Insecurities manifest in mysterious ways.

HAES Books

These books (Linda Bacon’s “Health at Every Size” and Gina Kolata’s “Rethinking Thin”) finally arrived. They couldn’t have come at a better time. I have been living somewhat unhealthily for several months now, and I’m starting to feel it. It’s not just the extra weight I’ve gained (though that certainly doesn’t make things easier), but also the sense of bloatedness, constant hunger-that-is-not-hunger, an inflammed bowel, low energy, and fluctuating mental acuity (my asthma is also acting up this summer, which might have something to do with my diet–but more likely has everything to do with the constant rain and humidity and lack of sunshine causing a potential mold allergy to go into hyperdrive). All in all, I kinda feel like crap.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I’m eating the way I am. It’s a constant stream of sugar, refined carbs, fatty foods, and caffeine. I am a chronic insomniac, so that is one reason why I am drawn to these high-energy, quick-burning fuels, but the ironic nature of these foods also aggravates sleeplessness. Which causes me to continue to crave these foods. But I cant live my life on these foods; this diet could cause insulin resistance and diabetes.

Of more concern to me is how much I am eating: I am eating large amounts of food at every meal, three or four times a day. I am almost binging. Maybe I AM binging? I overeat to the point of feeling stuffed, like at Thanksgiving, but not to the point of nausea. I know I am eating emotionally, for comfort, to ease boredom. Here’s the thing though: I am not depressed. I am far happier than I was last year, when my ex emotionally abandoned me; far happier than I was six months ago, when I finally up and left him; far happier than I was two months ago, when I felt tied down by my debts. These past couple weeks I have been reflecting on why I would possibly be comfort eating, and I’ve come down to the following reasons:

1. I am missing intimacy. I am missing sex. I am missing the sense of fullness, both physical and emotional, that comes from sexual intercourse. I miss the feeling of opening up and feeling full (and before you lewd and crude readers suggest it: masturbation is not sufficient–it is as empty of emotional nutrients as a can of cola is empty of bodily nutrients). The food I am eating–all the chocolate, the fast food, the potatoes, the colas, the cupcakes, the donuts, the meat loaf, the burgers, etc. etc. etc…all produce the happy-brain chemicals as well as the sensation of physical fullness.

2. On the flip-side is my old childhood demon, Avoidance. A long, long time ago (at the onset of puberty, not-so-incidentially), I developed a specific social phobia, one directed at boys and later, men. It took a long time for me to work through it and allow myself to trust enough to let myself become available to men (thats a story in and of itself!). One of my coping devices was in reality an AVOIDANCE device. I un/sub-consciously strove to make myself as unattractive as I possibly could, so that I would not be pursued by those dangerous penis-bearing monsters. Penis-bearing monsters with erect, ravenous (ravening) appetites. I ate. It made me feel good and it also made me fat. Fat and therefore, ugly.

Avoidance has come back, albeit in diminished form. Men and their penis-driven appetites do not scare me anymore. Now, it is simply a matter of me just not wanting to be in a relationship right now. I’m still trying to recover from the last (which was also my first), and learn to enjoy my life on my own terms, to love myself as I am, however I can. I don’t want the obligations and the stress a relationship brings. Even if that means I miss out on the joys.

The problem with this, in terms of issue #1 above, is that this means I can’t engage in sex. I learned the hard way, after a couple “casual encounters” (before and after my ex), that I get too emotionally attached to my partner. For me, sex is the High-Speed Monorail Train to Destination Love. As I’ve just explained, I don’t want to go there. For the time being, I am celibate. And so my old pal Avoidance comes in to save my honor with the classic defense of “get ugly! eat food! no more penises ever!” (a total “Mommy Dearest” wire hanger flashback if ever there was one, btw).

So I am eating quick-burning, high-energy foods for my insomnia as well as for my dopamine-seratonin addicted brain. Its making me feel ill, now. Ill as well as sufficiently ugly. So these books that I mentioned way back up there at the top of this post, I hope will help me shift my comfort-eating back to healthy eating. This also means I will have to learn new strategies for scaring off those penis-bearing ravening hordes in a more constructive manner.

Wish me luck!