In addition to echolocation and the Spanish language, one thing that I’ve never been able to understand is the phrase “I love food.” When someone tells me, “I can’t live without eating,” it strikes me as odd, redundant even. No duh you love food—our very survival depends on its consumption.
Me? I loathe food. Not because I’m not obsessed—I am—but because my obsession has resulted in the compulsive habit of overeating, of raiding the fridge when I’m bored or anxious. You may love food like Jack loves Rose, but me, my love for food’s the stuff of young adult vampire fiction, you know, that über unhealthy, impregnate-me-with-your-demon-offspring kind of love.
The root of the problem lies in my nervous disposition. I get anxious when I’m bored, and after a while, I get bored of being anxious. As a result, I fall victim to a vicious cycle, the perpetuation of which requires me to stuff my face, constantly. It’s not that I’m always hungry, but rather that similar to nail biting, the physical act of eating serves as a temporary outlet for stress, the buildup of which has been known to increase cravings for salty goods and sweets.
Whereas I used to overeat in response to stress, treating food as if it were an antidote for negative emotion, my eating habits have developed such that I pig out preemptively, kind of like taking vitamins, snacking compulsively so as to prevent stress, depression, and what have you. Unlike vitamins, however, overeating only complicates my wellbeing, particularly with regard to my stomach. Having sold my soul to Satan for an ungodly metabolism (I won’t go into the details of our arrangement), I’ve been able thus far to keep pace with my gluttony, dispensing antacid faster than the most quick-handed of gunslingers. I can only pop so many Tums Extra Strength, however, before succumbing to the stomach ache and sugary malaise I’ve come to know so well.
When occupied with friends, homework, or learning Spanish, I’m less inclined to get my snack on, to feed what’s become a physical dependence. It’s when I’m holed up in my room, when I’ve had a not-so-good day, and in particular, when I’m writing (I disemboweled an entire carton of Reese’s ice cream not moments ago), that resisting the urge to scout the fridge becomes a struggle.
What’s tough is that unlike cigarettes, you can’t quit eating food, not for good at least. The key is self-control, something I’ve yet to master. All of the above being said, who am I to complain about overeating when many suffer from hunger and from eating disorders of greater severity? It’s interesting, though, that when it comes to food, it appears as if we either consume too little or too much, never the Goldilocks paragon of “just right.”
Leftover spaghetti, my weight’s worth in Oreos, and more fun-sized packs of Skittles than I’d care to admit were consumed in the writing of this article.