I’ve Never “Forgotten” to Eat

toast-clock-1_6648My parents tease me that I was born hungry; that I always had food on the brain, even as a toddler.

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?

23 thoughts on “I’ve Never “Forgotten” to Eat

  1. I love this post. I watched the video MamaV posted on her site about forgetting to eat. She said when normal people are doing what they love and are passionate, food is the last thing on the mind. I remember wishing I could be like that, I never forget to eat. Which, maybe right now, is a good thing.

  2. My mom always “forgets” to eat… I’ve never ever been one to do that. I’m working on planning meals rather than being consumed (no pun intended) by Points/calories/carbs/whatever.

  3. I have never forgotten to eat. I am actually terrified of being really hungry, for some reason—and I have never, to my knowledge, truly gone hungry. It’s strange. I’m a Weight Watcher, but this concern about having “enough” was around before I joined.

  4. Liz, I always had food on the brain, pre-WW too … so weird since I was never starved or deprived as a child … it makes no sense!! It’s only been magnified on WW, however.

  5. Of course currently most of my day is consumed with thoughts of food, weight and exercise, though I am trying to eradicate that. The funny thing is both my older brother and younger sister often will forget to eat. My brother it gets so bad he loses track of time and will forget to eat for long periods. After moving out on his own, he lost 50 lbs or so in college. He became so thin that the doctor was worried he was becoming malnourished, and since then my parents have always questioned him on whether he’s eating. It’s not that he’s trying to lose weight — as my brother doesn’t even brush his hair in the morning — he just forgets about food because his mind is so busy with other things.

  6. Wow. I have been reading your blog on and off for roughly 2 weeks now. I have related myself in SOME way or another to each of your posts. This post however put me over the edge. I can relate to almost everything you said. I think it is so great that you have this blog and write about “disordered eating” because that is something I think many of us suffer from, myself included. I look forward to each of my pre-planned out meals every day, and I have to eat at certain times of the day. I also lost a lot of weight on weight watchers and am now struggling every day to maintain it. I know I don’t need to lose more weight, and yet I still have all of my weight watchers tendencies. Words can’t describe my constant struggle with “disordered eating.” Your comment about bringing your own food to thanksgiving dinner hits the nail on right on the head. I am the EXACT same way. Thank you for this blog! I look forward to reading more! πŸ™‚

  7. Hello Kristine, and thanks for joining us and reading — I love hearing about new readers πŸ™‚ Being constantly on the fringe of an eating disorder is the premise of Courtney Martin’s book I’ve been yapping about all week.

    Oh – and just to clarify, I won’t be bringing my own food for T-Day dinner — just apples and oatmeal and granola bars for breakfast/travel! πŸ™‚

  8. I think I have pretty “normal” eating (just mean that I’ve never had problems with disordered eating, not that there IS any official normal!), and I’ve never forgotten to eat for an entire day! I’ve had times where it’s 4pm, and I haven’t had lunch yet, but I’ve never gone more than a few hours past a normal mealtime before realizing that I’m hungry. I don’t do the preparations that you’re talking about like bringing food just in case I get hungry, but I also can’t imagine going a day without remember to eat, no matter what amazing thing I’m doing…I don’t think it’s weird that you haven’t either. But maybe I just really like food πŸ™‚

  9. Rebecca, it kind of irks me, too. I think I lead a very fun, exciting life and I still have never forgotten to eat … it just didn’t compute.

    Thanks for the reinforcement, Emily πŸ™‚ LOL — me, too!

  10. I’ve forgotten to eat for many reasons, sometimes because I wanted to :/, sometimes, i really just forgot, i wasn’t hungry.

    But in my anorexia years, I remember that I was always bringing something “SAFE” to eat with me, just in case… even if I wasn’t eating them. And even after anorexia, I was still worrying about food when I was going for a long trip.

    Now, most of the time, I like to don’t know what’s coming when I go on a trip. It’s like an adventure for me πŸ˜› I know i’ll always find something that i will feel enough comfortable eating, and if not, too bad, it’s only one time. I still bring snacks sometimes, because I have them at home and I just want to save money by bringing my own food.

  11. An adventure — that’s a good way of looking at it, Nikita. You’re right, we’ll always find something — even if it’s not the ideal food option. I also do those things to save money; I travel with apples and FiberOne bars so I don’t spend $3 on a packet of Snackwell’s vanilla cremes (yum!) at the airport.

  12. Too many times I’ve skipped meals purposely… but forget about eating? Never. After 6 years of anorexia, I’m finally at a healthy weight, but food and exercise are never-not on my mind. I would LOVE to be so casual about food.

    I wonder what it is, physiologically, that separates the people that “forget” and those that aren’t able to do so.

  13. Exactly, Maria– I wonder, too. I’m reading the 4-Day Win still (by Martha Beck — put it down for a while and am re-reading it) and it’s just not normal for everyone — even happy, busy people — to “forget” to eat any more so than it’s abnormal for us to remember; everyone’s wired differently.

    She talks a lot about the Watcher mentality — which I’ll share more about next week — stepping outside yourself to see what is really going on, during a binge, moment of hunger, etc.

  14. I’m glad you mentioned the book and the fact that it’s just not normal for “normal” people to forget to eat. That makes me feel a LOT better. I am almost 40 (eek next month!) and have NEVER forgotten to eat or missed a meal.
    I’ve only missed a meal when I was sick and even then I’ve wrung my hands about it. I just assumed I was weird, I guess. I’m in the normal weight range but I am a little obsessed with eating..but perhaps not?
    Anyway, thanks for writing about this subject.

  15. Thanks, Melissa! Yea, I just think there is no real “normal.’ Like this week, I’ve been really unfocused on food — sticking (easily) to 23 pts a day with exercise and not feeling deprived at all. This week, it’s been easy and I’ve not been obsessive. But next week, who knows?! I think it’s a day-by-day, case-by-case thing. And there is no right or wrong. I mean, it’s not any better to “forget” to eat every day than it is to over-eat every day, right?!

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