You would think that I’d be thrilled to finally be eating, but I’m actually not finding it as exciting as I’d imagined. Transition has brought back an old nemesis that I thought I’d left behind; HUNGER.I hadn’t actually felt hungry since my second week on Optifast. Now, because my digestive system has been kicked back into action, I find myself watching the clock, waiting for my next shake, or my one meal of 4 oz. of protein and a cup of veggies.
My recent hunger has conjured another familiar fear; food obsession. Before my classes at the bariatric center and my time on Optifast, my waking hours were spent thinking about what I would be eating next. I’d mentally prepare meals before I ever set foot in the kitchen, and a trip to the grocery store was equivalent to a day in Disneyland. Being on Optifast briefly halted that.
Yesterday, as I drove home from the gym, I found myself mentally preparing and eating dinner. Granted, I was mentally preparing an egg white omelet with spinach, red onion, green peppers and mushrooms–not a bad meal. But, what frightened me was the way I was thinking about food. These were thoughts that went beyond the normal, “Hey I’m gonna make an omelet for dinner. It was sensory; I was seeing it, smelling it and tasting it with my massive imagination.
I turned on the radio and broke my gustatory reverie with thoughts of swimming, power walking, and recumbent elliptical conquering, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that over-imagining my dinner was a problem; a diet sin that was just as bad as sneaking a piece of chocolate cake.
I’ve made so much progress, and I haven’t physically cheated on my meal plan,ever, so why do I feel guilty for thinking about my next meal, beyond regular planning? Why is their so much confusion for me where food is concerned? Why can’t I be passé about food like “normally weighted” people seem to be? I’ve heard my size 8 friends casually say, “Oh, gosh, no wonder I’m hungry, I forgot to eat lunch.” I don’t propose to skip a meal, because I know that’s not good, but how does one not care enough about food to forget to eat?
Perhaps I’m worrying too much about this. I know the proper thing to do is to make a written plan for my meals one week in advance and to enjoy them as I mindfully eat. I also know that I have other experiences that I can replace my food thoughts with. I can mentally plan vacations or shopping trips, revisit fun with a friend, think about my cats, my blog, or my latest needle-felting project. I guess I’m just wondering when it gets easy, natural, and casual? When will I make the transition from “OMG FOOD, NOM, NOM, NOM!!!!” to ” Hmm, I think I’ll make an omelet for dinner tonight” ?
I know I’m strong and I can work through these worries. I’ve just been sailing through this whole thing so successfully, that the return of my old way of thinking has surprised me. I know it will get easier and that I’ll find a balance. 🙂
Do you struggle with food obsession/shame or have you conquered it? Please share your secrets in the comments. 🙂