I have an addiction to food. (Yes, this is going to be another “I eat Cheetos and drink tea just like everyone else” post, but just stay with me and remember that I’m still getting my bearings here. I’m currently having to sort through an entire life’s worth– well, an entire young life’s worth, an entire childhood’s worth– of objectively meaningless overly ironic thoughts and experiences that for one reason or another have stayed lodged in my long-term memory, so that I may gain some sense of what it is I’m trying to get after with this blog. To figure out what vast, complex swirl of chemicals and neurological signals and synaptic reactions throughout my life have led me to plop myself down in this chair right now and clack these words into a text box for you internet people to read. Maybe it’s just a desperate plea for attention from someone living in a world that no longer wants or needs people on their phone screens to give their lives meaning. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Who knows. All I can say is that my eat-scapades are what I’ve got right now and I don’t know what else to tell ya.)
Right, so I have an addiction to food. Or… I don’t know if you could call it an addiction anymore. It was an addiction at one point in time, but then my senior prom rolled around and I told myself that I was going to lose weight so I would be able to fit into the tux I had bought the year before when I figured that I had gotten just about as large as I was ever going to get and could therefore buy a nice tux that would last me for at least a few years so I wouldn’t have to bust out $200 to rent one from Men’s Warehouse for every single school dance. So I went on the carnivore diet and began eating only meat for every meal. The problem with this was the fact that I went to high school right across the street from a Chipotle and a Shawarma and my friends and I would eat lunch there every day. Now, as much as I like to tell myself that I’m disciplined and can follow through on my personal goals and commitments, one can only resist the sweet call of cilantro rice and fried mediterranean potatoes and warm tortillas and crispy, crunching grilled pitas for so long before they decide to just throw in the towel and accept being fat. So, I gave up on the carnivore diet soon enough.
But I still needed to lose the weight, so I looked to see if there were any diets around that allowed you to eat all the fat and carbs and sodium and sugar you wanted and still, through some secret, magical trick of evolutionary biology, end up a Chris Hemsworth look alike.
While this request may seem completely ludicrous, one can never underestimate the powers of the internet in providing validation for even the most absurd of human fantasies (or perhaps you haven’t heard of tentacle porn?) (I’m a youth group leader, I shouldn’t be talking about tentacle porn.) Anyway, while I wasn’t able to find any single program that met the full criteria of my imagined mega-portion diet, I was able to find some that incorporated at least a few of the desired elements, then spliced these together into a meal plan that looked almost exactly like the one I had before, only now I didn’t feel as guilty about it because of science.
When I still wasn’t losing the weight, I began switching the diet up every day and trying new, increasingly more bizarre eating schedules to see if anything stuck. One day I might eat only vegetables and hummus, another day I might try inverting my typical meal plan and eating dinner for breakfast, breakfast for lunch, and lunch for dinner. Some days I would just have eighty spoonfuls of peanut butter at varying points throughout the day and that would be all.
Thus, my eating habits went haywire. That’s all I’m trying to clarify here. I had an eating addiction, now I just have a very general eating problem which may be an eating disorder but who knows– I’m still alive and I can still write and think and breathe and that’s all that I really care about right now. Plus, if it was an eating disorder, it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to write snarky blog posts about it, and what fun are problems if you can’t write snarky blog posts about them? What purpose do suffering and uncertainty and the chronic, implacable sense of unease that lurks at the heart of mankind’s very soul serve if not so that they can be exploited for the sake of a few internet chuckles?
But I’m getting distracted. I need to get back to my main point. My main point is that, over time, this problem began to interfere with my productivity, and I found that I wasn’t getting anything that I needed to get done done because I was spending all of my time standing in the pantry eating trail mix and peanut butter. Now, I could care less if I wasn’t doing my laundry or emptying my dishwasher or organizing my spice cabinet or whatever other chores we’re expected to perform for the sake of hygiene and cleanliness and preventing green, cat-sized bacteria from growing on our silverware. But, I wasn’t writing and that was a problem.
So I began working to develop new habits that might help me re-focus my mind on my writing. I started waking up earlier in the morning, and made writing the first thing I did when I got out of bed. I started setting a timer for myself and created a word-count goal that I had to meet before I did anything else that day, and I moved my workspace to a tiny, secluded closet in my basement in an attempt to free my writing time from any outside distractions. This strategy proved effective, and I soon found myself easing back into productive habits.
Now, in this closet there’s a cabinet in which my parents keep our emergency food stash– our emergency food stash meaning a collection of boxed cake and brownie mixes that they keep on hand in case they ever get asked to bring dessert to a pot-luck dinner party. In this cabinet is also a little filing box covered in a leafy, autumnal pattern, which I always just assumed was filled with old photos or art projects or some other collection of future landfill denizens that my Mom keeps around on the insistence that she’s going to put them into a scrapbook. Up until recently, this box hadn’t piqued my interest in the slightest. After all, the closet is full of hundreds of little boxes just like it, none of which contain anything interesting enough to distract me from the task I had set up shop there to complete.
However, the other day, I got writer’s block. And I have this habit when I get writer’s block where I start pacing around the room and picking up random items in my immediate surrounding area thinking they’ll imbue me with the strength and confidence I need to stop pacing around and picking random things and get back to writing. So I was pacing around my little closet and opening all the cupboards and drawers in the cabinet and picking up the brownie mixes and the cake mixes thinking that perhaps they may trigger some Proustian recollective trance that would propel me through the rest of my writing for the day. But they didn’t so I put them back and turned to the little autumnal file box. I picked it up and opened the lid and GUESS WHAT I FOUND INSIDE–
(In case anyone can’t tell by the drawing, what I found was my Mom’s secret stash of chocolate. The chocolate that either she or my Dad have bought on impulse at the grocery store over the years only to remember once they get home that they’re trying to eat healthier and need to stop impulsively buying chocolate when they go out.)
So, my writing space has now been compromised by the ever-lurking, within-reach presence of Lindor truffles, Dove chocolates, Hershey’s kisses, and Skittles (the Skittles are particularly dangerous because I LOVE SKITTLES and neither of my parents like them that much and so I know that if I eat them all, probably no one will notice anyone and the world will just keep spinning and I’ll be able to live a happy life without ever having to fear repercussions from my sin.)
I don’t know what to do. The little box has become like Bluebeard’s closet. Now that I know it’s there, I can’t take my mind off it. I find myself trying to work on a story (or this very blog post, which has taken me THREE FULL DAYS to write) and I can’t because every two seconds I find myself getting up and wandering over to the cupboard, taking out the box, opening its lid, staring at the candy inside for twenty seconds, then screaming “DON’T EAT THE CANDY! DON’T! EAT! THE! CANDYYY!” in my head, shutting the box, and sitting back down for about five minutes before I repeat the process all over again.
It’s a problem. What’s even more of a problem though is the fact that, since I’ve spent three days writing this post on account of being distracted by the siren song of my parents’s hidden confectionery, I’ve since forgotten what it was that led me to write about this topic in the first place. I had a grand epiphany the other day that caused everything in my life to click into place, and I thought that the box of forbidden chocolate would be the perfect metaphor for it and that’s why I started this post, but I can’t remember anymore what that grand epiphany was.
I guess that’s how this blogging thing goes. Sometimes you surprise yourself with new discoveries, other times you just ramble on for 1800 words– (DEAR GOD! 1800 WORDS!?!)– sometimes you just ramble on for 1800 words talking about food. I suppose I need to stop being so harsh towards those “I eat Cheetos like everyone else” blogs.
I’m gonna go eat some Skittles.