Why I Always Reach For Food

Wish I didn’t succumb to this, but I do, I always do. The lure of tasty food. I eat especially when I’m upset or often when I’m bored. Always for a celebration. Food makes me so happy and it’s what I look forward to for the day. This just sounds so terrible, but it’s true.

It’s pure addiction – especially to junk food. Salty, sweet, buttery melted cheese, spicy, curry, it’s all enticing to me. Why can’t something like carrots draw me in the same way instead. I say carrots, because it’s my favourite vegetable.

Food delivery makes it too easy to get what you crave. I need to ban it from my life. This was especially so during lockdown when boredom and just feeling trapped, made me turn even more to food for comfort.

Tv is a major trigger. I think I’ve always connected it with the comfort of childhood. My childhood was filled with F&N Sarsi & Cherry (fizzy drinks/ sodas), smarties and ice cream. In school we had loads of unhealthy food too, but what a delight. The happiest memories always featured food.

My parents and grandmother, came from a good place. Because they endured actual hunger due to poverty, they were keen to provide us with enough sustenance, but it kind of went the other way. I still crave for my grandmother and mother’s cooking.

And no one had any nutritional knowledge then. My sister and I used to just eat steamed rice with tomato ketchup and we loved it. We also had a lot of bread with Nutella.

Once the weight is on, it is so hard to get off especially when hormones wreak havoc. I had no clue that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) would cause weight gain. And the steroids I was wrongly prescribed as a teenager, even more.

The only time I don’t feel like eating is when I’m with loved ones and am fully absorbed in the light of their company. It’s like they fill me up with their loveliness and as a result I have zero hunger.

Another thing I am grateful for is that my family never fat shamed me. So proud of them for that because that was highly evolved of them considering there was no awareness of how detrimental this could be. In fact they did the opposite and actually made me feel beautiful. Unfortunately others outside of this protective sphere did. Namely some abusive primary school teachers, the principal and nurses. Later on it was some people at work. I probably could write a whole post on this.

Social eating is a whole other thing though. It gives me pressure. I really hate force feeding. I recall my cousin force feeding me and I just wanted to throw up. And the force feeding was attached to love “if you don’t eat this it means you don’t love me” “if you don’t eat this I’ll go home”. She was a kid too, so it’s just learnt behaviour. She was definitely force fed as well. I don’t blame her and so yeah it was a vicious cycle.

I prefer to eat alone with no one watching, because there’s a shame attached to my eating or should I say bingeing. It’s been a coping mechanism for me since I was a child and nothing else works better as a form of comfort. And somehow healthy food like fruit doesn’t do it at all for me. I wish it did but it doesn’t in the least. No better mood lifter than junk food.

And without fail, there is intense regret and shame after I mindlessly succumb to yet another binge.

And why did I need comfort as a child? Just some deep trauma and abuse for years by someone my parents trusted who turned out to be a pedophile. I hate going into it as it just makes me so filled with rage and ashamed that I didn’t report it back then. I feel like if I did I would not have ended up as a victim in other situations and have such low self esteem. But then again, the system then, would have probably messed me up more. And I couldn’t imagine putting my parents through that. Or that person’s innocent children.

There was not much protection for children and a child didn’t have as much rights back in the 80’s. Many adults got away with abuse. Even now, there should be far more protection for children. Like a sex offenders registry. It’s shocking when I read of children falling victim to criminals who have offended before. So I think it’s high time.

If only a multiverse existed when I could have a choice to warn my parents beforehand and eliminate this person from ever existing in my life and destroying it. My deepest fear and shame is that there were other victims too and due to my cowardice, maybe some could have been prevented. But it’s been decades. I often wonder if they exist and if their lives have been uprooted too.

Every week back then, I could tell no one, and I told no one for years. I took comfort in food and sometimes I banged my head against the wall (think I was trying to erase the rage, disgust and intense stress I felt and couldn’t express. How I wish I could go back in time to protect that kid). It makes me angry to think I had to go through this. That rage has nowhere to go so I write.

Now I have to distract myself to gain control of my constant cravings. Something that works for me is computer games. This is so bad, but it’s the best distraction. I try to pick games that teach you something, so that it’s not time wasted.

Another thing that seems to have actually worked for me is intermittent fasting. This to me is not a diet as people have fasted for spiritual reasons too since ancient times.

I have zero hunger the three hours upon waking, and eating breakfast just triggers intense cravings and setting me up for failure for the day. So working with my natural hunger cues actually works really well. That and going to bed early, so that I don’t eat at night.

Movement helps a lot too (I refuse to call it exercise). The best kind of movement is playing with babies and little kids. I wish I had more stamina when one of my little nephews asked me to play tag. Told him I’m just too old. I really should make more of an effort next time. It’s such a blessing that he actually asked. And that in his mind perhaps I’m not that old and decrepit.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, Midlife Musings, Singapore Living, Trauma, When Work Sucks and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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