Friday, April 11, 2014


Emotional eating is a concept that has come to me recently. It fits the bill perfectly to describe some of my habits. I've always been a lusty eater, piling on the gusto. One bird-like ex admitted disgust watching me eat. Others claimed to salivate seeing me hunker down with the perfect sandwich. As the years went by I realized that I eat much too quickly. What might be fine and good for a young man of twenty five seems off putting and unhealthy for a man of forty.
    I always knew that I ate too much. I would hover over snack tables at parties and eat continuously. I was the guy at the art show going back for more cheese and grapes every three minutes. I could show up at your house unannounced just when a cake was being pulled out of the oven. A gift. I received gifts of food often. I am snack-rich, I would proclaim proudly. People just handed food to me. Small bags of treats. A piece of fruit. It still happens.
    Consciousness surrounding food happened some years ago. A friend told me her mother was at an Over Eaters Anonymous meeting. I was surprised because said mom was quite slim. I associated over-eating with larger people. I initially may have dismissed the mom-at-meeting story as an example of a neurosis. It was quite a while later when I realized I ate way past the full point. I ate fast to shovel more in while the getting was good. I'd have seconds, thirds. I would pick at whatever was left on the table. At weddings I polished off every course and even hit into the cousin's steaks.
    When my thyroid bottomed out in my late thirties I started re-evaluating. I thought my weight gain was from my semi-strict diet of beer and bagels. Alas, it was not so. My hormones weren't working. My energy levels, always so high, dropped down low and with it a large part of my self-identity. I was always hyper, speedy, full of pep, happy-go-lucky. Now I was slow and tired. It happened, the doctors told me, for no known reason and it was here to stay, this new reality. I'm on the synthetic hormone now, every morning for six years or so. I'm stabilized and a little more prudent. I can't get away with eating five burgers at the bbq anymore. I can't burn off that kind of heat. My guts have rebelled. My ass is saying watch it buddy, this won't stand.
    I eat when I'm stressed. I'm often stressed. I cram the maw before I realize it. I'm stressed over nonsense, of course. The tension sets me to automatic and I revert to a habit that once worked but today spells danger. I'm a happy gourmand at times and at other times a ravenous junkie, wishing there was a spot in the 'hood that served small bits of meat from out a window. Meat on a stick for two bucks. I'd be there daily. Followed by a sandwich. Then a muffin. Finally candy. Willy-nilly, anything following anything. Indiscriminate.
    I'm learning slowly. I catch myself. I know it's emotional now. It wasn't always. But now, there is no denying it is. My overdue taxes turn to snacks, stress over work and the walk I'm taking to clear my head becomes a grazing session. I need a stick to chew on to avoid the gas station jerky or artisanal baked good.
    I'm moving slower now. I chew more. I put the spoon down every tenth meal. I say grace. I savour a little more than before. It isn't easy. It's very difficult. It's my final frontier, at least I hope so.
    I'd love to see the pyramids. I think southern barbecue may come first. I don't think of landmarks, I think of diners.