Monday, May 4, 2009

Fear of Food

I'm a very fearful person. i'm afraid of the dark, afraid of driving at night, afraid to try new things. As a child, i thought Hitler was hiding in the closet. seriously. i didn't want to go to school because i feared Hitler would take my mother while i was gone.

these days -- i'm afraid of food and weight gain.

traveling with my brother, we'd go to these serious restaurants, where i was confronted with vast menus and hours of eating. my heart raced through each experience. i'd talk to myself and talk to myself and talk to myself, but i still worried through eat moment.

of course, it's about fear of weight gain. i've gained some weight lately, and i can picture the scale inching (leaping) up and up and up -- my body exploding into layers and layers of folds of fat.

when my boyfriend tells me i'm beautiful, my first thought is "but i've gained five pounds". how will he feel if i put on another five and another five and another five? when will i see those square hips, big thighs, round belly and jumbo boobs?

all morning, i've been stewing about weighing more than i have in two years. i couldn't wait for everyone to go to lunch, so i could write this blog and get it off my chest and be in a space where others understand.

notice, i did not go to lunch with the gang. how could i -- i've gained five pounds. and weigh two ounces more than i have in two years.

writing out the way my brain works is informative, indeed. it's rotten to think the way i do.

this weekend, my boyfriend and i had friends over. since money's an issue, we planned to go to the all-you-can -eat Chinese buffet. usually, i'm okay with the place, but because my weight is up and i'm feeling out of control, i was fairly terrified to go.

our friends were exhausted and at the last minute, decided to re-schedule. when told us, i finally let my breath out. i could stay home and eat salad. (they're also sober. when they canceled, i thought, "woo hoo, i can drink wine". alcohol consumption is a whole other conversation.)

i know i've gained some weight because i'm staying at my boyfriend's more often. he has lots of delicious food at his house, and we eat and eat together. it's fun. we hang out in the kitchen. he likes to eat standing up and i sit, and we chat and graze and chat and graze.

all this "grazing" is fine for him. he's a big guy. i, on the other hand, worry about the effects on my body the whole time we're eating. in the back of my head, i hear "stop, stop. get away from the food. put that salad dressing down. get away from the mayonnaise. drop that second helping, immediatedly."

i'll plan to stay at my apartment, where i have diet coke, coke zero, seltzer and wine. i can get a half turkey sandwich with mustard and make a nice salad with balsamic vinegar. ah, what the scale will say tomorrow. ta da.

lately, that hasn't worked out. it's nicer at my boyfriends. he's a lot cozier to sleep with than my pillow. and i like to chat and graze and chat and graze. or i make him watch Dancing with the Stars and American Idol and we eat and comment through the shows. (he's a good egg!)

granted, i'm still eating lots of salads and trying to watch my choices, but i really don't feel like restricting.

how i wish i could stay off the scale. how i wish i could go out to lunch with my co-workers, even if i've gained a few. (when i'm down five pounds, i WILL join them. what a strange barometer for life choices.) how i wish food weren't so scarey, interesting, important....

i'm working on it. very hard.


  1. It sounds like you're getting closer to your boyfriend! That's way more important than a couple ounces on a scale. It's ok to avoid a lunch outing here and there. I try to balance pushing myself with preventing a breakdown. It's a hard balance. You can join them another time. Have you thought about giving up the scale? I know it's hard...but I think it feels better to not know. It forces you to feel out your body more. I'm right there with you on wishing food wasn't so scary and so damn important. I envy people who seem to place no moral value on food. I want to be that way again.

  2. The dialogue that you hear in your head at your boyfriend's house is eerily similar to the one I hear, almost word-for-word. I think it's fine to avoid some lunch outings, but maybe you should push yourself to go out with them.

  3. When I visit with my boyfriend any "normal" eating goes out the window. Since we started going long-distance, it's been even more pronounced. Somehow eating with him is "safe."

  4. I am quite sure that when your boyfriend says that you are beautiful, he doesn't even notice that five pounds. Sad that it is such a huge issue for us, though.

    We notice. It bothers us terribly.

    So awful that it rules your life and your choices, but I can't think of anything to say to make it better... We need Linda, she always has the most amazing insights.

    I do hope you find your peace, and that you somehow find your balance, my friend. Know that you are among friends here, and no one judges you. we are all in the same boat. It goes much, much deeper than numbers on a scale, or that extra tablespoon of mayo.

    Somehow, though, knowing that doesn't make the cure... I wish it did. I get into my self destructive cycles, even when I'm at my most content, it seems.

  5. I have put on weight recently. Well, not recently. It has crept up. Doesn't matter that most of it is muscle - enough of it is fat and that freaks me out. I feel heavy. In my head I have been going over what I ate over the past few weeks to have caused this and it is because I picked and grazed (chocolate mmmm).

    Having fallen off the wagon I am back at thinking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of what goes in my mouth. It shits me but I cannot stop it because, in my mind, going back to being fat disgusts me and would show me and the world what a complete failure I am.

    If people knew what went on in my head about my body and what I think of it they would be astonished. Despite the fact I look fine, I feel like a roly poly lump.

    Once I drop a couple of kilograms I will be settled. Until then I have to go through the guilty grind. At least I am just watching my eating as opposed to consuming laxettes or sticking my fingers down my throat. Those two thoughts are not even in my mind these days.

    In fact, thinking about it, all I am doing is just watching what I eat. Thoughtful and considerate to my body. However, I cannot do that without thinking "why the fuck do I have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life just to keep healthy and slim". Because the fact is, we all have to and it just shows to me that children should be taught about healthy eating right from the start so that it is not an issue. No good or bad food, just aim for healthy and fit. Stop attaching emotion and self worth to it.

    You know Lissy, it is not bad to think about what goes in your mouth. That is just being mindful. What is a hard habit to break is the guilt that goes with all of that. Weight will go up and down and in the end you just go with the flow. I go up a bit, then knuckle down and eat properly. Call it random caving in and then getting back on track. Not good, not bad, just human.

    Enjoy your time with your boyfriend, maybe go for a walk together, get him to support your food choices and help him understand how important it is emotionally to you not to eat too much. Indulge now and then. Don't be too hard on yourself. The fact is, you have been in the badlands years ago and they hang like spectres around you to keep you on your toes.

    Sigh. No amazing insights from me today!

    Just a mighty long post from someone having a few fat days in a row.

  6. kim; my boyfriend and i have really gotten close. it's wonderful.

    a part of me would love to give up the scale, but i gain weight SO quickly. i worry that i'll gain gobs of weight if i don't monitor it. so much work....

    tina: imagine life without the voices? that must be living!

    my therapist suggested i practise mindful eating. no thanks -- i want to focus less on the food and eating experience.

    lisa: i love eating with my boyfriend. he's a cute eater -- he thinks food is fun. jello is his favorite food because it wiggles around. how can you not love eating with the guy?

    karen; yes, yes and yes. i agree with everything you say. i'm working so hard on accepting this higher weight (into the 130s). but, of course, i don't want to gain more. ugh. hope YOU'RE well!

    linda; that was SO insightful. you're right about everything

    sounds like you're dealing in a healthy way, but isn't it a drag how much we think about it? on tuesday, i told my therapist that i'd be perfectly happy if i weighed three pounds less. seriously. i was all on edge and miserable, because i hit 130. three pounds less would have been terrific.