Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The relationship with hunger

Since I gave up sugar on Feb 14, I'm discovering that I don't like being hungry very much. I don't have a history of childhood poverty or starvation, have never gone hungry except as an occasional intentional fast for political or health reasons, but I'm finding myself panicky when I'm not eating whenever I want. This giving up sugar is more complicated than I expected.

The first step was letting go of eating whatever I want--and I felt ready for that. But I'm noticing that meals aren't enough. I'm used to eating meals and then sugar and waiting a couple of hours and either eating a snack or more sugar. I was seldom hungry but always ate meals and more snacks anyway, as if I could put off discomfort. It isn't surprising that over the last 12 years or so I've put on a lot of weight. So in addition to eating whatever I want, I see that I've been eating whenever I want as well.

I could see this behavior as indulging myself and I could easily make myself wrong about that. Instead I'm beginning to see that there's something else either physiological or psychological going on.

Today I wrote in my journal when I first got up and took advantage of a break in the clouds to take a walk along Netarts Bay, where I'm on a writing retreat. When I got back, I fixed a good breakfast and ate it and felt full. But two hours later, I wanted to eat again. I made a piece of toast and ate an orange. Lunch came at 12:30 about 90 minutes later. I was ready to eat although I didn't eat all that much (one small helping of the chicken, orzo, and broccoli). I was okay then until 3. I ate some pistachios and another orange. I ate a low-sugar, high-fiber grain bar (just this side of cardboard). I was okay then until dinner.

But the idea of not eating between meals scares me. I don't want those feelings of hunger. It isn't just a sensation of blood sugar dropping or a need to fuel myself. There's fear and dread and something restless and miserable about it.

A friend once told me that she believed that all of us bottle-fed babies from the middle 1940s, who were fed on a predetermined schedule, not when we were hungry, have trauma around eating. I don't know if my fear goes back that far but it touches something deep inside me. And that something is unhappy.

1 comment:

scotkamins said...

So I'm confused, Is your commitment to giving up sugar, or to not eating between meals? From my vantage point behind this thick post, it looks like you're complicating the issue and making it harder and harder on yourself. Giving up sugar is hard enough; save the not-eating-between-meals thing for another campaign.