Starving with plenty

I have carried on an unhealthy tradition throughout my life.

When I was a little girl my stepfather would often spend what money he could, what cash we had, on booze, it was an everyday state of being for him, drinking.

This often left us short on funds – which didn’t always lead to a full fridge. My mother was often in a state of deep depression and rarely cooked, ever. I can recall at the age of 7 or so, digging through the fridge and piecing together a “menu” that I brought to my mother, laying depressed on the couch, of things we had and things I could cook for her.

Even after they separated when I was nearly 9, I still recall feeling tense about food.

And until I was 18 I, subconsciously perhaps, ate as little as I could get away with – I was not consciously starving myself, I was trying to avoid costing us too much money, that I rarely felt we had. I loved visiting friends and family, with full fridges and cupboards, with offers of “eat this, have some more, can I get you anything else”. They would comment on me being a growing girl, but…

I was hungry.

When I was 18 and moved away, with two incomes and cheap rent, I was able to do what I could never do before – and buy whatever I wanted at the store. I’d buy things I didn’t like, and had no plans to ever eat, just so it could sit there, sometimes, just so it could rot.

16 years later and I still struggle with immense issues over food, buying it for myself.

I can eat out, usually, without an internal fight, little guilt. Somehow the removal of myself from “my” food leaves me less stressed. But the moment I go to the store, or look in the fridge and realize it’s time to go stock up, I feel guilty and I hesitate. Often I put off grocery shopping for days because I can’t stand the idea of feeding myself that way.

I’ve even tried to put up walls around what I can and can’t eat, so that I have fewer options at the store, and at home.

Today I stood in the kitchen, skipped breakfast, and felt that I should be happy with a salad for lunch and dinner.. I’m not trying to be thin, skinny or lose the weight, in any way. When I eat out, I can put away everything/anything.

But the idea of stocking up on things for me, is terrifying. The only way I have ever felt comfortable food shopping is when I’m buying for someone else as well.

I was pondering today how often we, people, will put our energy in to something empty and void of any return; and I was wondering how I did this to myself.

I put myself in to everyone elses hunger, in to feeding them, but not myself. I will never be able to get the energy from their nourishment, that I need to get from my own. (And I rarely eat out alone, if ever)

I don’t feel worthy of the food, of feeding myself, at any level.

Even now, the idea of going out and eating alone, the alone doesn’t bother me – the idea of eating by myself, for myself, leaves me feeling like a hideous person somehow…

I was barely over 100lb when I was 18, I went up briefly, then down again, then WAY up when I spent my energy delving in to work (I was over 200 for a while) – partially because I was on prescriptions that added a lot of weight and largely because I was able to tell myself that eating was necessary to be able to work – I guilted myself in to eating! I rationalized that having 2 or 3 decent meals a day was ok, because I was working. I would treat myself with candy, it was right outside my office, or on my desk after all.

The last few years, working at home, has led to an interesting switch in this. I eat healthier now (mostly because my gallbladder is no longer with me, perhaps I starved that out too?) than I ever have, even living with a hippy mother didn’t get me this green in my food. But I once again, don’t eat.

Am I happy to have lost 80 pounds? Yes, mostly. But I didn’t intend to lose the weight, and that’s what bothers me the most. People congratulate me and I feel … like a liar, a cheat. I didn’t really lose the weight, somehow I think it lost me..

I went overseas recently and ate, and ate, and ate – and I was with a friend, who encouraged it at every moment (it helps them to not feel so guilty too I think), and HEY! I was in Europe… of course I’m going to try it all. Right? And I gained weight, not a bad thing at all.

Now I’m back home and I see that I’m doing it again. There’s a bag of lettuce, a container of arugala, some green beans and… some rice. (I pat myself on the back when I add some fish or turkey to one meal every day, hey! I managed Protein!) And for some reason I can’t bring myself to go to the store, to the restaurant, anything. Today I’d be eating alone and because of that… I may not eat at all as I should.

Perhaps tonight I can “treat” myself in to having dinner, even if it is alone.


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