no. (roses_rejoice) wrote,

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Hunger Girl.

Diets all say, "Eat only when you're hungry." This is a farce. Okay, maybe it's only half a farce. There are some people who get fat because they eat all the time, compulsively, like drunks drink. I would imagine once you get past 300 or 350 lbs you're in Mr. Compulsive's neighborhood, because it's hard to get there by consuming a relatively "normal" amount of food daily, but wotever. If you listen to some of those people talk you'd think they were stuffing one Lean Cuisine a day in their face and the Fat Fairy was bewitching pounds on 'em every nite as they slept.

but's still a farce. If I want to lose weight I have to eat when I'm not hungry. I have to make myself run out and buy veggies at 12 pm even when I don't want them, because there won't be any later, and then I have to make myself eat them at 3 or 4 pm when I'm not hungry or not particularly. Because the reason I am fat in the first place is I would go for most of a whole day without much food and then eat something like a half bag of potato chips, which calorically may not be all that much for a day if you're not eating Other stuff, but which wreaked Havoc on my food processing interior units to the point where stuff quite simply stopped working right.

In high school, I was between 15 and 25 pounds overweight. I'm not sure how much because our bathroom scales never worked right and because I was still growing into my body. The pictures from those days show a slightly chubby-curvy round-faced person whose hair was always a mess and whose socks would never stay up and whose blouse was always half out of her skirt because the skirt was likely too big and I didn't and don't have the kind of un-jiggly body that goes good with blouses and skirts.

I thought I was way too fat, of course. The teen beauty mags and Bonnie Bell weight-reduction books told me so. I remember one book that had little connect-the-dots for your measurements, so you could see "your figure silhouette". I drew mine and it looked like a snowman with a wider belly than anything else. Even in my brainwashed state, I realized that whoever made that exercise up was on crack, because when I looked at myself in the mirror, I had a belly (same one I have now only smaller)but I wasn't snowman-shaped. My bust and hips measured bigger than my middle, and I curved. A lot. Dead Guy used to grab me there and call it "The Great Curve" after the Talking Heads song.

But anyway, I was 16 and weighed probably 130-something and thought I was disgustingly fat and wanted to lose it. So I tried to do what the books said. I dieted. Every day I ate pretty much the same thing. Breakfast was at about 7 am and was either a small bowl of cereal without sugar (although most if not all cereal is full of sugar as an ingredient even if not presweetened, so I coulda just put sugar, it was a moot point, but I didn't know that then) and possibly with fruit. If I was in a hurry, breakfast would be even smaller: two pieces of cinnamon toast.

Lunch was the same almost every day too. Forget buying lunch at the cafeteria: the lunch ladies were so hateful they made the Soup Nazi look sweet, the food was utter slop, and it took 20 minutes of your 30-minute lunch period just to get thru the line. I bagged it, like many if not most. Every day I took 1/2 a sandwich, generally baloney but sometimes other lunchmeat, with a little margarine, and no more than 2 pieces of meat. I have always hated thick sandwiches and most condiments on sandwiches; don't ever take me to eat at a deli. And I took an apple. This, a half a skinny sandwich and an apple, along with a can of diet pop from the machine, was my lunch. I would eat it at 11:30 am because by then I was always starving. Then I had almost nothing to eat till dinner. Occasionally I'd have a snack of one or two Tootsie Pops because they were always on sale in the bookstore. We had no snack machines, just one pop machine, and candy except for Tootsie Pops was only sold during certain hours in the bookstore because they didn't want us eating on the sly in class or some such rot. (The lollipops were OKed for sale only because we couldn't hide the stick so the teacher would see we were eating and demerit us.) I didn't feel like I should be eating candy anyway, since I was Too Fat, and I often didn't have a spare quarter or 35 cents or whatever it was (the Tootsie Pops were about a dime cheaper I recall). So I had few or no snacks.

I was hungry all the time.

