My issues with food were going well until they weren’t. It’s insidious, this disease. It starts off with a skipped meal, usually breakfast, because I’m busy. Too busy to bother. A diet-coke to help me make it to lunch. The small shot of caffeine is enough to give me energy to read later than usual, so I stay up late. I have to wake up at the same early hour, though, so I drink two diet cokes and make it past lunch. Those diet cokes mean I can stay up even later, and by the time a week has passed, I’m drinking iced coffees throughout the day to stay awake. I’m not hungry until dinner–which secretly thrills me–but by then I’m famished. Eating dinner flips a switch. Soon, I’m ravenous–though I’m pretty sure it’s false hunger. I read to keep my mind off the hunger and stay up even later.
And so on, and so on, and so on.
I get to the point where I have so much caffeine and artificial sweetener coursing through my veins that I don’t know what I want or whether I’m hungry. Everything tastes false. I puff up heavy and soft, a fluid-filled sac of sodium and discontent. My skin feels tight when I flex my fingers.
This can go on for weeks until I swing the other way and indulge my cravings, cravings I’m unable to ascertain most of the time. I don’t know what I want. Nothing sounds good. Everything sounds good.
I’m in a better place right now, as impossible as that sounds. I’ve been skipping meals for the last few days, but this time I’m cognizant of the subterfuge my mind attempts on my body. I know what I am doing, but I feel like a cadet surrounded by an elite militia. It seems hopeless. I read the story of David and Goliath to remember it isn’t.
I drank a diet coke yesterday, but not the coffee I wanted at 3:00pm. I drank water, several glasses, and sat and wondered what to do.
Helpless and clueless, I did the only thing I could think of. I made my breakfast and put it in the refrigerator so that in the morning I have no reason to skip my first meal. All I can do is take it one meal at a time, one day at a time.
I’m doing many things right. I go to meetings. I talk to other emotional eaters, though not as many as I should. I journal, but I could do better. I could read more program literature, I suppose. I need to meditate and pray. But I do a little bit of all of it, enough for me to know I’m walking a thin line. Enough for me to remain somewhat sane when my friend shares she lost 30 pounds in two months.
I’m happy for her, truly. But I’m so tempted to do what she is doing. I want the quick fix. I want someone to tell me to take this pill, inject this chemical, eat this root harvested by elves wearing striped stockings. I would do it all, any of it and gladly, if only I didn’t know my success would be fleeting. I hope her success is lifelong.
Along with from the small areas of improvement I mentioned above, I wonder what I should eat. I was doing fine with my meal plan until the other day, when I read an article in a magazine about intuitive eating. It was all my mind needed. Within minutes I had myself convinced that my strict meal plan was preposterous and that I could eat a little of whatever I wanted. What a shame that what I eat has little to do with what I want, at least not physically.
Since then, I’ve been doing research on intuitive eating. I found many practitioners and proponents, all with wonderful and inspiring messages. I own many of their books. The thing is, that’s all I found. In all my research, I never did find an individual who successfully repaired their broken intuition eating a little of everything they wanted. At least not an intuition as broken as mine. I found people with hope and acceptance, but that’s not enough for me. I want it all.
I want hope and acceptance and results. That is the only true craving I recognize.