I could have called it binge eating, or emotional eating, or recreational eating. But, comfort, says it most accurately. I’ve been doing a lot of that, on and off, the last few years. But, lately, it has taken the cake. Or biscuit.
I’d like to call it a muffin top, but it has long ceased to be so. It used to be a steady doughnut. Not an almost two-dimensional vegetable cutting board, but ever so slightly protruding upwards and airwards. Which is fine, because no matter what the media has been telling you ad infinitum, you do need some fat to protect your internal organs. But, at the start of my quarter-life crisis, it graduated to a muffin. And now, it pretty much looks like a one-pound sponge cake, and even makes me believe I can fill it up with a one-pound sponge cake in one go.
On top of that, I’ve never been able to make a habit of exercising, or even enjoying it. The doughnut condition was made possible by the fact that, despite not liking exercise, I am rather nervous and fidgety, requiring to pace and move around instead of staying still. And also, frequently facing dental or digestive problems as a direct consequence of eating too much of something that is not good, kept things in check. But, now, it seems I’ve learnt to accept that, for the sake of finding comfort and coping with life.
It is not an extreme case, and you’re unlikely to see me in any horror documentaries anytime soon. But, what was initially just a necessity to buy clothes in a larger size and acquiring the beginnings of a double chin, is now a full-fledged ‘my body feels different‘ scenario. I walk differently, move differently, lean differently. I don’t move around as much as I used to, and I either think about or eat food all the time. Doesn’t help that even when you’re reading health articles, you are faced with a gallery of food-porn pictures. I call it comfort because it is not just semi-repellent salty or sugary foods. Just the act of eating something is so comforting, I could binge on cucumbers!
I believe there are different reasons why people eat extra – more than their bodies need to get through the day. The classic one is just because they enjoy certain disgusting but delicious food items. Others, because they are bored and eating gives them something to do, and the activity becomes a habit. Some, because they really enjoy trying out new foods, even making them, and do not think about the consequences. And some, like myself, who find that food helps them calm down, or sustain them emotionally through a situation, something that can be achieved with salad or boiled potatoes, just as with potato chips and samosas.
Everyone has bodies that react differently to food. I know plenty of people who stay the same median weight and figure, whether they eat less or more. My non-exercising median is also the doughtnut, which goes away if I do work out three or four times a week. The doughnut is just as flighty if I eat extra, because I can see the food getting absorbed into my body as fat, refusing to move, until I work out a system, usually one that involves not eating that again, or anything like it, and exercising.
Even writing this blog post has made me slightly more anxious, and even if I had a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits an hour ago, I made myself a sandwich of highly processed cheese and white bread while writing this. I’m also constantly thinking about the last sweet in my fridge, even though I don’t need it, nor do I particularly like its taste and texture. But, I know I’ll have it, just to stop thinking about it.
Though I’ve enjoyed writing this blog the past two years, I don’t enjoy making it out of my quarter-life crisis. Perhaps, it would make more sense to you if more details were given, instead of it seeming like the whinings of a Millennial, making much ado about nothing. (I went and had the sweet.) But, I know that the way I move my body, and the way I go about my diet, is not the way I am, or perceive myself to be. And I wish I could go back to that, and spend the next hour doing something productive, instead of looking up reviews of restaurants to go to on Sunday, even if I got sick the last few times I ate out.
What is your relationship with food? Any tips on curbing comfort eating?