Friday, January 2, 2009

Mouth Hunger

I still watch the scale, and when it's 127, i'm happy. at 128, i get nervous. anything more than that, i have to talk myself down. give myself the little speech, "you're more than a number. be comfortable in and grateful for the body you have, any woman can be beautiful at any size. you're only TWO pounds more than you want to be." blah blah. blah blah. blah blah.

At 127, i jump off the scale happy. no self-talk ensues. i'm good for the day. until mouth hunger hits.

i still battle mouth hunger, especially now that i'm not drinking. i went out with a friend to hang out at a bar tonight. i know this isn't the best place for me, but it's fun to be out on a friday, i like the conviviality of this specific place, people we know hang out there, BUT i'm not going for a while. all those beautiful wines in perfect wine glasses -- all the fancy-freeness HURT. i drank so much seltzer and juice and seltzer with juice and diet soda and coffee -- i spent far more time peeing than with my friend.

all the liquids i jugged replaced the wine that i sipped, so i wouldn't and didn't eat.

now that i'm not drinking, i'm awfully interested in food. i hate this. lots of mouth hunger.

what exactly IS mouth hunger? i'm coming from two places right now. one, i want food when i'm vaguely bored or uncomfortable or nervous, angry, tired (and when hungry too, by the way!) wine helped with the emotional issues. i'm currently in full control of all my faculties and very aware of everything i'm feeling, thinking, et. al. enough pie (yesterday at darius' parents) distracted me for a while.

yet, i was pretty happy at the parents -- i like them very much. at first it wasn't easy, but it never is in the first minutes. his parents speak minimal english (enter a cold chardonnay) and there is SO much food it can be a little threatening. also, it's usually all occurring around 5 pm, a time i'd rarely eat a (big) dinner. (enter a deep cabernet)

after we chat and relax enough, conversation gets easier-- we find some odd mix of ukranian and english that gets understandable, somehow. usually, his father tells me fascinating stories about Ukraine during the Nazis and then communism, and he shares his experiences of coming to the US with nothing but two babies and a young wife. i could listen forever.

this brings to me my second thoughts about the definition of mouth hunger - am i eating seconds on cheesecake and cookies out of emotion, habit or simply because they taste good?

if you've ever read Overcoming Overeating or been to a group lead by Carol Munter and Jane Hirschman, you know they talk about eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full. i found their approach really helpful here -- sorting out real hunger from mouth hunger.

Munter and Hirshman disagree with that old belief that sugar begets sugar and carbs beget carbs -- maybe you can just eat one potato chip.

and maybe that's true, but find me the kid who doesn't overdue chocolate but eats celery sticks until he's sick. still looking?

sometimes, i think we overeat, because it tastes good. is that a problem? seriously, is it?

i've spent sooooo much time trying to get in touch with hungry and full and determining when i need food and when i just want it because i'm bored. now, i freak out if i eat extra anything, even lettuce, when i know i was already full.

it's all too complicated. there are cooking shows everywhere displaying eating for taste and with gusto. very confusing to me. i'm going back to bed with a big glass of seltzer. hope it doesn't make me pea all night.


  1. Hey!,
    I have NO idea why, but I cant find that little button that most blogs contain that says "email me"...
    But I just stumbled upon your blog and read your profile and am feeling like I may have FINALLY found someone with simalir experiences to my own. I was also put on my first "diet" at 6 months old (you didnt, by chance, grow up in Los Angeles, did you? I would love to slap a lawsuit on that doctor...). I have been morbidly obese (367 lbs), bulimic, anorexic, etc. Im mostly in recovery now... working as a therapist in other areas but doing eating disorder research and some other things, but am still searching for this normalcy/comfort/understanding with food that I cant seem to find.
    Anyway, I am excited to find you blog and would love to chat.
    Peace, Love and Revolution,

  2. Food is my big craving at the moment too...

    Try not to be too hard on yourself... you're trying to stop drinking, taking sleeping pills, and tackling ED issues all at once... that's really tough going. It's hard enough to do one at once... if your weight slides upwards while you concentrate on the other things that's not a failure. I know the fear of having replaced one thing for eating addiction though, so I realise you can't just tell yourself it's okay. xxxx Take it easy!

  3. All that water drinking must be helping somewhat, as is the disappearance of empty calories from the wine.

    Just drink water with a slice of lemon, stay away from selzers. That water with lemon will sort out your PH levels, and you will start to feel better. Besides, no calories there, and just a smidge of vitamin C to keep the docs away. I always felt so good when I drank lemon water. I'm going to have to keep doing that. I also lost a bit of weight when I did. It replaced a lot of snacks. I just didn't crave them when I drank it. Not a whole lot goes with Lemon, you see.

