Even now, friends tease I have an oral fixation; something has to be in or on my mouth at all times: lipgloss, gum, water, ice, Diet Coke, tea. It’s getting better, but the truth is, I still think about food a lot. Not always … but a lot.
And while I admittedly wasn’t always obsessed with food the way I have been since starting Weight Watchers nearly five years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever, in 29 years, “forgotten” to eat.
I’ve met people, read about people, heard about people … people who admit that food is the furthest thing on their minds — and these aren’t people necessarily with eating disorders; they are people who eat to live; not live to eat. These are people who are so caught up in what they’re doing that they “forget to eat.”
Well, I’m not one of those people.
I have fasted most years since my Bat-Mitzvah on Yom Kippur, and I can deliberately skip a meal if I know I’m having a big lunch or dinner. But I honestly can’t think of a time when I’ve genuinely “forgotten” to eat.
Even in New York on September 11, I wasn’t in the mood to eat,but we all did.
In Chicago for the blogger meet-and-greet, we talked with Mama V about the concept of “forgetting to eat.” She was surprised to hear many of us Weight Watchers followers admitting that we couldn’t recall losing sight of a meal.
Sure, on vacations, I might have been so entranced by being away, wandering around museums or parks in a new place or foreign country that hours passed before I ate; or been reading a book for hours and not noticed a rumbling tummy … but I really can’t recall a time when the day went by and I hadn’t eaten or thought about food.
And I think I live a pretty fulfilling life, between my personal life and my career, I’m rarely bored. Especially now that blogging has been added to the mix.
Usually there’s a “just in case” apple or 2-pt serving of almonds in my bag. Predicting hunger … is that healthy, or obsessive? I don’t know anymore.
Anyway, MamaV did a video post on You Tube where she mentions this discussion we’d had, and I thought I’d share the link here. (She doesn’t mention me or my friends by name, but it’s us and some others at the table to which she’s referring).
She talks about her belief that eating disorders and disordered eating are one and the same, and brings up the notion that with a program like Weight Watchers, we often become obsessed with food and eating that we don’t know what “normal” is. Most of us admitted we’ve never “forgotten” to eat. We’ve become programmed in a way.
I have to concur with her; I think my hunger queues were much better pre-Weight Watchers. I probably didn’t eat three squares a day and I never worried about snacks. I just … I don’t know, I ate..
I didn’t think about it much, for better or for worse. Sure, I didn’t know what or how much I ought to be eating, per se, but I sure as hell didn’t eat “defensively” (eating a healthy snack before a party) or pack food to go out for the day as though there’d be a famine.
For some people, and even for me in the beginning, this was just smart planning –being prepared, like a Girl Scout. It helped me learn to live within my Points, and also to balance my meals so I wouldn’t be too hungry in between.
But “being prepared” also assumes that no food will be available, and that’s simply not true. In fact, this almost makes me re-think my Turkey Day plans of bringing some of “my food” (oatmeal packets, apples, FiberOne bars “just in case”).
My aunt and uncle, I’m sure, will have plenty of good food. But then there’s the internal battle: will they have the same healthy options? (I’m quite picky). Will I end up wasting Points on things I simply don’t want because it’s all that’s available?
These things, however irrational they may appear, make someone like me anxious … and to avoid that, I’ve always just brought certain food items with me when I travel. For me, it’s a defensive measure that has never really failed me.
I would honestly love to be one of those people who doesn’t think about food, doesn’t worry about vacations or road-trips. I hope to get there someday, really — I do.
Until then, I’m taking it one day at a time, one experience at a time.
How about you? Have you ever forgotten to eat? How much of your day is consumed by thoughts about food?