Thursday, 7 June 2012

And the rain...

This is hard.

I'm full of excuses for eating crap. Staying with my sister, celebrating a birthday, having my other sister to stay, party food, home baking, stress, concern, fear, boredom, sadness, loneliness.

It's all bollocks. In fact, I've been eating crap because I've been letting myself eat crap. It's very easy to say, when I've come so far, 'oh it doesn't matter'. It does matter. Not because eating bread and cake and biscuits and chocolate is BAD, but because any eating done in a mindset that doesn't care or doesn't have the control to stop is dangerous and harmful.

I can eat whatever I want, there is nothing to stop me. But what I cannot, what I must not do, is eat without thinking, without control, without good reason.

These are what I consider good reasons to eat:
1. I'm hungry.
2. I'm not hungry but I haven't eaten anything today.
3. I'm not hungry but I won't have the chance to eat anything else today.
4. I'm not hungry but I have the chance to try something new or interesting that I can't save until later.
5. I'm not hungry but I'm with friends or family and the food is special and forms part of our celebrations.
6. I'm not hungry but I'm treating myself.

That seems a bit permissive, I'm sure, but I'm not of the school that believes that Food Is Fuel And Nothing More. Yes, fundamentally, food is necessary to fuel our bodies, but since the earliest times of human history it has also been strongly linked to our human interactions and relationships and to our emotions. I don't want to see food just as fuel. If that's all food was to me, I could eat nothing but grilled chicken and steamed vegetables for the rest of my life. But I love food, I love reading about it, I love planning it, I love cooking it, I love sharing it, and I love eating it. And I don't want to exclude any food from my diet for the rest of my life. I want balance and moderations.

But it's so much easier said than done.

What I want is to be able to bake a huge chocolate cake for a birthday, and feel no qualms whatsoever about the quantities of sugar and butter and chocolate and cream involved. And then I want to be able to have a small slice, enjoy it to the full, and then stop. What I don't want is to find myself paying more attention to the leftover cake than the people around me, I don't want to be sneaking tastes from the tin when no one is looking, I don't want to be obsessed by how and when and by whom the rest of the cake will be eaten, I don't want that sickening feeling of shame when they go to get the leftovers and there's significantly less than they thought was there, and I don't want that moment when I snap and think 'it doesn't matter', and start eating cake not because I really want it and not because I'm really enjoying it, but just because it's there and I can.

Sometimes I manage it, at least for a while. But more often than not, recently, I've failed.

And after every binge, when my stomach is aching and full, and I feel sick both physically and mentally, and I hate myself for my lack of self-control, every time I swear I'll remember this feeling, that I won't let it happen again. But it does.

It's going to be a constant struggle, I guess.

So often I look at other people and I'm consumed with envy at how simply they eat. They don't give their food a second thought, beyond enjoying it. They don't spend their lives obsessing over what and when and in front of whom they're going to eat, they don't worry that everyone around them is constantly judging them for their food choices, they don't binge or restrict, they don't freak out about situations with unfamiliar or calorific food, they don't punish themselves for eating too much, they don't have a head full of constant calorie calculations. And I envy them so much, and I wish they realised just how lucky they are.

And then I remember that they have their own issues, their own struggles, their own obsessions, too, just as everyone does.

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