I have a problem with overeating… but not the kind you’re thinking of
I have a problem. There is a food I can’t stop eating. And it’s not cake, or cookies, or donuts, or Starbars, or ice cream, or any of the other so-called “bad foods.”
My problem food, that has recently become an issue, is hummus and rice crackers.
It’s not that I’m binging, and I certainly can’t even remember the last time I felt over-full (I think it was when I had Indian food early last summer with some friends and ate too much rice too quickly). But it’s a problem because every time I’m hungry—seriously every time—I want hummus and rice crackers. And if I give in to the temptation, I often eat so much of it that I don’t have appetite left for the other good foods I want to be eating, like fresh fruits and veggies, fish, etc.
I know how to fix this problem and the words “diet” and “willpower” have nothing to do with it. In fact, I’m going to use a different word I like much better: intentionality.
I’m going to be more intentional about eating hummus and rice crackers.
I’m not going to grab the whole container of rice crackers, I’m going to get a dish and just take a handful of what I want to eat.
I’m going to plan out what my meal will look like before starting to eat the hummus and crackers. That is, I’m going to have in mind all the other good things I’ll be eating rather than just get caught up in the deliciousness that is the hummus and rice crackers.
I’m going to eat more slowly. I’m going to wait until a few seconds after I swallow to reach for the next cracker.
Honestly, I am aware that this whole post probably sounds like a joke. I assure you, it’s not. I’m completely serious. I have a problem with hummus and rice crackers.
But the problem is not binging, as I’ve already said.
And the problem is not emotional. I’m not “eating my pain.” I’m not stuffing some big feelings down by eating too much. I’m not avoiding anything. I just happen to freaking LOVE the taste of hummus and rice crackers so much that I don’t want to stop!
And the problem doesn’t require a diet, willpower, or an Overeaters Anonymous group (in fact I’d actually love to see the reactions of the folks at one if I went and said my problem was hummus and rice crackers!)
So this post isn’t a joke. I’m serious—I’m going to be a lot more intentional about eating hummus and rice crackers starting today.
The real joke is that we’d treat cookies, or cake, or Starbars, or any of the “bad foods” differently. The assumption that if I couldn’t stop eating ice cream, it would be a different problem than that I can’t stop eating hummus and rice crackers.
Or another real joke here is the assumption that overeating a particular item is a bigger deal because I’m fat than if I was thin. That if I was thin, obviously my metabolism would be taking care of it, but if I’m fat, I’m obviously fat because I can’t stop eating hummus and crackers (which, just in case you missed it, is ridiculous because I’m not overeating in the sense that I’m over-full, I’m overeating in the sense that I’m not getting a good variety of other foods).
Now, I really don’t want to downplay the fact that some people really do struggle with emotional over-eating. It’s a real problem in the real world. And often different groups and plans may help with that; since I don’t have experience with it, I’m really not an expert on that and I’m not trying to define anyone else’s experience.
All I want to do with this post is point out that our beliefs about fat people and overeating have become a joke. Fat people do not all overeat, and even when we do, sometimes it’s not the “bad foods.” And diets don’t work, and willpower is a buzzword. But as long as there isn’t truly an underlying, unresolved emotional issue at play, we can all choose, each day, to be intentional about how we eat.