Sunday, June 3, 2012

Starvation Justification

Recently, I had a colleague feel the need to justify her eating habits to me.  Naturally, I did my best to listen to her and reflect her feelings about her food choices, but I did not comment on solutions or what I thought about these patterns she disclosed to me.  I find it best to not get into deep discussion with colleagues about such specific issues they have with food because it is not a therapeutic invention, no, not an admission to another professional that you aren't taking the care of your body that you know you should.

The issues discussed and the issue I have had to deal with my most in my personal life is starvation.  I don't mean days of starvation but hours into half days of just ignoring the the fact that I need to fuel my body.  This is something I believe lead my path to obese life. From age 7 to age 30, I rarely ate upon rising. Between 7 and 20, 75% of the time, I neglected my body for the first 6-8 hours of the day by not eating.  I wouldn't eat at school, I wouldn't get up early enough before school to think about food, and I definitely wasn't eating at school.

I was ashamed to eat.  Cognitively, I felt like "well, if I don't eat, they can't say my eating is making me fat." Fat luck justifying that, when I would binge eat in the afternoons because I was starving. It was never healthy stuff in high school either. It was, honestly, gross stuff like Doritos and Spaghetti-O's or cookies and cream ice cream, or Snickers bars.  Stuff I wouldn't imagine eating now, but back then, it was what I wanted. I've come a long way when it comes to "what I want to eat." I've reframed my brain to crave cucumbers and pickles and Quest bars. But back then, I told myself I didn't like the healthy stuff.

Early post-surgery, I complained that I couldn't eat early in the day. I would refuse to drink even a protein shake until at least 10am. My resistance was high because I felt how tight my stoma was in the mornings. I aggressively got fills in my band because I wanted the weight to come off NOW. That got me into trouble in the long run, but now with an empty band and the emotional wellness to say, "This is what I need to eat, when I need to eat it," I'm doing things right, making the good choices for maintenance will always take effort.

Refusing to starve myself takes planning. You won't find me caught dead without a backup meal. Be it a mix a meal soup, pre-measured protein shake in my blender bottle, or protein bar, I am never without something that will curb my hunger and refuel my body. It took me a long time to realize I couldn't ignore myself, ever. Even those of us who understand the in's and out's of the psychology of it all experience resistance.  This addiction is unlike any other, the need to feed will always be there.

The need to plan for fueling is necessary. My doctor has preached to me that "you should be eating solid foods, not shakes" but shakes work for me on the go. They keep me in line. They provide the protein, and they work. So, I don't buy that need to have solid foods at every meal, ticket. I have a need to do what works for my lifestyle and my day. Understanding my typical day is difficult for most people, even my significant other. I'm in my car, at schools, at client's homes, at my office (for very brief periods), stopping at CVS or Walgreens to use the bathroom because my office is my car. It's hectic. I long for the days when I have a clinical setting that isn't constantly revolving. It's coming, soon, but until then, I need to do what works for my hectic schedule.  I'm fine with protein shakes, heck, I LIKE THEM.

So, find what works.  Starvation does not.  It's essential to eat or drink your nutrients within the first 1-2 hours of rising. Take in at least 100-150 calories, it gets your body ready and your brain in motion. It's for the best, really!

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