I’ve been in all-day meetings every day this week. Meetings where most of the content being covered doesn’t directly concern me, so my mind can wander. A lot.
Usually when my mind is left to wander without anything to focus on, like, say, the internet (because the last thing I want to hear from my boss is, “One of the people at the meeting complained because you were reading Cracked.com in the meetings last week…”) one of two things can happen. One is that my mind will wander around into all the little nooks and crannies of my memories and start picking off scabs. That definitely happened today and I got back to my hotel room in a terrible funk. I dealt with that by going straight to the fitness room and working my body extremely hard. The endorphins kicked that mood to the curb. I didn’t want to, I was mad about going, but it was my PLAN, dammit.
The other thing that can happen is that I notice things and make a lot of free-association theater in my head. One of the things I noticed is that I’m preoccupied with food. Most of the week I’ve been sitting in the back row and the snacks that come in every afternoon are placed right behind me. With nothing and nobody between us. You know how some people can feel eyes on the back of their head if somebody is looking at them? I have that sense for food. There wasn’t a minute I didn’t know it was there. Just sitting there…alone. Delicious. There was hardly a minute that I wasn’t trying to talk myself into a cookie or a brownie bite…and then talking myself out of it. (I am still winning that war, btw. Cookies and brownie bites consumed by me this week = 0!)
When I realized this I was sad, and I thought about what that annoying article “The Fat Trap” that came out last December said, the part where it said that people who’ve lost weight “reported feeling far more hungry and preoccupied with food than before they lost the weight. ”
Hungry and preoccupied with food. Hmm. I’m hungry periodically throughout my day, it’s true. I actually think this is a feature, it means I am in touch with my body. Before I lost weight I was never hungry – I ate constantly and never had a chance to let my body lead me on the decision of when to eat. Preoccupied with food – guilty as charged. But you know what? THAT IS NOTHING NEW.
I’m preoccupied with food now – I have to plan my meals, when I’m going to eat, how much, where I’m going to get it, etc. When there’s a plate of cookies and brownies on a table behind me, beckoning me, yes, you bet, I’m preoccupied. I’m talking myself out of the situation, figuring out whether the calorie trade off of having one is worth the gym time or scale result.
Before I lost weight I was also preoccupied. If somebody had set a plate of cookies and brownies on a table when I was heavy I would have eaten two or three, then spent the rest of the time wondering how many more I could take without people noticing or it looking bad. I would probably have spaced out my forays to the plate of treats so as not to arouse suspicion. For some reason I didn’t want people to think I ate an outrageous amount, I wanted to seem normal, I just…didn’t know how. But I definitely would have been fixated on getting more of those treats every time I stood up for a break or to get coffee.
So yeah, I guess I am and always have been preoccupied with food. Now I’m preoccupied with finding ways to handle myself and not blow my weight management plans. Now I have tools and skills to stay on target for my health goals. My preoccupation has shifted.
If I’m going to be preoccupied with food (and since so far it’s been a lifelong condition, it appears I am) I’d rather my time was spent figuring out ways to navigate the dangerous food environment out there in the world, instead of finding sneaky ways to deflect notice of my gluttonous behavior.
I think I ate all of the strawberries used as garnish on those plates of treats, though.