Saturday, October 18, 2008

Compulsive Eaters Unanonymous

So I looked up compulsive eaters on Wikipedia (every lazy websearcher's favorite place to go), and it looks like that's what I am. I've suspected it for years, but here, on the World Wide Web, in front of my huge readership of about five or six (and two of them are related to me), I'm owning it. I'm claiming it, I'm saying, hello, my name is Jen, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

You start to suspect that you are way past the "Let's go on a diet" or "Let's join Weight Watchers" (a program, which, by the way, is the best if you are a normal person) point when you are stopping at Adelberto's at 3:30 a.m. after work to grab a light snack of nachos covered with cheese and guacamole. Who needs to eat that at 3:30 in the morning? Pretty much no one. And, you are making that stop after spending several miles beforehand chanting to yourself, "I don't need it. Keep driving, just go to bed." Or you are never, ever, ever done with your meal just because you're full. There always seems to be room for one more bite. Or helping. Or meal. Hey, Taco Bell, thanks for that whole 4th Meal thing, you really have given me some good rationalization help with that one.

I'm not sure when my problem started, but let's just say I don't think that it helped that I fell madly in love with mayonnaise at age 7. Seriously, if mayonnaise were a guy, I'd marry it and have little mayo kids with it. I remember like it was yesterday the day my babysitter took us to Burger King. This in itself was a big deal, because in my house, we didn't eat a lot of fast food, and if we were having burgers they were going to be from McDonald's. So I got some kind of burger and and it had this beautiful, wonderful mayonnaise on it. My parents, being from the Midwest, were Miracle Whip people. They have since come to their senses and switched to mayo, but back then mayo was never in our house, just the Whip (and though I clearly prefer mayo to Miracle Whip, I must admit that its tangy zip is sometimes welcome on certain types of sandwiches or burgers). Anyway, one bite of that burger and the love affair began.

Fast forward to 1987, and I've got my own wheels and a job that pays me money that I can use on food. How many times did I get off at 11 p.m. and cruise over to Burger King for a Whopper with cheese, EXTRA mayonnaise? Way too many to count. Even though I still love mayonnaise way more than I should, I just don't have it in me to order anything with extra mayo. I don't want to be that fat girl that pulls around to the drive-thru window to pay and gets the look from the cashier that says, "Hmph. No wonder she wants extra mayo." I just always hope I'll get lucky and have Bob, the extra mayo slatherer back there making my Whopper with cheese (only now I order them hold the meat since I gave up red meat 13 years ago, which had next to nothing to do with health or cutting calories and more to do with the fact that after watching "Babe" I did not want to eat cute animals that I feared might have personalities, which is why is I still eat chicken, turkey, and fish [and yes, I do think baby chicks are cute but that is something with which I have to deal]).

It's not just mayo. I'll eat a whole bunch of anything, believe me. Salty, sweet, I don't discriminate, just depends on my mood. I will say the starchier the better, and if there is cheese and sauce involved, even better. Pizza? Could I ever have just one slice? Especially if it's from Round Table, with creamy garlic sauce and olives only? No, pretty much I eat as many slices as it takes for me to feel the fullness in the eyeballs. And that's the problem. Going past belly fullness into eyeball fullness. This I don't like.

So why do I do it? There's no time to lay all that out in this post. The reasons are various and sundry and have all been discussed with a couple of different therapists. Just the stuff that's gone down in my life in the past year alone has been enough for me to do more than my part in keeping Adelberto's in business. I will say that two of the big issues in my life that have contributed to my problem would be 9/11 and pregnancy.

If you were born in 1970 or thereabouts like I was, then you grew up in a world where, quite simply, really bad stuff didn't happen to us here. So for a whole generation of folks, watching those Twin Towers get hit, over and over again, shattered this completely idyllic world and false sense of safety we'd managed to keep for 30 years or so. So this horrific event made me less likely to make good choices when it came to food. Let's see... the world could end tomorrow, shall I order a veggie burger hold the mayo with a side salad, low fat dressing on the side? Umm, I DON'T THINK SO, PAL! How about a super burrito mojado with the works, please? Don't forget the guacamole and sour cream!

Then there was pregnancy, during which I vomited every single day, except for a wonderful 10 days early in the third trimester. Otherwise, it was get up, puke, go about my business, puke, go to bed, etc. So once pregnancy was over and there was no more of that, I pretty much decided to go on a food free-for-all. Well, the kid will be 3 at the end of December and my free-for-all is still happening.

I think the number 100 is also one more reason I feel so stalled and stymied. I would like to lose 100 pounds, and in all of my years of battling my food issues and my weight, I have never had a desire to lose a 3-digit number of pounds. I'd actually be happy with 90, so maybe I should just think of it that way and it wouldn't be such a mental stumbling block for me? I think I see that 100 and think to myself, "Dang, that's never gonna happen. (Munch munch munch noises) Would ya give me another cookie?"

And before you tell me I should exercise, I know this already. Believe it or not, there was a time in my life when I had to exercise every day or I'd feel weird. Seriously, it was as much a part of my routine as getting up and taking a shower and brushing my teeth. I loved to go to Jazzercise or do a workout tape at home (pretty much anything that let me shake my butt made me happy). I was into strength training, the whole thing. What happened to the girl? I think maybe I ate her. Now I try to walk 30 minutes at a time, and manage that 3-4 times a week, if it's a good week. Every once in a great while I'm able to find some kid distraction-free time at home to throw on a yoga video or something, but once in a great while only.

So why, as my brother would say, throw all of this out on front street for all five or six of you to see? Well, because maybe I'll actually dive into this book I've started reading, called It's Not About Food, which talks about how to (as the front cover claims) "Change your mind, change your life, and end your obsession with food and weight." Because it has been almost all about food for me (man, I didn't even get into planning my vacation activites around where I was going to eat!). And maybe the next time I want to stop at Adelberto's I'll think about how much better I felt just by getting all of this out. And maybe I'll think of something else to do rather than eat a burrito the next time I'm sad. Or mad. Or happy. Or awake. Maybe I will, you never know.


Ms. Romo said...

I love your blogs Jen! I know so many people who can relate to this, definitely me thats why I was chuckling while reading it and Im not so sure thats a good thing?? Maybe we should start a group! Overeaters Anonymous!??? Keep writing, you are fabulous!

Jennifer Moore-Skallerud said...

Amy! You are so sweet!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. I need all the support I can get, and I gotta start reading my book, because guess what the hell I just ate? That's right, a personal pizza from Round Table with creamy garlic sauce and olives. Yikes!! But maybe tomorrow will be a better today. Thank you so much for your good thoughts, I so appreciate them!!!