I’m going through a problem here. At the risk of revealing myself crazy, I must admit to some eating-related fault; somebody help me out. Today, for instance, I just finished a decent-portioned lunch. Homemade pesto, whole wheat pasta, with shards of asparagus throughout. Totally filling — the carbs not lacking, the flavors satisfying. Everything was fine.
And then I get this weird urge. My belly is full and in fact feeling pretty darn huge. But I have a weak resolve and a strange inclination to act upon the worst possible thought in the world sometimes. I get up to go to the office kitchen again. I put coins in the vending machine. And two minutes later, at my desk, I’m crunching into salty chips, for no good reason.
This is probably a question best posed to a psychiatrist, since it speaks to non-physical yearnings, most likely. For one thing, that bag of salty chips goes against everything I believe in – it’s processed glut. It’s what people are eating instead of real food, and it’s especially disturbing to discover that in many lower-income communities, they’re pretty much getting all their groceries from a convenience store, meaning no fresh foods. And, the stupid snack-sized package ends up in a landfill and can’t be reused for anything, really, since it’s soaked in MSG-addled scents and covered with grime. (I once worked for a company that had Frito-Lay as one of its clients, and in their training brochures the company cleverly called their junk food: “Fun-for-you foods”… (shudder).)
Secondly, I wasn’t really hungry – physically, at least – to begin with.
I’ll call this compulsive “bad idea” eating disorder. Unique from binge eating, or compulsive overeating, it’s marked by either bad-idea foods or bad-idea times in which to eat them, such as right after polishing off a satisfying meal. Often, both.
Granted, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional junk food. I know this, and allow myself to some levels of tolerance, especially given the fact that I’ve thrown out pizza and take-out Chinese and all that would be deemed “eating out” for some time now.
Dieticians, nutritionists and health experts warn against eating as a form of recreation, but we food enthusiasts know that’s impossible. That would be like robbing our greatest joy in life.
Clearly, there’s a rebellious streak in my behavior that’s finding form in a new eating disorder. Perhaps this is a negative repercussion of the Not Eating Out strain, an unexpected antithesis to Reasons for Not Eating Out. I just hope it doesn’t last into my thirties, when my metabolism shuts down and I start inflating like a balloon (a la Violet Beauregard).
Life is a Willy Wonka world, sometimes.