I don’t mean in that glib, “If I wasn’t addicted I’d stop eating entirely” sort of way. I mean I think there’s a real addiction going on here.
See, for the most part I’ve always been an eat-whatever-whenever sort of person, and although I rather and generally practise having at least one “big” meal a day, my greater tendancy is to graze – eat little bits of things throughout the day. A piece of fruit, an empty-calorie snack, whatever. It didn’t strike me as a problem though – in fact I’d heard that in some ways grazing was a little healthier for your body because it kept your energy level relatively constant rather than subjecting it to peaks and valleys as you swung from main meal to main meal. (Has something to do with insulin production I think)
Until recently, that is. I’ve been trying to put myself on a diet, you see. I’ve managed to pack on an extra 30-40 pounds that I would very much like to rid myself of. Aside from the unsightly gut it has given me, it’s also playing silly buggers with my system’s ability to regulate its temperature properly, resulting in the development of my competition sweating ability. To that end I decided to alter the content of my routine, if not my routine itself. Rather than chips and other junk food to snack on, I’d buy fruit or low-cal yogurt or something like that instead. I wouldn’t eliminate chips completely, but rather I’d save it for an occasional treat, just so the whole diet thing wouldn’t feel like I was giving up many of the things I love entirely. It would make the process take longer, but that was something I was perfectly willing to concede for the sake of being able to stick to the diet without (too much) temptation to really cheat on it. Plus, whatever diet I went on had to be sustainable even after I’d lost the weight I wanted, so I couldn’t just go all tofu and salad. (I hate tofu anyway)
If nothing else the whole process has made me take very close looks at the nutritional information panels on foodstuffs – which provided me with no shortage of shockers regarding how many calories and how much fat the crap I stuffed my face with contained, as well as pleasant surprises that some of the stuff I loved was also amazingly low calorie. So, I developed a sort of loose goal: Try and maintain as close to a 1:1 Calorie:Weight ratio as possible (i.e. for every 100g portion of food, try and maintain a calorie content at or under 100Cal.) Low fat was always preferable too, of course. This gave me something to shoot for and made it easier to figure out what sort of foods I should be eating and what I should really avoid.
It’s a simple plan, really, but I am a big fan of the K.I.S.S. method, and dieting needn’t be complicated anyway. It’s been pretty easy, actually; I happen to like a lot of things that also happen to be low calorie, low fat, and taste good. However, another thing I have been trying to do is to break myself of the grazing. This is where the problem has manifested itself. I can’t seem to do it.
It doesn’t really matter what I eat, only that I do. If I don’t I’ll find myself almost automatically looking for something to nibble on and I have to mentally smack myself upside the cerebellum. Only 10, 20 minutes later, I’ll find myself doing it again and I have to tell myself to cut it right the hell out. And then again shortly afterwards – and sometimes I’ll just give in so I stop looking. I know I am doing myself no favours in acceding to my craving and am only making it harder to stop, but … well, sometimes I’m just a friggin’ weakling.
So, what the hell? Am I addicted to food or am I just such a creature of habit that I’m compelled to do it because I’ve been doing it for so long? Does the difference matter? I really need to cut the crap and start kicking myself in tender spots every time I have the urge or I’ll end up forgetting what my lower half looks like.