Monday, June 18

Food and Love

I often hear people refer to their "relationship with food." Lately I've been thinking a lot more about that subject.

My relationship with food often verges on nun-like: as in, close to "none". I have to force myself to eat most of the time just to be sure I eat at least once or twice a day, and since my eating plan demands 5-6 eating times a day, that's really a problem. I have a truly successful day about a couple days a month.

I'm half convinced that severe obesity of the sort caused by starvation-response and then later finally eating, is some kind of half-anorexia, an eating disorder with opposite body-result but from a similar cause.

In the rare event that I start eating a lot more food, a lot more often, weight starts falling off me. So far, that's pretty well trackable. And the only time I make a point to eat is when I'm lowcarb. Though this last cycle, I'm doing pretty badly with this, and I'm guessing my lack of much weight loss relates to that.

It's almost like an inverse of the theory that if you are generous with giving away money you will attract more to yourself in some metaphysical way: when I'm generous with eating, fat falls off me, rather similar to how drinking a lot of water will get rid of water weight.

Now, bodybuilding coaches say this is the way it is: that if you eat protein regularly, and don't over-calorie, fat should reduce. They are all pretty clear that if you don't eat regularly, especially if you're eating too few calories, you'll reduce metabolism and end up gaining fat even on that small amount of calories. They emphasize heavily that if you want to save calories, don't skip the food, increase the exercise instead. I'm inspired that this is a no-brainer for so many, and I sure wish I'd known all this nearly 20 years ago. But, ok, I know now.

So why the hell is it so hard for me? I know now. So? Why not just do it?

***

Today I had 2.5 eggs and 2oz soyrizo at 8:30am. I was supposed to eat again at 11:30am. Instead I didn't make myself until like 3:30pm, even though I knew I was supposed to and had time. Nothing except the knowing my best friend would be disappointed in me if I didn't make some effort finally moved me.

And then, putting together something to eat, I was putting pork and green chili stuff in a little bowl for nuking, and wondering how little I could get away with and still get protein; is this at least 4oz of meat, I wondered? I think so, ok, that's plenty. As I put the container back in the fridge, I thought, how weird is this? Most people want to eat as much as they can, yet I'm the opposite.

I weigh between 380 and 390 lbs. My body should be screaming for 4,000+ calories a day according to Official Theory. I have plenty of days I'm lucky to get 800 calories if that, and I shouldn't admit that because my friends are going to beat up on me for my own good now, but I'm really having a problem eating enough to lose weight, as bizarre as that must sound. I can force myself to eat an avocado at noon and feel like that's just fine for the day.

But that's not fine. There is something wrong with that. On some level, my intellectual brain can see that this is just not... normal.

I just don't have any appetite. And even when I do have an appetite, I don't really "feel like" eating. I can feel that it is some kind of psychological thing at base, because it has that same subtle feeling that I have about situations and people that I don't feel like having anything to do with. This is subtle. I don't think I would be aware of this if I wasn't really paying attention and trying to understand.

If someone drops food in front of me, and I don't dislike it, I'll eat it. In fact, if anything I have almost no internal measure of sanity on that count: whether they could give me 3 bites or 3 meals worth, if it's sitting there and I like the taste of it, I'll contentedly eat it without any body-recognition of what is appropriate; my body doesn't say, "You need more calories," or, "You've had enough." It doesn't say, "You need steak instead of chocolate" or whatever either. The first time we made chili verde, which was low-carb, I ate 4oz servings of it for like 32 meals in a row. How many people could do that, let alone would voluntarily do so? Because food means almost nothing to me. If I'm ok with the taste, and it's in front of me, then fine, I'll eat it, who cares.

My body really doesn't have anything to say about food at all, except, "I'm not eating it if I don't like the taste of it." There's been times I've been feeling like I was starving, and surrounded by food, but if I didn't "feel like" eating what was available, I'd just walk away hungry.

***

I'm starting to think maybe it is a dissociative effect. I don't seem to have a direct associative-connect between the sense of hunger or fullness, and the subject of food. It's almost like they have little to do with each other.