Starving, actually. Not only was I consuming little food, but what I was eating was mostly bread products or processed meat. I now know that, possibly due to a food allergy, certain foods like bread and baloney cause the same reaction in my stomach that Chinese food with MSG causes in some people. Eating it makes me very hungry. Eating more of it in response to hunger just makes it worse. It took me many years to realize this and only sunk in when I found myself, one Saturday in my twenties, on my fourth or fifth baloney sandwich and realized this was an abnormal pattern for She-Who-Was-Afraid-to-Eat. Around the same time I had read some book about a woman with a gluten allergy that caused sandwich addiction, and the light went on in my (mostly empty in those days) icebox. Since then I have avoided bread and sandwiches most days, and am frustrated by how freaking pervasive they are for lunch.

In those days, school let out at around 3:30, but I almost always had some extracurricular activity meeting or volunteer job after school (never a paying job and never anything around food, unlike many of my peers who were waitresses or Mickey D's slaves). So I usually didn't get home till 5:30 or 6 pm. If you think this was "just in time for dinner" guess again. My dad had these weird napping and newswatching habits. Dinner revolved around him and when he felt like ingesting it. Many nights that was more like 8 o'clock, after John Chancellor had betaken himself hence. At that point I had gone without food, usually, for approximately 8 or 9 hours which is, for someone with my blood sugar, WAY too damn long, especially with the cereal and bread and baloney screwing me up. It also does not help your metab to eat a big meal that late in the evening. To this day, I hate eating late at night.

If I somehow got home early and tried to have something before dinner, and my mom caught me, I would get yelled at because "you eat all those snacks but you don't eat your dinner after I slave away cooking it!" It's true, I didn't want to eat a lot of dinner. Not because it wasn't good; my mom, for all her aversion to cooking, made good basic stuff like hamburgers and chicken and sloppy joes. I have since learned that the ingredients in some of these foods, such as canned soup and canned veggies, don't work well for weight loss, at least not for me, but the meals she made weren't high-fat (Dad had a heart condition and couldn't eat fatty stuff or gain weight) or un-tasty. It was just that the last thing I wanted to do was wreck all the "progress" I hoped I'd made, starving all day, by eating a huge (to me) meal late at night, Although I knew I was going to have to Eat Something or get yelled at by Mom because I was "making myself sick" and being "unappreciative" of her, and maybe also get yelled at by Dad for making Mom upset and awakening all his weird and totally unfounded fears that if she got Upset, she would Leave him. He would tell me this when she wasn't around and I thought it was so silly and embarrassing. I never saw anyone less likely to split on a dude than my mom. She was Momogamous with a capital M, and I aint just wishfully sayin'. I never told her he said those things till a long time after he died. When I realized that Cat's in the cradle, I'd grown up Just Like Him. She said he shouldn't have said those ridiculous things to me, and that she was sorry he had, and would have yelled at him if she'd known. Which is maybe why I knew not to say anything Then.

But I digest. Uh, DiGRESS....

After dinner, during which I hopefully had not eaten Too Much, sometimes I would exercise for one hour, or even more, doing whatever fitness program I found in a magazine and hoped would be the Magic Weight Loss Bullet. I did Bonnie Bell exercises for a long time, and the Air Force program for a year. I also spent a whole summer running about a mile before breakfast. A magazine article I read said running every day would make ten pounds fall off without even eating less. It didn't work. I can now safely say that whatever Exercise might or might not have done for my cardio and muscle tone, it doesn't do a damn thing for my weight loss if I'm not eating the Right Stuff. The Right Stuff being a ton of water, and lean, plain protein and fresh veggies, and little or no sugar (including as an ingredient) or bread products or potatoes. Which I was not eating then. So, I didn't lose weight beyond maybe three pounds that would come back on the next time I broke down and ate something untoward like a dish of ice cream or a McBurger. Neither of which were standard fare in our house believe it or not, and if I ate too much ice cream when we had it, besides hating myself for eating a "bad" food, I got yelled at for eating ice cream but not enough Meat and Potatoes, and also for not leaving enough ice cream for the 'rents and being generally Inconsiderate and it's Expensive yadayadayada. This probably explains why, when I first visited my friend at his dad's house, said dad being a fairly well-off banker and having a fridge bursting at the seams with food, I still felt a need to ask if it was ok if I ate one ice cream pop out of the big freezer box full of 24 or 36 or some ungodly Sam's Club number, "because your dad might want that for himself." My friend looked at me like I just sprouted a third eyeball and said "My dad gets a big box of those delivered" (delivered!) "every week. They're to eat. Eat what you want." I was still afraid of getting yelled at.

