Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Rules of eating

I noticed whilst cooking at Christmas-roasting meat-that by the time I finished, I had no inclination to eat it. Not that I wasn't hungry or that I felt any aversion to the food itself, just that I didn't want to sit and eat it after I'd cooked it.

This is not a complete surprise, its happened over a many years.

It's fascinating to me as for most of the years I spent trying to regulate my (weight) metabolism through diet, I was in the grip of an eating compulsion.

In short that is when hunger and appetite signals rise to higher and higher settings either to counteract this meddling or as a response to mood disorder/neurosis, or both.

You won't be told its that though, its described as binge eating disorder, nowadays and is often touted as an addiction/emotional dependence on food, because food is non essential of course. I don't feel this is a useful way to see it, but I just thought I'd mention it in case you were wondering.

I also am not keen on the insulting and typically inept "compulsive overeating" tag, because a) I think things should be named for what they are, not the compulsive obsession to link anything remotely associated with fatness to eating. Anorexics are not called 'starvers' bulimics 'vomiters' take note of that ED dimwits.

'Science' at its best.

Over the years, I finally realised control is only control if it actually results in or is control not merely seems or appears to be.

If I gave you something that looked like an apple but tasted just like a plum, you'd at least have to accept it was not an apple, it only looked like one.

Since then as I've let go of a lot of the baggage that I accrued with that plus some I had before and during it, perhaps after too (I'm still working on that) I've found that my hunger, especially, plus my appetite has changed slowly and erratically, yet surely.

In the past, most emotional (and other) stimulus seemed to trigger a chain reaction that lead to eating. This is what ED hacks call 'emotional eating'. I'd be fine, then I'd feel oh, anything; happy, sad, upbeat, hopeful, frustrated, anticipatory etc etc, and I'd go from fine, to wanting to eat.

Hunger had moved off centre as an instigator of eating and ceased to make sense. I hope one day to tell you all the fun times I had getting high on being dragged around by impulses as non-sequitur, but that's a delight you'll have to pine for.

This kind of thing has been described as using "food as a drug of choice", please, no laughing. However, as you can see, it wasn't fulfilling any drug like purpose. It was more stimulus, trigger, stimulus, trigger.

To me even at the time these descriptions made no sense-what it felt like was my system, nervous system that is, seemed unable to disentangle the stimulus of emotion, which travels along that system, from an impulse to eat.

Weird and unexpected though that was. I slowly concluded that it was more like if your arm is relaxed, you can flex; fingers, palm, wrist, elbow, shoulder. Not wholly independent of each other, but mostly discreet.

Whereas, if your arm is rigid and stiff, to move any part is to move all. In fact the more rigid the limb the more it becomes more like a single unit.

The parallel is that it was more like the tension in my (nervous) system had reached a certain level of tension constantly enough that the stimulus of feelings was not contained mainly there as that tension caused it to act more as one unit than more separate functions.

There was little pressure on me to eat with everyone else at Christmas, but over time people have got used to the change in me and I guess it helps that I feel little obligation to eat outside my own dictates. There's no hint of aggression, ut you know when you give off a sense that the argument is lost before its begun? That people don't have the will.

Now in general terms this might be seen as rude, I play things by ear, but what I'd say in general is social contract. I'm not talking about the fundamental and deeply serious aspect but of the clauses. The social interaction bit rather than social policy.

A lot of fat people are polite, but I've become disinclined to eat on the say so of anyone but myself, no matter what anyone thinks about that. Because the day society decided to talk "fatz eat yadda yah", was the day a commensurate adjustment should have been made in anyone's entitlement to question your desire to eat/ not anything at any particular time. Merely because its more convenient or nicer for them.

The raft of special eating needs has probably helped make this a bit of a moot point, but even if it didn't it wouldn't make much difference. I'm prepared to go the 'you don't want to be encouraging me to eat If I've said no and then telling me I'm fat, do you?' if necessary. Its only fair, as it doesn't tend to work in my favour usually.

I'm not hypocritical about it, I'd loathe to persuade anyone to eat what I'd prepared if they objected. I don't seem to take that in the way I used to, although I was never insistent because I considered not eating to be a triumph, yep, that was yearning speaking. I don't mind if you don't want to eat what I give you, I don't take it as a personal affront.

The rules of you should eat what your host has kindly prepared should be changed when kindly hosts all over are asking folks to 'stop eating', if people insist, they must be prepared for that to be at their table after they've sweated at a hot stove lovingly scaling the culinary heights.

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