Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Food is Switzerland

I always make food the enemy. It's always food's fault with it's calories and fat grams. I say things like I need to be more vigilant about my choices, and make it about the food. It is so not about the food. Lately I have been more predisposed to transferring how I feel to food. It has completely become a metaphor for how I feel about my life. Last week I did an experiment. I ate what I wanted, honored my hunger fullness, super checked in when I felt the impulse to eat, and kept food neutral. When it did not feel neutral I asked why, I journal'ed about it, and generally I stayed away from a large amount of mindless and emotional eating that I have been struggling with the past few weeks. I did lose weight last week so maybe I am on to something focusing on keeping food an innocent neutral land and returning the responsibility to me. I might have had a bigger loss had I not had dinner with my brother....

I love him I really do, but I find him trying. He lives in his own fantasyland and I kept caught between thinking well what does it matter it's his life, feeling held captive by it, and wanting to shake him. I spent from 6:00pm-11:00pm with him and he did not ask me one question about myself. I find that mind boggling. We were getting together under the guise of my birthday dinner he owed me but really it was about me seeing his new apartment. I have a confession to make. I could not care less about people's homes. Especially in NYC where people tend to move a lot. I just do not find it remotely a reason why we should all have to make a pilgrimage. The more I am ordered to come out and pay homage to a place you will leave in a year the more baffled I become. My brother actually purchased his apartment so that's a little different but still it just does not interest me. To be fair some of it is because home keeping and decorating is a huge insecurity and hot button issue for me, but I also just find it bizarre because I just do not feel that way. It never occurred to me when I bought my place to summon everyone to come and look at it.  Anyway back to the tale of the broski. His apartment is lovely, but his bedroom is hilarious. It's a deep red, basement room with two small windows at the top. It's a womb meets man cave. It says a lot about him in my mind. He does want to retreat and be left to his own devices.

I was doing okay not feeling too triggered by him or annoyed as we walked to dinner and enjoying his company. Then he informed me he was going to quit his job before having another one and was going to take the LSAT's....Uhm okay. So now you want to be a lawyer? I am trying to be kind and do something different and give him the benefit of the doubt that he is reacting to his work situation which has been sucky, but I am skeptical. He only sees a little of how he contributes to any given situation, knows everything, and always has everything figured out. As we proceeded to dinner and I am trying to be kind I did what I am awesome at. For real I could get a gold medal in this. I disassociated. I left my body floated amongst the trees in the Brooklyn night air and protected myself from hearing a lot of what was coming at me. My brother is a huge impetus for disassociation for me. I struggle to remain completely present in his company and instead vacate the premises. I used to think this was sort of awesome and scary just how much I could power down. When something bothers you, just retreat so far into yourself it doesn't or just step on out of your body and leave I mean what's not to love or what's the problem here? As it would turn out this is not terribly healthy or beneficial behavior it also is not hugely different from binging. It's shutting yourself off to feeling and denying feelings. Awesome. Great. I asked my therapist since I am so good at this if it could be used for good and she said, " Sure should you be in a tremendous amount of pain, or sustain an injury but when you're turning to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping you name it, you've turned a corner and it is no longer good for you." Crap. The theory is I have been doing this since childhood and I would agree. I do not remember a time I did not. We're going to work on it, but back to the food. I started dinner well and I have to say the place was delicious, if you find yourself in Clinton Hill check it out. I ate my appetizer leaving about a quarter of it honoring my fullness, then I ploughed through my main, and very much looked forward to dessert. I have to admit I descended on the dessert like I had never seen one. I am not proud of my cake actions. When I got home I ate cookies despite not being hungry. Dinner had left me stirred and I wish I had the list of emotions then, but I have thought of it post. In some ways I am jealous of my brother's unapologetic selfishness and irresponsible ways. He just does not care. He does what he wants. He does pay a price but at least he does it. I get so hung up on what I should do, or what is the right thing, and other people. Part of me wishes I did care less. His fantasyland also just irritates me and makes me feel like I do not know this person it is so foreign to me the thinking.

Overall I had a good week and made some strives at work being direct and assertive without being aggressive, managing the emotional eating and checking in, and getting back on exercise track. Dinner with my brother while I did eat emotionally and check out, I learned something and I saw just how he makes me feel creates a negative behavior I am part of this dynamic. He so wants me to be a part of his life and for us to be closer and his neediness is not appealing to me. It's not the only reason I keep him at arm's length but it's one of them. My pushing away and disassociating just makes him pull harder. I have not really thought about until now how this affects the people around me and in my life and not just my eating habits. Maybe I am more selfish and similar to him then I thought.


  1. Food is Switzerland, that's a good way to look at it! Trying to work on this myself, I never realized before how much I actually related emotion to food, but I'm working on breaking that association. One step at a time! I also do the thing where I kind of check out of the situation, never realized it could be detrimental. Guess there's something else I might want to work on! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Gen! As I learn more about the disassociating I will share. I try to blame the food less and make myself more responsible and it seems to be helping the issue. I also immediately flag anytime I want to eat something when I am not hungry. That was pretty under control for me but has flared up again. Not the food's fault but me being mindless, but so much easier to blame the food.

  3. I'm sorry you are dealing with issues with your brother. That has to be hard. I am at odds with mine as well. He has been dating a woman that neither me nor my family is crazy about. They just moved into together after dating for 6 years. We all know the next step is marriage but it is literally tearing us all apart. Sigh.

    Good for you though on making food choices and not giving food that power.

  4. Kelly- Thanks so much. Ugh it's so hard to let them be their own people isn't it?