What’s the snack with the slogan “No one can eat just one.”? I can’t remember at this moment, some kind of potato chip, I think, maybe Pringles. Anyway, that’s issue #2 that I can identify when it comes to my eating habits. I can’t just have one.
Seriously. It’s hard for me to imagine sitting down and having, say, just TWO doublestuf oreos. Nope, I want a minimum of ten. At least til the milk runs out, right? Yesterday my husband took me to lunch and I really slowed down after the first half of my cheeseburger but I felt compelled for some reason to continue eating until it was gone. I knew I should stop, but it BOTHERED me to leave it there.
When I think about it, when I’m using something like an Oreo for comfort or stress release, it makes sense that I would need to eat until the bad feeling temporarily recedes. But there are times of happiness, and other times when I’m just eating a regular meal, that I have trouble stopping at one or two. When it tastes good and I’m having fun eating, I’ll tend to go overboard also. For the record, this also happens exclusively with things that taste good. As in, I’ve never gone crazy eating too many carrot sticks. It seems easier to stop when I’m eating cottage cheese, but not so easy when I’m eating cheesecake.
I’ve tried the “no junk in the house” method, and it works for a while. Then the total deprivation gets to me and a trip to Winn Dixie produces a package of Doublestuf or a bag of chips. Then, said bag of junk doesn’t just sit in the pantry and go stale. It disappears as quickly as possible and calls to me in the night if I take too long to finish it off.
It seems I have an imbalance here. I’m either eating none until I can’t stand it anymore, or I’m eating it ALL until it’s gone. Why don’t I just have a little at a time and stop there? Here are my ideas:
1) I have some unreasonable anxiety that when I return later and want just a little bit more, there won’t be any left. (This probably stems from growing up in a house full of kids that was usually grand central for our friends also. Treats never hung around long. If I didn’t get my share, there very likely would be none later.)
Solution: Remind myself that I’m an adult now. I’m not rich, but I have the ability to get myself another bag of Oreos anytime I want. God Bless America.
2) I often have to eat in a hurry. If I don’t finish right away, it’ll be cold later, or I may not get another chance to stop and take a break. I remember this starting right after I had my first baby and barely had a chance to shower regularly, much less eat a meal uninterrupted. I began noticing that even when I did get a chance to enjoy a leisurely meal, I made it disappear as fast as possible, in the habit of choking it down before the baby needed me again.
Solution: USE A MICROWAVE if it gets cold. Figure out some way to remind myself that I don’t HAVE to rush.
3) (This one might be reaching, but here it is anyway:) There is so little in my life that I can control. So few things that finish up nicely and wrap up neatly. Life is messy, often yucky, and seldom easily tied up with a bow. A bag of Oreos, however, CAN be finished. It can be put away. I have control over it, and I can watch it disappear. I don’t do many things right, but finishing off a bag of Milano cookies is an easy success for me.
Solution: Find something else I can accomplish quickly and easily to give myself a “success” without eating. I just got a used piano. Maybe I’ll try to conquer a new piece of music here and there.
4) I know I shouldn’t be eating the bag of Oreos, so I finish it in order to get rid of it. I then promise myself I won’t get any more, and I feel better because the “bad thing” isn’t in the pantry anymore. This all falls apart, of course, when the deprivation gets me mad enough to go get another bag. It’s like any other forbidden thing, it often is the object of obsession.
Solution: Take away the stigma. Again, I AM AN ADULT. I must stop shaming myself. There is nothing inherently shameful about Oreos. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, so since I can’t possible achieve dietary perfection (who even knows what that IS?) then there is no reason to outlaw something or obsess over it because I see it as a “mistake” food or a “bad grade” on my eating report card. No shame means no rush to get rid of the “forbidden” item. GOD STILL LOVES ME!!!
5) I sometimes eat angry. Overeating when angry is a way of punishing myself or another person.
Solution: Learn to express my anger in healthy ways. Get a punching bag.
Good thing I’m writing this down. I may be onto something here!!