Thanksgiving is coming and with it the perfect excuse for gluttony, the perfect excuse to eat. We eat every day but we still look forward to Thanksgiving, primarily because it gives us a chance to consume food we otherwise wouldn’t get. For me it was/is the rare treat, like sweet potato or pumpkin pie, gumbo, turkey (which we only seemed to eat on Thanksgiving or Christmas), etc.
Also, there was the sheer variety of food, all in one place, all at one time. Fried chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, corn bread, rolls, roast beef, creamed corn, corn on the cob, cookies, cakes, soda, lemonade, fruit punch. Even when we stayed home, just the immediate family, there were always at least two meat dishes, four or five side dishes, multiple beverages, two or three dessert options. It was a twice-a-year smorgasbord. Well, there were also potluck dinners at church…forgot about those.
I won’t be seeing my family this year, unless someone turns up unexpectedly, and I am still looking forward toThanksgiving dinner, whatever I end up making or buying (and buying is winning out this year). I am trying to hold out for it, so I can do/eat something special and finally have a chance to gorge myself the way I have wanted to all year, even before COVID-19, and scratch this particular itch good and well…
I noticed, about a month ago that I have been eating through my feelings. It’s been going on for years and I just didn’t see it. I would be late for work, have missed the bus, be angry about something, or get bum-rushed by work orders, telephone calls, and supply requests as soon as I arrived at work, before I had a chance to breathe and acclimate myself and I would think “As soon as this is over, as soon as I clock in…”. And I would get a soda and a pack of miniature coffee cakes, or buy a large coffee and a cinnamon bun from the little coffee shop in the new academic building. Or toss a snack cake in with my lunch before I ran out the door, to try and make myself feel better after I got to work. I was eating to deal with my feelings, to adjust my feelings. But, I didn’t think of it that way.
So, I didn’t really understand the source of my weight gain for the last two, three years. Now, part of it is because of my medications: they are blocking this or making my body produce more of that, or both, or something else, and they make it difficult for me to lose weight, and even easier for me to gain it.
But, the rest of it is from casual eating. Not overeating as we understand it. I don’t sit down for dinner and eat three helpings of everything. I would notice that kind of behavior. No, i just have a handful of chocolate covered raisins here and a small bag of chips there and a soda or two a day when i was supposed to be holding myself to one a week, or less and eventually giving them up altogether. I was eating breakfast then having a coffee and a couple of donuts, then lunch, then, plus dinner and a late dessert. And only when I was trying to make myself feel better about something, usually when I was angry, or feeling too much stress.
And, it shows. Over the last two years, my weight has ballooned from 211 lbs. to 246 lbs., without any noticeable increase in my intake. My portions aren’t larger, my caloric intake remains basically the same. But, my little snacks have increased, multiplied, piled up, worked their way into my grocery budget and daily eating habits until I won’t go to bed without a cookie or two or a cherry turnover.
So, Thanksgiving has me worried. Stuffing my face for the taste of the food, and the variety and the pure pleasure of overeating, and the sheer act of gluttony a couple of times a year is one thing. Having to overeat in order to satisfy my demons and calm my waters is another.
I am going to eat a regular Thanksgiving meal this year. Just a turkey leg with mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a dinner roll – with one slice of pie for dessert. Or a rib dinner, with baked beans and a baked potato. Regular portions, one serving.
Next goal: find a non-culinary way of calming myself down and improving my mood, that isn’t a drug or large amounts of alcohol.
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