I eat because I am hungry. Everyone needs to eat when they are hungry.
But I also eat when I am tired. I eat out of habit. I eat because I am bored, or because I am having trouble thinking about a problem and need distraction. I eat because I have a cold. I eat because I mistake thirst for hunger, dehydration for low blood sugar.
I eat at all of these times, and I need to stop doing all of those quite so much.
And I still need to eat when I am hungry.
A Complex Addiction
“Chocolate is nice.”
– Matt Lucas
Food is a hard thing to be addicted to because it is something you actually need to live. An addiction to alcohol or nicotine or narcotics of whatever kind is hard to deal with, but on some level it is inherently tractable because it is possible to go cold turkey: you do not need the addictive substance in order to live.
Food is not like that. Food is necessary, and comforting. The feel of food in the mouth is lovely – the way that chocolate melts when you take sip of tea, or the sensation of crumbling cake – and the sensation of being full is comforting.
Food is an immediate reward, and the reality of unwanted effects on the body is a distant and abstract threat when there is chocolate, cake and cheese to consume.
I don’t have answers for any of this. I have fitness goals with deadlines and I will do well in working towards those for a week, or two, or a month or so, but then I will come down with a cold or some unidentified viral infection where my body is never really sick but just feels run down for a few days and then I will eat to fuel my body in its fight (I tell myself) while I have to go and buy bigger jeans because the ones I bought six months ago that I swore would be the biggest I would own no longer fit me.
Back to the beginning.
Right now I am hungry, but I am going to drink some water and then go for a run.
Because food is nice, but I need to eat less of it.