Tonight all I want is cheese. We have shredded and sliced cheddar in the house, but nothing to put it on except a head of cauliflower (which would be a waste of cheese). So I am having a fit of rage, while simultaneously plotting to walk to McDonalds and eat a Big Mac, a large fry, and a hot fudge sundae. I want to stuff myself full of mac n cheese, cheese quesadillas, Taco Bell hard-shell tacos. I want Jack In the Box mozzarella sticks. In-N-Out Animal Fries. And a box of hot Krispy Kremes for dessert. These are all within a five minute drive of my apartment. They would all be instantly within my grasp and consumed within a moment…but I can’t. I won’t put on my coat and head to McDonalds, because the truth of the mater is that the food won’t fix it.
Two days this week I was not consumed by thoughts of eating. They were both days in which I was teaching, when I had purpose. I made healthy food choices and felt strong. I didn’t care about food those two days, because I was completely fulfilled in other ways. Today was not one of those days…
Today I was unwell. I won’t go into details, but it was simply one of those quarter-life crisis days when you remember you have absolutely none of your shit together, and you want to weep into a bowl of mac n cheese. I made it through the entire day without cheese, but now, as the hours tick on, I am not sure how much longer I can last.
My whole life I have used food to fix whatever was going wrong with me. Breakup = chocolate chip cookie dough Ben and Jerrys. Failure = Fettuccine Alfredo. Insecurity = steak fries with ranch. The more emotional distress, the more calories. I treat food like others treat alcohol. The thing is that with alcoholism you can wean yourself off of it and then never touch the stuff again (with a WHOLE lot of work). With a food addiction, you will die if you do not eat the thing that is presently killing you. Imagine AA meetings where the sponsor has to tell everyone to take that first drink, but only Vodka, because it’s healthy. It wouldn’t work.
I am addicted to food, because it is the one thing that I can control. Of course it is not, presently it controls me, but in theory–I decide what I put in my mouth and therefore I have the control. I cannot control if the job I adore is going to hire me full-time. I cannot control if I will be published. I cannot control if Covered California will accept my application for health insurance and stop the endless loop of bureaucracy. I cannot control if a fellow likes me back. I cannot control Trump or ISIS. No, I cannot, but oh–I can decide if I am going to eat salad or mac n cheese for lunch… and it seems as if pleasure is power, so I go with mac n cheese.
So I eat fried food because it’s immediate and pleasurable. I eat cheese because “getting healthy” takes a very long time with incredibly slow results and a devastating amount of hard work. Of course ultimately eating crap makes me feel like crap, and I’m worse off than when I started, but there you have it. That’s the cycle I have been battling my whole life.
I would like to tell you that today I will not go into the kitchen and figure out something to do with that slice of cheddar–that I will make edamame instead and watch Downton Abbey, but I don’t know. Maybe I am not strong enough for any of this, but for now I can say that I resisted my cravings for ten more minutes, because I wrote down my struggle instead of eating it.