    Good luck, sweetie. I know things are tough, one torture replaces another, it sucks. But you'll make it. You are made of stronger stuff than those pills, that wine, and the food all combined.

    BTW, I am on day two of the patch. If I get through today without a cig I'll be ok, I think.

  4. I can agree with you on the scale thing, which is better than I used to be (no number was good) I'm shocked to know that I'm 12lbs lighter than when I came out of the hospital, because I'm eating well, haven't relapsed, and communicating my emotions. Yet, getting on the scale once or twice a month, and seeing an actually low number, does not trigger me to want to loose weight. I think this is acceptance, something I've wanted so bad.

    "out of emotion, habit or simply because they taste good?" How I can relate to that, especially right out of the hospital, I wanted to know, be fixed, so I could eat "perfectly" and not mess up. Messing up meant I was a failure, and deserved punishment.

    It's great that you could go out and enjoy yourself, even if you were tinkling a lot lol. The biggest help to me to break away from questioning my hunger, was keeping my mind busy with activities. At first it was difficult due to my depression, but just as long if you pick yourself back up you ultimately gain more strength. Take your time, recovery is purely your own, as crazy as it sounds I try to enjoy it, because recovery to me is living my life.

  5. This is a touchy issue. Our society makes overeating sound so evil, but, seriously, what is the problem with enjoying food? Right now, you are giving up drinking, and, in my personal opinion, if there is a substitute for now, that's ok. The more you overthink it, the more it WILL become a problem. I would assume most people overeat when they quit drinking. My fiance sure did. But, he's back to "normal" now. I would try to take it easy on yourself, as you're going through a big transition. Also, I've been meaning to ask you -- have you read "Dry" by Augusten Burroughs. The humor and the topic seem right up your alley!

  6. twisted barbie; welcome to the blog. it IS nice to find kindred spirits. i'd like to get the doctor who gave me amphetamines at 12. glad to hear you're in recovery. i hope you've found some peace -- that's what i've always wanted. and i love the idea of the revolution. can't wait to read more of your blog. hope you don't mind that i talk about all my addictions, not just food. but that IS where it all began -- the mother of all my disorders. thanks for writing!!

    abi; in my substance abuse recovery group, many members stopped eating while they were drinking heavily or using drugs. many NEED to start eating. lots "use" food in the beginning and most gain a fair amount of weight. this terrifies me! yes, i should allow myself a little slack around food and accept that EVERYONE gains weight when they give up substances. but NO THANK YOU. thank YOU for understanding. i'm doing pretty well. but "hi", when does it get easier?

    karen: CONGRATULATIONS. keep up the great work. i KNOW it sucks. it's wonderful that you're using the patch. your lungs are thanking you as we speak. are you cranky and miserable (hope not, but i love commiserating.) if you're not, it's a miracle. no matter, you're doing a great, great thing for yourself.

    thank you for the lemonsuggestion. i'm going to try it tonight. we're having my nephew over for dinner and a movie. i'll sip and pee and sip and pee...

    sarah; what a great point -- enjoying recovery. i really feel so much better than i did. drinking a lot was pushing all my emotions down to a place, where they brewed and festered until they made me really miserable. and i drank more. this is a lot better. and yes, i do need to get busy. i'm going to sign-up for a writing class, i've got group therapy two evenings, and my friend insists i go to AA with her. all that's really good.

    i love DRY. i've read it a million times. augusten burroughs is wonderful. thank you for the perfect suggestion. maybe i'll read it again. and it IS normal to gain weight during this time -- i'm just not the best candidate for normal weight gain. acceptance is not easy, but i find i'm getting there.

  7. I'm so proud of you that you are pushing forward and signing up for that writing class. That's wonderful. Doing something productive to replace something destructive is truly a wonderful thing.

    No, I'm not miserable, the patch is great, it keeps me full of nicotine so I can get over the habitual side first. I miss it, I"d love to have a cigarette, but I'm better off without it. I have more energy, and my heart isn't palpitating like it was. I only smoked again for a month, so I think it was easier this time. It was rough at work today, as people kept jumping out for a cig, and I couldn't, but I was busy, so it didn't matter. Now give me a day where I'm sitting for hours, and I might tell you a different story! So far so good, but i DO miss it. Holy shit, my verification word was "chembann"

  8. hey chembann: i hope you stay very, very busy at work, so you'll never miss those cig breaks. that is a hard time -- when everyone else is smoking (or drinking.) hope those desires calm down -- for both us. glad your heart isn't palpitating! when do you go down to the culinary school. do you watch Top Chef? i'm recovering from multiple EDs, i don't like to cook at all, but i LOVE that show.