April 26, 2008

Quote of the day

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 1:07 am by foodaddict

“The thin person inside me finally got out — it just turned out she was actually a fat person. ”

Kate Harding, “The Fantasy of Being Thin”, 11/27/07

Am I that way? I am I putting my life on hold until I’m thin? No, not completely. It’s not even that I care so much about my weight. Yes, I could stand to lose 20 pounds. But it’s more than that. I just hate the feeling of being out of control and stuffing food in my mouth for reasons other than hunger. I hate being overstuffed, I hate nearly passing out after a sugar high. I just know something is wrong with that behavior. It’s more like, I feel like most of my life is so out of control, and eating is one part of it. Deep down, I want to live this highly regimented life, where I go to bed at the same time every night, I wake up at the same time every morning, and I exercise every day, and where there’s not so much uncertainty about the future, and I am more productive and my career is moving ahead and I’m making more money and I’m not feeling like I’m stagnating. Partly, I just have no clue about how to function in the outside world, I have no idea how to make connections with people, so I get crazy about things I can control in my little world, like food.

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.

April 6, 2008

Snowballs and stomach knots

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:31 am by foodaddict

Eating badly definitely has a snowball effect for me. One slip (tonight, chocolate and nuts) just leaves me wanting more and more, with no end in sight. Fortunately, sleepiness is taking right now and I’ve stopped.

Why, why do I eat when I’m not hungry? Tonight, generalized anxiety about grad school work. I’ve done zero studying for the past three days. Now it’s 11:00 on a Saturday night and Sunday is staring me in the face — that’s the only day where I can count on spending a few solid hours at the library. Major knot in the stomach. Why?

  • I have no estimate of how long different projects will take me, and yet I have a limited amount of time to finish them. How long is it going to take me through 3 chapters of a textbook? I have no fucking idea. How long will it take me to finish this project? No clue. Hence, the amount of work seems limitless. I haven’t quantified it. It is an amorphous cloud hanging over me. It’s a seemingly insurmountable pile. And, not surprisingly, I have no confidence that I’ll get through it.

In summary, my mind is telling me that I have an infinite amount of work to squeeze into a very finite amount of time — 8 hours, to be exact. JESUS CHRIST, it’s no wonder I’m anxious and eating!

April 1, 2008

Let the gut-spilling begin

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 3:11 pm by foodaddict

So why start a food addiction blog? Aren’t there 245,032 other food addiction blogs out there? There certainly are thousands of diet sites, many “how to overcome your food addiction” sites, and any number of sites written by participants in Overeaters Anonymous. But, in my very cursory search, there are few that look at food addiction as a chronic disease. In my mind, it’s not something to be overcome — it’s something to be lived with, and something to be worked around in creative ways. It has been with me for decades, and it will be with me for the rest of my life, like a heart valve defect, or asthma, or faulty vision. In particular, the phrase “overcome your food addiction” tickles me. Sorry, but my food addiction is way too far down on the brainstem to be “overcome”. You might as well say “Overcome breathing” or “Overcome your heartbeat”.

With this blog, I want to look at where my food addiction came from, why it plagues me every day, what causes particularly nasty flare-ups, and how I can fool my brain into forgetting about it, all the while being a scientifically-minded atheist.