Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Up Against the Wall

It's clear at least that my troubles with food will never be resolved until they have the highest priority in my life. And it's embarrassing, because it's such a trivial matter, of importance only to myself. To make it the ruling concern of my life is, indisputably, to become a trivial, self-absorbed person. At least for a while. I can hope it will be temporary, but I don't know that.

But I am so tired of it that I'm going to do it anyway. It keeps rising up anyway, dominating my consciousness. I feel horrible, physically and mentally, when I eat badly, and I eat badly a lot. If it were possible to solve the problem simply by never eating again, I would gladly simply shut down the digestive system and do without it. I loathe food, much of the time, and I loathe being under its dominion. Often enough, I hate everything about it. Even as I'm wolfing it.

One nice thing, about having come to this pass, in my fifties, is that I can accept that my relationship with food will never be different. I will never have a normal relationship with it. If I'm to eat in a reasonably healthy way, I'm going to have to have abnormal, draconian, arbitrary rules about it, and follow them like some pathetic fanatic. As if I thought it was important. Which it isn't. It's just food, for God's sake. It's not as if it was a moral issue, or something that involved the well-being of my friends and family. But if I can't walk away from it -- and it's clear now that I can't -- then I must try to solve it.

So some things to remember, in no particular order:

1) If I'm ever tired or hungry and don't have the food I should eat immediately to hand, I have already failed, whether I then eat badly or not. I should never, ever find myself in that situation. I shouldn't beat myself up about eating badly, if that happens. I should beat myself up about having let it happen. I should always know what my next meal is going to be, and how I'm going to obtain it.

2) Never: refined sugar / corn syrup / fructose, white flour, potatoes, white rice, corn, pasta, fruit juice, salt meats.

3) Always have on hand, ready to eat: fresh meat and vegetables and nuts. I can eat as much of these as I like. Also unsaturated or monosaturated oils: no problem.

4) Repeat after me: carbohydrates are not a basic food group. Carbohydrates are not a basic food group. Carbohydrates are not a basic food group. They are emergency rations, like freeze-dried hiking food. They're handy, and they keep forever, because they're not real food. On any given day I can have either a slice of whole-wheat bread, or a little cheese, or as much whole grain as sits comfortably in the palm of my hand, or a piece of fruit. (Okay, I know, I know, technically fruit is real food, and you'll find wild primates feasting on it all over the place. If I eat it, my blood sugar goes whoosh! and then plummets, wham! and soon I'm gnawing on chair legs and eating the couch cushions. Don't tell me about how healthy it is. I'm not listening to you. Can't hear you! La la la la la!)

5) One hour of prime time per day is allocated to food procurement and preparation, and all its collaterals, such as keeping the kitchen clean. This is more important than writing, than keeping my job, than maintaining my family relationships. It's even more important than studying Chinese.

6) No eating after 7:30 at night. Except, twice a week, a piece of good chocolate half the size of a business card. (Yes, I read about that study too. Go, science!)

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