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?


  1. um, I used to be the same way...I didn't like being hungry, and I would eat all the time. I don't do that anymore. I also exercise all.the.time.
    Good luck on your new weight loss journey.

  2. Changing those mindsets takes time. Have some patience with yourself.

    When you're obsessing on food one way or another, try distracting yourself for awhile. It can help to just divert that brain power elsewhere.

  3. i am working hard on this one too. i fear/don't like being hungry. i am slowly learning to trust that i will not keel over and die if i'm hungry for a little while. if i wait too long (ha! as if that happens) i do get lightheaded/headachy, but as my awareness is growing and i'm tuning in more to my body, i realize that hunger is not such a bad thing. it's a hard thing to get used to, but i'm sure you can do it!

  4. Right. I'm not advocating starving myself, obviously when we're hungry, we need to feed ourselves; besides, waiting too long can cause me to binge if I allow myself to get to that famished point. But experts say that when we're hungry is when we are actually burning fat, so obviously we want to allow ourselves to feel hungry sometimes. I want to get to the point that where I can be hungry for a little while, and have it not totally freak me out. Thanks for the comments and support.