I never did lose any significant weight when I was living at home. I didn't gain any but I didn't lose any. I'd lose like six pounds, and gain back three. After I moved out is when I started dealing with how to lose weight. And how to gain it, too. And whether it even mattered. Bonne Bell Beauty is a crock, sorry Jess. Your Lipsmackers are still good, though.

It was not smooth sailing; I was screwed up over food, in different ways, for years and years. It's only been in about the last decade or so that I have slowly, over time, started to Un-screw, in a lot of areas of my life, including Phood.

I will never understand why parents feel they need to exert control over their offspring's weight and eating habits. It just makes whatever dynamic is already going on worse. My mom had been skinny her whole life and came from a family where half the people were super skinny like Grandpa and the other half were super fat like Grandma and Nobody much cared (I wonder about that, though, as the aunts who were meanest to my skinny mom were the hugely fat ones) and Everybody ate a good deal, as a Family, and enjoyed it, but also had the Depression-era mentality about how Food Costs Money, especially Coca-Cola and ice cream and treats like that, and so you were supposed to know to leave some for the 8 other people in the house. I don't think she knew how to deal with me and my world. She didn't think I was fat; I was built like her mother, whom she loved, and I had A Large Bust, which she would have loved to have had at my age instead of having to wear falsies that popped out at embarrassing moments. As for Dad, his father used to run off with the food money and gamble it away, and his family was generally poor, so he tended to think of me as generally selfish for not appreciating food more (along with a host of other things), and for stealing his ice cream and cake.

I write this because I have lost over 25 pounds since law school, very slowly, and I spend my days stuffing vegetables and plain meat down, and making sure I get to the one restaurant downstairs before it stops serving the plain eggs, and avoiding bread and lunchmeat at the business lunches, and drinking water even when I don't want any, and I never get hungry when I do all this stuff, but I do get very, very tired. From all the having to eat and having to run around getting it together. And maybe from just having to force myself to think Differently.

And when I screw up and am late for work and didn't have time to eat and didn't want to eat junk, because fast food makes me sick a lot of the time now, and I am maybe actually stomach-growling hungry and maybe just at that stage of Emo Blood Sugar where I want to panic and cry, and I go in the coffee room and see the little packets of Coffee-Mate, I just want to lose my shit and scream and bawl sometimes. Because I see myself at age 15 or 16, when I volunteered after school at the Lakewood Senior Center for National Honor Society, sneaking into the break room where they had a bin of Coffee-Mate and spooning it into my hand and eating it by the tablespoonful and trying to figure out excuses to go upstairs or pass the break room so I could sneak some more. I was that hungry. Of course, the Coffee-Mate is all sugar - corn syrup solids actually - so it made me even hungrier. Then I would walk home past the rotisserie chicken place I posted about before, and look at the chickens and want one so bad and not be able to have one - no money and Mom hated those for some reason, too expensive or something, we never had them, but she eats Boston Market allatime now, go figure - and feel terrible for wanting food. For not being able to make myself Not be hungry.

A fat, selfish slob like me, wanting food. I deserve to feel hungry and lousy. I deserve to be fat and ugly. It's no wonder I get left.

Sometimes nowadays I take a little packet of Coffee-Mate, just one, I don't want more than one now, and I eat it. Today I picked one up and then I threw it back in the bin. I don't want it. I don't want to remember. Just like Scarlett, as God is my witness, I'll Never Be Hungry Again.
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