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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Confession of an Overeater

Sauteed Greens topped with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg


I love food. I mean I really really love food. My tastebud is non-discrimatory—it likes Malaysian, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Italian, French, and yes, American too. I eat when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am busy, and when I am bored. Food gives me pleasure like no other. I would spend most of my waking moment either thinking about it or enjoying it. Obviously, it shows. Literally.

While it is all good right now, I am not getting any younger. My love for food could cost my health, my relationship, my life. So, I need to reevaluate my relationship with food. I know I can never feel guilty about eating, but I now try to be mindful of what I am eating. This is easier said than done. Duh…

When I started to be mindful of what I am eating, I realized just how out of control my eating habit was. I had to have food all the time. I had breakfast at 8am, a snack (or you can call it a second breakfast) at 10am, lunch at noon or 1pm, snack at 3pm, another snack before or while preparing dinner, actual dinner at 6pm or 7pm, and another snack or two after dinner. I never had a break from eating. It made me cranky, and I mean the Incredible Hulk level cranky, when I don’t have food for an extended time. It scared the shit out of me—and everyone else too. I am a full-grown woman, not a two-year old toddler, why couldn’t I hold my food a little longer?

So, I discussed about my incontrollable appetite with my doctor in my last annual visit. I was hopping she would prescribe me an appetite suppressant, but of course not. She didn’t want to prescribe anything unless she knows my eating habit. She wanted me to see her every month with my food journal first. Every month is too much, so I decided to see her only every other month.

After two visits, she still hasn’t prescribed me any appetite-suprressant, instead she told me to eat at least 4 cups of vegetables and 3 cups of fruits every day (on top of cutting cutting carbs and fried foods). You might be saying “I could have told you that.” Yup. Exactly what I thought too. She also suggested that I prepare a lot vegetable soups and cut-up vegetables; so if I ever feel hungry outside of the regular mealtime, I could just eat those. For someone whose definition of “healthy snacks” include Chocolate Biscotti or Granola Bar, subbing them with carrot sticks is very hard. It is not impossible. Just very very hard.

For the past couple of months, I tried to control my snacking habit. For instance, I would eat fruits instead of sugary processed food from the vending machine. Instead of shoving my hand in the cereal box when the afternoon hunger pang strikes, I reluctantly grab some carrot sticks. To make the carrot sticks more palatable, I  would wrapped them with anchovies and cheese, or dipped them in Ranch dressing. I know it’s not that healthy with the dips, but I do try to limit the dips as little as possible. And you have to admit, carrots with Ranch dressing are still much better than cookies and candy bars (which I try to limit to once a week now, if possible).

Now that I have my snacking somewhat under control, I will try to tackle regular meals next. I have a problem with portion control, namely that my hunger receptor is totally screwed up. Last Friday I ate one half of a pie at one seating. While rationally, I know that I am filled or full, my irrational side doesn’t seem satisfied until I am way over stuffed. And currently, this irrational side holds the reigns over me. So, what you would call filled, I call it hunger; what you would call slight hunger is what I call gimme-ice-cream-right-now-or-I-will-kill-you. I realize that I don’t know what real hunger is—the non-pyschological version of real hunger—my body is telling me that I am starving when I actually have a lot of stored energy (in form of fat cells all over my body)—how can I believe my own self? So, right now I am in the process of recalibrating my messed-up hunger receptor. It will be a long journey, but I know it will help me to enjoy the food that I love without it killing me.

This is not a goodbye. This is a celebration. Instead of being the drugs to my addition, I will respect the food that I eat. I will eat better. For me, and for the world.

___________________

p.s. While I haven’t been active here, I have been posting a lot on tumblr. It is a snarky fitness blog, documenting my daily workouts and rants about exercising and clean eating. If you are interested to follow, please check it out at http://thesilverliningssaga.tumblr.com. A word of warning: it is raw, not thought-out, and plain boring most of the time. But, if you have a tumblr—especially fitness tumblr—please let me know too. Hopefully we can motivate each other, even in a self-deprecating way.

2 comments:

  1. Admittedly I have never had a problem with overeating, but you're right: we're getting older and it's not easy. Sometimes even if I eat the wrong thing I feel horrible the next day. I would consider myself overly-sensitive to what is good and bad for me, and ever since I developed this thyroid problem, sodium is my enemy, as is sugar. I ate salty (low-fat chicken minimally-processed) sausages yesterday and today I feel like a shell of a person. It's not fun. Too much sugar instantly gives me a headache. I'm really glad you're putting your health first, because very few people are willing to try. You'll get better and better. And carrots are gross, what about pea pods, peaches or tiny tomatoes?

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    1. The only sensitivities that I have is towards carbonated drinks. It gives me gas. Other than that I can consume almost anything. While other people can listen to their body on when to stop eating and what to eat, I have to make a conscious effort to do that. It’s actually not that easy. It’s like you have parent-child relationship with yourself. The “parent” side has to tell the “child” side to stop. And the “child” side wants to rebel and mad at the “parent” side. And both of them are in me. It can be pretty exhausting, but I am still trying.

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