My favorite platitude is this: everything in moderation, including moderation. Right now, it’s a handy quote that helps me feel better about my binge eating.
I’ve been working a lot of late. And without going into the banal details, let me say that my life right now is essentially long stretches of labor punctuated by moments of panic that I am missing really important stuff in my kids’ lives. Weeks and weeks of that kind of anxiety can take their toll, and I’ve taken to self-medicating with food, which works great, because I also have no time to work out.
Once unleashed, my lack of self-control knows no bounds.
My mornings start out ok. I drink green smoothies for breakfast. Not fancy ones. I just cram my blender full of whatever vegetable I have, add some fruit, dump in some chia, and try to think of the experience as the price I must pay as a 35-year old for regular BMs. So breakfast, no problem.
Well, one problem. The problem with breakfast is that I drink it at home. Once I get to work, I feel that I should be rewarded for having made it there. But I’ve already had my smoothie. And this leads me to an observation: from the perspective of 9:00 AM, the distance between 9:00 AM and lunch might as well be seven weeks. And no one can go seven weeks without food. If it’s a good day, someone has ordered pastries for a breakfast meeting and there are leftovers to tide me over. On bad days, I have ripped open packets of duck sauce with my teeth and squirted them into my mouth like Lance Armstrong sucking on energy gel to power himself over the Alps. Even with a mid-morning snack, I rarely make it to noon for lunch. As a rule, I set all lunch appointments at 11:30. I tell my friends it’s because I want to beat the lunch rush. But that’s a lie. It’s because by 11:30, it’s been an hour since my mid-morning snack, and I am really, really hungry. Like grizzly-bear-ripping-tops-off-of-cars hungry.
In my 20s, I worked at a PR agency that stocked its freezer full of communal waffles. On my first day, someone showed me around the hip kitchen and beer tap, and casually mentioned the free communal waffles, and I was felt that I had arrived. In any event, the freezer was also stocked with a lot of TV dinners, which I also assumed to be communal, and which I ate for a full month before the day that the receptionist sent out a company-wide email that said, merely this:
“Could WHOEVER is eating my Trader Joe’s chicken bentos PLEASE STOP EATING THEM!?! Thank you.”
That story is basically my professional origin story, because it explains why I had to leave PR and go to law school. I once tucked the back of my skirt into my underwear in the 8th grade and I don’t even think that experience was as mortifying.
Anyway, I digress. My point is that my appetite has led me astray. And it’s leading me astray now, as I give myself over to stress-induced cravings. I justify everything I consume by saying that I deserve it. I deserve to eat a pound of pad kee mao for dinner at my desk, and then to pick up a burger and fries on the drive home at 9:30 PM. Because I miss my boys, I miss working out, I miss fitting into my pants.
The heart knows what it wants, and right now, it wants my husband and my kids, and a return to normalcy. Until I can get that, I’ll settle for food, and lots of it.