So, for the last 15 years or so, I ate when it was convenient, if something I liked the taste of (read: carbs or sugar) was easy and fast. If it would take 45 minutes to cook I wouldn't eat. Why should I? If I was hungry I wanted it now, and if I was willing to wait that long for my food then I wasn't hungry enough to bother eating. It's a hilarious and pitiful kind of food-laziness that resulted in an entire diet of fast food and occasionally pasta or pizza.

I'd have been fat on that diet anyway, it's just that the seldom-eating, carb sensitivity, food sensitivities, stress and sleep deprivation and extreme sedentary lifestyle and so on aggravated the issue by a couple hundred extra pounds. If I didn't have those issues, I'd still be struggling with my weight I think, it just would have started nearer 300# than 500#.

***

But now I know. I know what it takes to lose weight. I know what caused the gain and what will help heal my metabolism. I have the power, for the first time in my life, to truly control my body and my life and my future.

So why is it SO HARD? Why does it take immense self discipline just to take 10 bites of something I like the taste of? I had food prepared ahead of time today. All I had to do was drop a couple things in a bowl and nuke it for 60 seconds. How hard is that? Yet it took guilt and love to finally move me enough to do it -- 4 hours late.

I would seriously think I need therapy for this, but the only eating disorder I know of that comes close to this is anorexia, and I suspect if I walked into a therapist's office and told them, at nearly 400 lbs, that I thought I was half-anorexic, that they'd just laugh and think I was in some bizarre kind of denial.

I can't afford therapy anyway. I might make up a self-hypnosis regimen but I'm not sure how to focus that. I'm not certain what core problem is sponsoring this 'behavior issue' with the food. I don't lack money, or time, or food, or knowledge. I don't lack a desire to lose fat as far as I know. I have a positive attitude about all this. And I like food -- I love yummy things!

But I'm just off work here today, it's nearly dinner time, and I've managed to ingest about 800 or so calories so far today, and that was with major effort. How much time do I really have to 'make up for' that and get a sufficient amount of protein and nutrition in my day? I find myself sitting here most nights thinking, "I shouldn't eat more than 40g protein at a time, but I need 3+ more meals today to get my protein in... well if I stay up till 2am maybe..."

I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I wish I could sit in on another body for awhile so I could come kick my butt in aggravation.

***

I don't tend to be real open about 'allowing vulnerability' with other people, as a general rule. Is this my "food and love" issue? If I were more a touchy-feely sort that fell in love monthly, instead of a nearly nun-like semi-loner, would I have these eating issues?

I guess I'll never know. I just wonder if they are related. Maybe a self-hypnosis regimen working on the opening-to-love issue would have some food side-effect if so.
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm...I know that when I first started low-carbing, after heavy-duty ketosis kicked in, my calories were very low. Later on, when I stalled, I found that increasing veggies actually helped me out, and certainly - going ahead and eating when really hungry (LC stuff I mean).

Why is it so hard? Hmm..the easy answer might be 'ketosis' and the more complicated answer is probably related to the 'food and love' issue.

Sara
PS - Have you ever read a book called "Fat is a Feminist Issue" ? I can't recall the author's name, but it was a very intriguing book. Read it years ago, so can't recall all the details, but it might be an interesting read.

Zer said...

Oh, I so resonate to not recognizing hunger or full or anything relating to what food-as-fuel is about.

I've got a copy of Fat Is A Feminist Issue - just out of reach on a bookshelf. Not sure if I've ever read it.

I often think it would be easier NOT to eat than to eat - as in figuring out what I want, what I'm willing to fix, what I'll get someone to buy for me. I simply am not interested in walking around a grocery store. I'll eat what's handy but I'll not make an effort to get food. If someone offers to bring food to me, I'll participate. If no one offers, I'll scrounge what I can. I do not feel as if what I eat matters. Can I eat myself slim? If it is possible, I suppose I'd be doing just that. I'm at about 414# (as of weighing a month ago) and am writing and thinking that I want to see 399# on the scales. At 63 and with a hinky hip, it's just too awful not to be mobile, to be in bed most of the time since sitting on a chair for any length of time is not comfy.

Oh, I'm babbling. Just nice to hear someone talk about food as an alien substance rather than as a necessary element to living. Thanks, PJ, for this!