I left the office today on my lunch break, craving something chocolaty, and maybe even a tad bit salty. I had the image of a chocolate pretzel pie on my mind, and an unquenchable hunger inside. But my pants felt too tight as I walked. Just this morning, I found the two pounds I had lost, reclaimed after yesterday’s apple pie and french bread, and the carrot cake from the day before. Two pounds that took me two weeks to lose, packed back on in two days.
Walking in the direction of the cafes and restaurants, I told myself that I didn’t need to find something sweet to snack on. I wasn’t really hungry, just my tastebuds were. What I really needed was a glass of water, maybe even a stroll around downtown to make up for all the sitting I did at my desk job.
No. What I really needed was some chocolate.
I flicked away my good sense and continued in the direction of sinful temptations. The closest place was a deli on the corner. I made a beeline into the market and perused the desserts. Nothing called to me. Then I looked at the convenience foods. Still nothing.
There’s still time, my health-conscious self pleaded. You can still make the right decision and leave the store.
I did leave. But I turned left instead of right, heading straight toward more restaurants.
A man looked at me as I walked, his eyes lingering a few seconds longer than normal. Even happily married, I wondered if he found me attractive…if anyone still found me attractive. There was a time when lingering glances were the norm. I don’t say that to brag. Ok. I totally say that to brag. I was a babe once. I had long hair, a skinny waist, a curvy behind. I was young, with smooth skin and unwrinkled eyes. I’ve never appreciated my looks while I’ve had them, only when they’re in the past. Yeah, I was a babe once. Today, I’m a plump mom past her prime.
But I didn’t miss that man’s eyes on me. Did I still have it? I looked in the reflective glass of the windows I was walking by, and my reflection looked back. My frumpy, saggy, plump reflection. He wasn’t checking me out. He was probably wondering about my health, or whether I was aware that frumpy had never been in fashion.
There’s time to change that, my inner voice whispered. You can turn around and make the healthy decision. You can say no to sugar and go back to eating healthy.
I heard my inner voice. And I knew she was right. But thing is, I also felt bad about myself. My job has been soul-sucking, my creative life has been lacking, and my time has not felt like my own. Most of all? My pants were still too tight. And while the logical part of me knew that the answer was to turn around and write my feelings, the illogical part of me needed to eat my feelings. So I ignored my inner voice and marched into the nearest gelato joint and ordered the smallest gelato they served. It was probably about a quarter cup. It was also almost $5. Damn. And damn delicious. I left there $5 poorer, carefully eating the frozen concoction before it melted, only half-enjoying it while my guilt simmered underneath.
When done, I set the empty container next to me and grabbed my journal so I could record what just happened and what I was feeling.
Here’s what I felt:
My stomach is spilling over my pants, and I can’t tell if I’m just imagining they’re even tighter after my gelato.
The gelato is gone, and half of me wishes I’d never eaten it, and the other half wishes I had a pizza to go with it.
I’m frustrated that I want to lose weight, but instead keep gaining weight, and I have no one to blame but myself.
I’m angry that I lack the discipline to eat well all the time.
I’m angry that I hate exercising, but that’s the only way I’ll get fit.
Mostly, I don’t know if it’s even worth trying….
It’s true that I feel better when I’m healthy. But getting thin? Who am I fooling? I’m not exactly a spring chicken. I’m not turning heads anymore, regardless of my size. Not that I need to turn heads, I love my husband. But my ego doesn’t seem to realize that.
And so I eat. And I can’t stop eating. I find my comfort, my entertainment, my solace in food. I devour it, can’t get enough of it, make love to it, ogle it, crave it…. When something is tasty around me, I can’t stop thinking about it until it’s in my mouth. I feel like I might even explode until I eat it. Sometimes it even feels like I can’t breathe. It’s worse now that I’m watching what I eat. As soon as I taste any forbidden food, I become like a ravenous animal guarding her prey.
I’m not even joking.
But then, it sits on me, won’t leave me, weighs me down. And we remain that way, a relationship of misery as the cycle goes round and round.
I want to quit. I just don’t know how.
2 thoughts on “My not-so-strange addiction”
I just love your candidness. I, too love to eat and call myself a “foodie.”
I recently asked my husband if he thought I had an eating disorder, because as I was growing up, we always had this thing: while eating dinner,we’d talk about what we were having for breakfast in the morning, or dinner the next night. I brought this “habit” into my adult life. Am I addicted to food? Well, I know I need it to stay alive. But to plan meals while I’m trying to enjoy my meal right now..is that a problem? I even have planned my vacations around where we’re going to eat at each meal, rarely leaving room for flexibility or compromise.
I think I’m inspired now to write about it.
Thank you, Crissi. I do enjoy your blogs, even though I don’t always comment.
Thanks Pamela. It’s always so hopeful to know we don’t struggle alone! My husband has often told me I suffer from food addiction – not in a mean way, but because it’s something that stresses me out so much. It’s such a weird addiction, since we do need food to survive. But we don’t need chips and cake to survive, we need vegetables and other whole foods.
I look forward to reading your blog on this.