Monday, March 1, 2010

Sugar addict as pogo stick

Mindfulness, restlessness, habit, choice. So many big philosophical issues are coming up. Today I'm back at work after a week of vacation. I enjoy my work a lot. I edit documents for all kinds of people on all kinds of subjects. I get to interview cool people and write up what they say. It's seldom boring, and it's often fascinating. So why am I up and down and up and down and up and down like a pogo stick when I'm in my office?

I don't have trouble concentrating. I'm actually thinking about the current editing project and solving some kind of issue as I walk to the refrigerator. It's only when I "come to" at the fridge and think about it (do I really need something to eat; e.g., a sandwich or a cup of soup? No!), that I see how habituated my behavior has come. Not only have I been indulging my cravings and desires for sweets, but I've made it so automatic that I can't sit still for very long.

I ate a good lunch but a little too late (too long between breakfast and lunch)--and that's not good for me. I need to eat every few hours to stay satisfied. So I ate a sandwich and a big apple and some cheetos and a few more cheetos and then I said enough. By then, it was 1:30. Since then (four hours), I've been to the kitchen maybe 8 times. I'm up and out of my seat without even knowing it. I'm standing with the snack drawer open (it contains, nuts, no sugar trail mix, high-fiber "cookies" and Altoids) without even registering restlessness or boredom or any other discomfort. I'm seeing that either I don't need discomfort to move towards food and eating has become almost a part of my autonomic nervous system (like my breathing and heart beat) or the cues are so subtle and so familiar that I just respond without any noticing at all.

Figuring out what this is all about is key to me. Maybe not in the scientific sense but in the personal sense. As my friend Scot said in his comment to yesterday's blog, this being mindful stuff is a tough job!

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