I’ve been at it again. Staying up past 1am reading when I should be sleeping. Each morning this week I stumbled out of bed around 7:30, the rapscallions having long since uncovered and renounced all stall tactics. Each morning this week I determined never to go to bed so late again. Each morning this week came far too soon.
I didn’t really feel it until today. Today I am tired. I woke up unable to wake up, so I have slugged my way through most of the day. Projects remain incomplete, clothes continue to collect dust in laundry baskets, and I did not make the bed. And I always make the bed.
To make matters worse, I seem to have acquired a hollow leg during the night. Despite my late breakfast and early lunch, I could bring down a grizzly bear with nothing more than a butter knife and a George Foreman grill. Following that, I have fantasies of eating my way through my favorite local bakery wearing only my newly acquired bear pelt and a bib.
I studied eating disorders in college, and yet somehow managed to acquire disordered eating habits. I’ve heard and read a lot on the subject, and one of the most frequent issues under discussion are the triggers that cause one to engage in disordered eating. There are any number of specific triggers, but Jorjana and my nutritionist both reminded me of a mnemonic device that I should recall every time I feel the urge to eat something I shouldn’t–like grizzly bears and bread pudding.
Having memorized so many mnemonics for law school, I tend to roll my eyes and shudder when I hear a new one. I did just that when I heard this one, but I was (and am) ready to lose weight, so when two people tell me on two occasions to “H.A.L.T.” before I eat something I shouldn’t and first consider if I am hungry, anxious, lonely, or tired, I take that as a sign for me judge less and listen more.
So I filed it under “things that might be lame but you never know” and never thought of it again. Until today, when I stood in front of the open refrigerator and imagined all the delectable things I could be eating if I wasn’t dieting. This, after eating a filling lunch of salad and leftover frittata. I slammed the refrigerator door in frustration and thought about it. Why am I hungry? I just ate lunch, and, three hours before, breakfast. I shouldn’t be hungry, but I am. Then my subconscious took over like the secretary to a hapless executive and out of the file cabinet I pulled out H.A.L.T. As was my experience with every other mnemonic I learned in law school, I couldn’t remember what most of the letters meant except the last one, tired, which is exactly the letter I need to remember.
Tired. I am hungry because I am tired. I am not hungry; I am tired. And just like that, I was no longer hungry. It was as if I was under the spell of a hypnotist who suddenly snapped her fingers, party trick over. Once the reason for my hunger became clear, once it was obvious that my body was searching for stimulation to keep my eyes open, I was no longer hungry.
And then I discovered that writing can keep your eyes open as effectively as hunting grizzly bears and bread pudding.