It’s not really about food.
“I wish I could eat like you. I’d have no problems losing weight.” Pia says to me at lunch. Then she looks at my tummy. Well, if I always ate like I do at work I’d have no problems losing weight either. I pick at my salad, limp and soggy, drenched in that kind of dressing you only get at restaurants. White and milky with a taste like starch.
The afternoon at work seems to pass backwards. On top of everybody working as if in slow motion I have to sit through one of these meetings which are held solely because my boss likes to hear himself talk. Also, it’s good to make him feel in charge.
I’m hungry. I’m always hungry. In the afternoon Pia brings a big tray of gummi bears. I never eat sweets at work. There’s no point.
Just when I’m about to leave the phone rings, and I have to deal with my boss yet again. Obviously he feels that I’m not enough of a team player. Ugh. It seems that somebody accused me of pushing too hard. Brain-dead snails, the whole lot of them.
Finally, I’m out. Today I’ll take good care of myself. I’ll take a nice bath, steam some dumb vegetables, and go for a walk later. It will make me feel great.
I’m hungry. My feet walk to the grocery store out of their own accord. I’ll just get a bit of chocolate. I had a bad day, I deserve a little treat. Just one or two pieces after dinner. There it is. Chocolate. Mmm. Home.
Finally there. I kick off my heels, get out of the constriction that’s the “power suit”, jacket with shoulder pads, short skirt, blouse that I can’t lift my arms in, pantyhose, underwire bra. Finally able to inhale all the way again.
While dressing in yoga pants, a tee, a hoodie, and two pairs of soft socks, I put the Red Hot Chili Peppers on. Loud. That’s better.
I’m beat. Open the fridge, get a cold beer. Fetch a glass. Unpack the chocolate, potato chips, gummi bears, and licorice. Pour the beer. Put everything on a tray together with my novel. I sit down in bed with my tray, and the remote control. Finally, I can relax.
I open the bag of potato chips first. They smell delicious, I put them in my mouth, and they crackle as I bite down. I’ll only eat a few, and then I’ll put the bag away. Spicy, crunchy, garlicky, hot. Just a few more, just a few. Now a sip of beer. A bit of licorice interspersed with the gummi bears. Chips, beer, gummi bears, licorice.
I start reading. The next time I look up the chips are gone. Oh no. I did it again.
I’m feeling bad. Bloated. Fat. Unworthy. I finish the chocolate. Whatever. I get up and fetch another beer.
It’s not my fault, food is the only thing I have. It’s my security blanket, my comfort. It’s like a cave. I dig myself in, and then I close the door. And I’m safe.
The taste, the texture, the feeling of being full.
It’s my drug of choice. It makes life bearable. It isn’t really important which food it is. It can be anything.
Of course, I’m not stupid. I know that it doesn’t really help. But I do feel better. At least for the moment.
That feeling of the salt rush comes first. The blood races up into my head. Making me a bit breathless. Next comes the sugar high. My heart beating faster. All the while the fat makes me feel safe and warm. The beer like a clear mountain stream going down. It would all be fine if I could stop in time. Just a bit and then close the bags, and put it all away.
I totally lose control around food. There’s this vortex in my middle. It’s always hungry. It sucks me in, and it doesn’t let go.
Afterwards I feel bad. Fat. Bloated. Weak. Sick. But the vortex still isn’t satisfied. I’m still hungry. If I wait a bit I can finish off the second bag of potato chips. Maybe I should take up smoking. At least I wouldn’t get fat.
If only I could stop eating altogether.
This is sick. Why can’t I stop. Nobody’s force-feeding me. I know I can do it. Tomorrow I’ll eat nothing but salad and yoghurt all day.