Tuesday, February 9, 2010
OK, I’ve got to run this by you; can you relate? I was thinking about how I have this thing with food that’s really a stumbling block: I get downright panicky when I think there might not be enough food. Whenever I am going out, and I know I won’t be able to provide the proper kind of food that I need, I get in a panic. I often over-pack out of over-compensation; or if I know I’m going out and I won’t be near food for a while, I overeat before I go out, to guard against the dreaded fear: HUNGER! What is it that’s so terrifying to me? Why do I fear hunger so? It’s not going to kill me, I am not starving, why do I get so scared?
Lately, I’ve realized that I need to get more exercise, so I’ve been trying to commit to that. Usually, I would come home from work, tired, hungry, grumpy; but before heading out for my two-mile walk, I would stop to get a snack. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with telling myself, that it’s really more productive to eat after the exercise, and that my hunger is not going to hurt me; I won’t collapse; I can wait one more hour before I eat. And it’s been feeling really good to discipline that inner child that wants–what-she-wants-when-she-wants-it, and say, “No, you can wait. It’s OK, you’re going to be OK,” and know that it’s true. And I am finding I can wait, and it is OK.
Now excuse my armchair psychology here, but I really believe this off-kilter relationship with food started as an infant: they tell me I had severe colic, and that I cried, literally, for the first year of my life. (I know this is true, because so many people told me the same thing.) Now, as an adult I discovered that I have a sensitivity to dairy. My theory is that I had that sensitivity, or maybe intolerance for dairy then, and that drinking the bottle caused the colic, which set up this whole crazy love-hate relationship to food. I was hungry, so I would take the bottle, but then my tummy would hurt, so I would refuse it and scream for a while, and then no doubt, get panicky, because I wasn’t getting what I needed. Sort of like not getting enough air, we get pretty panicky when that happens! I imagine it was extremely stressful.
And here it is a lifetime later, and I still haven’t gotten it through my head, that it’s OK, I’m OK; I can provide what I need for myself. I can trust myself, I won’t let myself down, and I won’t fail. Why do I make food so much more important than it needs to be? Why can’t it be what it is: obviously very important, but not so important I have to be in a panic over it. What do you think?