Thursday, May 6, 2010

No Gyroscope

A few days ago, I was doing an online chat with a long-time friend of mine. She is a lovely person both inside and out. She once dreamed of modeling and has always had the figure for it. Food has never been an issue for her, though she eats abysmally. What I mean by that is that she eats fast food, instant food, and frozen prepared meals. She never cooks, and eats two meals per day. Much of the time, she selects from the 99 cent menus of various fast food places.

The thing that my friend does not do is overeat. She eats enough to be satisfied, and then she has no interest in food. In fact, the reason she doesn't cook is that the effort simply isn't worth it for her. She loves certain kinds of food, but she has an internal mechanism which tells her to stop well short of ingesting enough to put on weight.

She and I were chatting about addiction and I told her that I believe that I am a food addict and forever would be. She is a (recovered) alcoholic and former smoker, so she understands my situation well and has empathy for me. In fact, she's the most compassionate thin woman I have ever known and has never judged me or her other overweight friends for their problems with food.

While talking to her, I told her that I think that I will have to spend the rest of my life weighing, measuring, and counting calories for food that I eat because I have no internal gyroscope that serves to stop me from overeating. I don't know if I never had the type of mechanism that she and many other thin people have, or if it was destroyed over the years by my eating habits and psychological situation. Either way, it's a bit like a disability that I have to compensate for. I don't know how much I need to eat to survive and I can't properly read my body's cues (or my body cues me incorrectly because its tuned improperly or "broken" in this regard).

I think that this is the case for a lot of people who end up morbidly obese. Our GPS when it comes to food simply does not work correctly. We're like people who can't hear who cope by reading lips. They can't hear, but they can communicate and understand, so they cope. We can't know how much to eat, but we can monitor and regulate. Of course, it's no where in the vicinity of "easy", but there's not much choice if you want to feel better about yourself. I'm guessing no "disability" is easy to work around, and not knowing when to stop eating and therefore having to work hard to control your behavior is no different than any other problem in this regard.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Logical thinking!