Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughts About Eating

My father used to say that, other than meeting our basic needs, like that of food and sleep, all other activities served the purpose of filling the time in-between. It's hard for me to say whether that applies as a general rule! I can, however, say that it certainly applied to me, especially when I weighed 265 pounds.

Food was a MAJOR part of my life. Even when going through the traveling experiences I describe here -- which have been, at times, awe-inspiring -- there has often been a great focus on having that great meal. Think of all the restauarants I have reviewed here! I have always been proud to have frequented some of the best food establishments at the places I have visited -- and they have been very good -- that has been an honest appraisal. It is my focus, my obsession on those places, that I am describing as unhealthy, a major contributer to the bloated weight I experienced.

And I've always had to have more and more -- I've recently realized that I am always afraid there won't be enough food, even as I've lost enough weight to know I can live a satisfactory life with a whole lot less than I used to eat.

Activities I performed, such as hiking, were often great, but a bit empty for me -- I was hoping they could last long enough until my next meal, or I thought of how to fill the time in between. Just living the filler time -- just enjoying being alive -- was never enough. Something had to be happening. If not, I was in danger of filling that time in a very dysfunctional matter -- by stuffing my face!

This is a recent insight. It isn't the end of the road. Eventually, I'll want to fill the void I previously filled by stuffing my face, or planning to stuff my face. But the insight feels like an enormous weight has been lifted. I don't need food like I used to. I don't need to eat more and more and more. I am free to do other things. I am sure, to those who read this blog, the observable difference may be minimal -- after all, some of the "other things" may be activities I have already discussed from my travels. But, oh, what an internal difference this insight has made! Superficial solutions to problems, like food, are not only discarded for fear of how they might affect me, they are craved to a less degree! More satisfying solutions can now be considered. As I say above, some of those solutions will be reviewed here, as I believe my travel experiences and activities will encompass some of those solutions.

1 comment:

  1. I like this. AS you know, my biggest challenge is focusing on the food I'm eating today, which satisfies me entirely. If I simply look at that, I'm content. It's when I focus ahead on all the food that I love, and start to freak out about whether I'll ever eat it again, that I get messed up.

    Fear figures into my freakouts, but I don't know that I'm afraid that it won't be enough. I am afraid of changing the game on the people around me. I have always been the guy who blotted out the sun with his hedonistic gusto; I was like the alcoholic who is a blast to be around--right up until the moment when he's institutionalized. The thought of telling old friends and family "I don't want to eat at that place, and I don't want to drink what we used to drink" scares me. But the core of my pathology is taking ownership of other people's feelings and their reactions to me. So not only do I know that I need to no longer eat certain things in order to be healthy, I also need to stop worrying about whether other people will be hurt by me taking care of myself.

    Oh, about hiking: I'm an avid hiker myself. Have you been to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation? It's a superlative place for whatever level of hike you want.