April 9, 2008

Food addict mindset vs. skinny person mindset

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:04 pm by foodaddict

I got to thinking, how do skinny people deal with food? It surrounds them, just like it surrounds me, but they don’t eat everything in sight. The few skinny people I have had the chance to closely observe have a very tightly controlled intake of food. My crazy hypothesis is this: they view their natural state as being hungry, and they only eat (i.e. self-medicate) when the hunger pain is too much for them to bear. Whereas an eater like me, I believe my natural state to be satiety, and I eat whenever our my satiety level drops below, say, 90%, or whenever I have another problem or ailment (headache, cold, misery, tiredness, heartache, broken leg, job loss). I eat because it makes me feel better (for 5 minutes, at least), whereas the skinny person has learned to derive satisfaction from being skinny and from the “success” of limiting their food intake every day.

I find this significant because “sensible diet plans” emphasize eating regularly. When you’re trying to get to a “healthy weight”, the “authorities” advise you to eat a sensible breakfast, a sensible lunch, a sensible dinner and a sensible snack. I believe (mostly without evidence) that this is not how a thin person thinks. They don’t plan their lives around food. They live in their natural state of not-eating, and only when food is forced upon them, or when they’re absolutely starving, do they eat. This is how a skinny person (astonishingly, to an eater like me) can “forget to eat”. Moreover, for someone like with an obvious tendency toward binge eating, forcing myself to put food in front of my face six times a day is not necessarily the best idea. Once I start eating, it’s hard to stop.

I am reminded of back when I went through an anorexic phase. I have a very skinny cousin who has always been skinny. Everyone in my family gave me a hard time when I lost weight, but my skinny cousin never got any flack for being thin. Why? Because she had developed socially acceptable ways of not eating. When people watched her, she ate “normally”. But I’m almost positive that in private, she reverted to her natural state of not eating. I, as an inexperienced anorexic, hadn’t figured out how to be skinny in private and be normal in public.

What I’m getting at is that both food addiction and skinniness are habits developed over time. I honestly believe that (1) most thin people are vain, (2) they control their intake of food very tightly because they want to stay skinny, (3) their weight and appearance are the most important aspects of their lives and (4) they have successfully developed habits to maintain it over the course of 10, 20, 30, 40 years. Me, on the other hand? I’ve had 20 years of practice at self-medicating using food. Obviously, it’s going to be an uphill battle to change that habit.

As you’ve probably guessed, my crazy plan is transform myself into the skinny way of thinking. Let my natural state be not-full, and only eat when my body says, “You’re really hungry right now, and you need to eat something!”. As opposed to my natural state being full, and when my stomach contents drop below a very high threshold, or when my head screams, “Your life sucks!”, then automatically reach for a donut.



  1. Miriam said,

    Wow. I was a skinny person for most of my life. My skinniness was not because of a habit. I ate all the time because I was hungry. And I ate everything in sight. This was because I was actually hungry on a cellular level.

    I’ve probably always had an allergy to wheat and grains.

    As I have gotten older I no longer can eat the way I used to. Actually I’m glad of that.

    I’m never hungry anymore unless it is time to eat. I stopped eating wheat, sugar, grains of all kinds.

    I feel better as well. More energy, better sleep, no more bloating, no more ibs.

  2. k7up said,

    I think it’s true – for women especially, and they don’t want to be accused of having an eating disorder so they lie about how much they restrict/control their eating. Think of all the actresses who are twigs and say things like “oh my god, I eat all the time, I’ve just always been slender…” or “I look like this because I take my dog for walks and do yoga…” I mean, at least the anorexics own it! They tell the truth at least that to look like the actresses you have to STARVE yourself. I mean anyone over 5 feet shouldn’t weigh under 100 pounds!

    I’ve lived withand worked with skinny girls and they restrict constantly, they eat as little as they possibly can everyday, except, as you’ve said when they HAVE to eat to appear normal. I mean, that big meal they have at Christmas is THE ONE big meal they’ve had in months! And they call it “eating healthy” and combine it with obssessive physical activity. Most of the time, that obsession with being “healthy” and only eating “healthy” is just a eating disorder in disguise. And, I guess they’re thin but boy, are they a DRAG to be around – perfectionistic control freaks are NOT FUN. I live with one now who gave me the silent treatment for several days when I first moved in because it was 95 degrees outside, no a/c and I had the audacity to put ice cream in the Fridge! She is a Freak. She goes to a restaurant and orders 2 vegetable sides, or she doesn’t order anything and eats other peoples food – it’s annoying and embarrassing. And she’s always realy really hyper and intense and BRISK. I just call her “the scarecrow” in my mind lately – that’s what she looks like, a skinny, tense little scarecrow – how appealing!

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