My Relationship with Food
I have a strange relationship with food.
As a kid and young adult I struggled with hypoglycemia. It ran in my family and a common sentence uttered in the household was: “Mom, you’re being ditzy, you need to eat.” Out would come a protein bar or squished string cheese from the depths of her purse.
Kids, my sister and I just got grumpy and we were promptly given snacks or a glass of milk to drink by a mother who understood what would fix it. In my early twenties, living on my own, I often found myself laying on the kitchen floor eating whatever quick sugar I could find-m’nm’s, honey sticks, on better days some fruit.
I became afraid of being hungry. The feeling is unmatched in its helplessness. My body feels like it stops functioning. I stumble, my hands shake, it feels as if I am wading through mud. Emotions fire off seemingly without control and my brain powers down, I can feel energy draining out of me.
Each meal I wonder if it will be enough to keep me going until I can eat again. I worry.
What happens if I am driving my car and it hits?
What if I am at work?
What if I am in the middle of a workout?
What if everyone around is watching and I cannot stay in control?
As a young adult I was now employed. It is shift work. Often breaks are missed due to a high volume of work that cannot be ignored. Thirty minute lunches are compressed to ten. I stand at the kitchen counter in the break room attempting to shovel enough food into my mouth in a few minutes time to combat the brain fatigue that I know is coming. I need my brain, I rely on my brain, I am a 911 dispatcher. The people I help rely on my brain to get them out of danger on most likely the worst day of their lives. So I eat.
I have a strange relationship with food and my demon has since evolved.
Post job, post heartbreak, I was in the midst of remodeling myself, my house, and my life. “Katesyear” was in full swing and I was on a mission, I could not waste a single minute. It was not allowed.
At one point I realized I had moved, by myself, two tons…yes that is correct…two tons of concrete block for my yard, twice. My frenetic days were filled with hard work but also with the glorious freedom to choose to do all that I did.
I had a list of goals and tasks to accomplish that read more like a chapter book than a simple list. Even my dates noticed. When finally getting me to make time for dinner, he would casually mention, “it kinda seems like you are running away from something…” Or maybe it wasn’t so casual.
This is not about hard work. As I crossed things off my list in warrior like fashion my days became an up at dawn, coffee fueled battle through the morning until lunch. Then solider on until dinner. The meals were a way station during very difficult days. An hour, sometimes more, where I could stop and rest. Once I was done it was back to it again.
But until then, I had to eat, I had permission. Food was an important and valid reason to stop and sit. Once the food was gone it was time to stand up and get back to work. Back to some grueling project that had already reduced me to tears I am sure.
I dislike my relationship with food. I think on this as I lean against my kitchen counter at home, now a year removed from “Katesyear”, a few years removed from the job, and many years removed from the kitchen floor.
I have since learned the value of rest and how much I can truly accomplish in a day. I have learned that it does me no good to push through my days like a maniac neither enjoying nor appreciating what I accomplish.
I look at my breakfast: Egg white omelet stuffed with veggies. Sprouted grain english muffin with almond butter. It is enough, I tell myself. It will be fine. You are fit and strong and each year it gets better. You know you can push through, when it hits, you’ve done it many times before. I sigh. I am resigned. I have not yet learned how to let go of this struggle.
This time, I close the top on the almond butter and slowly turn away. It will be here if I need it, I think. And it becomes enough.
Tell me your struggles with food and how you combat it each day! What makes you tick in regards to diet and food? Leave a comment below so we can cheer everyone on through our personal growth and through the upcoming holiday minefield of mental food games!