I would love to get inside the mind of an effortlessly thin person for a day, just one day. I would love to see food through their eyes and somehow retrain my brain to think like their brains. Because that’s where hunger really is, right? In the brain. My husband is one of these “couldn’t-get-fat-if-he-ate-a-gallon-of-Haagen-Dazs-a-night” people. The woman I carpool to grad school with is one of these people. All of my sisters-in-law are these people. How does it work? When there are warm, sugary cinnamon cupcakes in the office, what goes through your mind? “Eww, gross”? “Oh gee, I think I’d really like to have a fourth of one of those”? “Who needs cinnamon cupcakes when I have a ziploc full of celery”?
No perennially skinny person I know seems to have these daily mental battles with food. In fact, they hardly seem to think about food at all. When they do, it’s kind of like, “Oh yeah…I guess I should probably eat something so that my organs continue to function.” I think about food all. the. time. When you see me staring off into space, I’m probably planning my next snack or meal. If there are cupcakes in the office (as there were today), I will think about having another one until they are gone.
For me, food is war–a complicated, frustrating, emotional war. I get to the end of a nerve-shredding week at work, and all I want is a giant four-cheese pizza, a beer, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to take me into the weekend. If I’m happy I won an award, I’m already planning the celebratory three-course dinner. If I’m feeling insecure and empty, super nachos just seem like the logical thing to fill me up.
I think time is also a big part of the problem. I don’t struggle with food as much when I’m not in grad school/working and I actually have time to be aware of what’s going on in my mind, body, and soul. I spend nine months of the year on autopilot, just trying to survive one day to the next, and that doesn’t lend itself to a controlled eating regimen.
Maybe one day I will have it all figured out. Maybe I will find a way to become that skinny lady. If I do, you can count on me letting you know exactly what I’m thinking.