Falling in lust again… with FOOD
So, we are 6 days into 2011 and I’m making slow, tortoise-like progress into my new years resolutions. I’m happily discovering that this resolution: #2 complete the television series bible and pilot is probably going to help me with this resolution: #4 gain weight… healthily.
A few weeks ago I was told in no uncertain terms by a medical practitioner that I am severely under-weight, and need to gain weight. His exact words were “EAT something, you skinny bitch!!!”
I kid, of course. But he did suggest that my inability to bounce back quickly after bouts of illness in 2010 can be blamed to a large degree on my poor undernourished body, that I had been neglecting. I’m a bad mother.
Food and I have always had a tumultuous relationship. When I was really little, I enjoyed food, in a normal, healthy way. Meaning, I ate bowls of cereal before school, after school, and straight out of the box whilst watching television. I also enjoyed fruits, nuts, muesli, cheese, chocolate, more cheese, more chocolate, and blue slurpees (these days I’ll only drink something blue if it has rum in it. The wisdom of age). Family meals were fairly balanced – meat and three vegetables, rice and stir-fries, et cetera. Other “foods” served to me, though, were a little more… atypical. I was surprised to find out one day that my friends weren’t also enjoying the delicacy that is “corned-beef in a can”.
I was a slim child – I have inherited the skinny/tall gene from my father, who is seemingly incapable of gaining weight no matter how much he eats. And I ate pretty much everything that was served to me! I’m still alive, so it can’t have been terrible. And my mother actually is a fabulous, “experimental” cook (thanks mama).
Cue early adolescence, and my love of food turned into hate, as illness (let’s call it MURDOCH) declared all out war on my body. I’ve thus far abstained from going into details about my medical history, and I will continue with that. Suffice to say, the phrase “extensive tumour, possible cancer” was dropped like an H-bomb, as were the phrases “we need to operate” and “the prognosis is unclear”. And lots of pitying looks from surgeons and MRI technicians. Basically all the things you want to hear and see at 13, weeks after your first pash from a guy. Who looked like a young Benicio Del Toro. Damn… he was cute.
Several months after and between other kinds of treatments, I was put on steroids, to reduce inflammation. A side effect of the steroids was increased appetite… majorly increased appetite. I remember one day after being put on this drug regime, me eating the entire contents of the fridge. I’m not even joking about that. Cue massive weight gain, and an inability to fit into my favourite pair of jeans.
Another side effect of the ‘ol ‘roids: DEPRESSION! Oh yes, I had it all. And how did this obsessive list-maker respond to that depression? By trying to control my food intake/weight… with so much beyond my control, I decided to focus on the one thing that was still within my jurisdiction. And I was good at it! Dealing with a serious illness and simultaneously controlling your weight is, shall we say, ill advised. Trying to control your weight when your appetite is being chemically induced feels like physical and psychological torture. And subjecting yourself to this physical and psychological torture, when you are already suffering from depression?
Let’s just say I was an unhappy teenager. Who now hated food.
So effective I was at my weight control that I lost all the steroid weight gain, and then some. But it didn’t seem like enough – I remember looking in the mirror one day, when I clearly had bigger fish to fry, and yet, I still thought, “Ugh. My god, I’m fat”.
Thankfully, at some point, I got over my depression, was treated for MURDOCH, and started eating without measuring again – although subsequent bouts of depression sent my weight yo-yo-ing… but more for lack of appetite. And I never returned to that calorie counting obsession (which is, let’s face it, just a euphemism for “eating disorder”).
Most crappily (not a word, but it should be), from ’04 to ‘06, that sneaky bastard MURDOCH (who had already claimed my spine and my left arm in this battle) ended a four-year fairly peaceful ceasefire by lobbing a couple more grenades at me. The last one rendered me an incomplete paraplegic. Bravo, MURDOCH. Genuinely did not see that one coming.
And with that, the war was over.
In the years since then my weight has fluctuated. In the last two, I have definitely leaned towards the under-nourished side. I have not done this on purpose and am fully aware of the fact I need to gain weight (and pump weights too). Moreover I want to gain weight. But one of the unfortunate side effects of my spinal cord injury has been the over-sensitisation of my stomach.
Frankly, my stomach is a moody little so & so. I haven’t been able to eat a meal without feeling sick in two years. Even when I am famished, when I see a glorious plate in front of me, I am thinking “that looks heavenly… but my stomach is going to chuck a tantrum after this. Damn you, digestive system!!!” Every. Single. Time. I believe I have one of the noisiest stomachs in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s certainly ridiculously noisy for someone in their twenties.
So, that’s the hurdle that stands between me and nourishment.
I did however, in my intro, allude to the fact that my writing goals this year are actually going to assist me in overcoming this hurdle. I don’t know about you, but I find that I am most interested in food when:
a) I am working, or
b) I have finished working on something substantial.
It’s interesting that I generally don’t even think about food until I have to sit down at my computer and work! (a phenomena also known as “procrastination”). Funnily, this phenomena also occurs when I have to sit on the sofa and watch TV for research. In these circumstances, I don’t care how much noise my stomach makes… I am going to eat that second sandwich. In this way, resolution #2 complete the television series bible and pilot will actually assist me in achieving #4 gain weight… healthily.
I’ll just have to keep in mind the “…healthily” part, and not start snacking on highly processed items (should be easy… once you go organic, everything else tastes like asbestos).
If only I could conjure up this with a wave of my hand:
Good grief… this picture is actually turning me on. Surely that bodes well for my weight gain endeavour?
And if it does go well, at the end of the year, I will finally be able to legitimately use the phrase: “KISS MY FAT BLACK ASS.”
Wish me luck!
And best of luck with your resolutions too 🙂