up the cars and went ahead and road off the rails on my crazy train of compulsive eating. I had another piece of Ezekiel bread, and then I dug the granola out of the freezer where it is kept hidden from me. I ate a cup of it dry and then I followed that with a frozen fruit stick. And then, finally, I walked away.

This is what I mean when I say it’s not easy. If it were easy, I would have had pre-prepared non-carby food for dinner and then I would have shut down the food intake for the evening. But it’s not easy, and I get anxious and I like food and I especially like carbs. And yes, I have made a lot of progress. There are no cookies and no cake. This was no “entire box of Cocoa Krispies methodically eaten in bowl after bowl of cereal until the whole box is gone” style binge. But still, it was a binge. Which means I still have a lot of work to do.

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