Secret Eater

I think I’m going through a phase where I’m honest to others as well as myself, and today eating and food is something I want to come clean about.

A lot of people know me as someone who is highly health and calorie conscious. I make comments about food being oily and unhealthy and fattening, and in the dining halls and outside meals I shun calorific food with high fat and sugar content. Perhaps the reason I enjoy this image is that it makes me feel like I’m making an effort for my body. Yet when I went through a similar phase in the past I hated being associated with such because I didn’t want my identity to solely be defined by my relationship with food.

Even as I take a step forward in the above areas, I want to admit that I take many steps backwards in other ways. A while ago on Youtube I stumbled upon a series called the Secret Eaters. I didn’t actually watch it much, but it sums up quite completely what I do. Sometimes, in my room or suite, I find myself scarfing down foods I would not usually choose to eat outside. Yesterday I ate a whole pack of fancy gems and a lot of cereal and raisins. I was the main culprit that caused the Oreos on my suite table to disappear so fast. I know this is highly hypocritical, but somehow I will choose to eat just the poached broccoli and cauliflower and soup in the dining hall but when I’m hidden from view in my room, I consume snacks that far outweigh my dinner in calories and fat.

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I find that when I open a packet of something, I usually tell myself that I’m just gonna have a little bit, a few pieces, then put it back, but that rarely every happens. Once the packet is open, all of it goes down. Sometimes when I’m in these moods, it’s as if some part of my brain that regulates appetite shuts down and I shovel it down.

It’s out there now – my relationship with food. While on one hand I extend my arm and keep myself an arms length away, with the other hand I reach out and grab more. This doesn’t happen that often, but often enough that it is not a one-time thing. I guess I feel better that with my lower calorie intake of main meals, with those added calories from snacking, I end up with a more or less okay or higher than normal calorie intake. I don’t feel guilt per se, but I always resolve that tomorrow I’m going to eat better and healthier. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but I guess the fact that I tell myself tomorrow is going to be better means that I’m subconsciously guilty about today. Perhaps I secretly feel that I don’t deserve to eat good food like ‘those skinny people’ because they become blubber on me. At the same time, the way I consume food as described is in itself excessive and unnecessary.

Many people ask me why I’m so conscious about these things, and I tell them the simple answer: I think I’m fat. And I honestly do. Perhaps I need to remove this plank from my eye, but sometimes when I look at people I see ideal body shapes and less than ideal body shapes. I see someone with a tight stomach and I’d go ‘yes I want that’. People say that one should love his/her body as it is. But another logical and reasonable way to address this is – I love my body so much I don’t want to leave it the way it is. I think I’m fatter than I’ve ever been, even those days in Sec 1-2 and J1 when I thought I was really fat, and now I’m fatter than all that. My JC skirt is super tight when it used to be super loose and even a size too big at one point when I was training. I see fat as a sign of laziness and slobbishness and greed for food. Because it has to do with diet and exercise, if one person is fat it means that the person is not doing enough for his/her body. Yet at the same time I myself am that which I dislike in the way that I eat.

Peiyun posted the following that day from http://leftycartoons.com/when-i-get-thin/. She wrote about how there are much more meaningful things to do than to worry about your own weight and fatness and those are the things we should be doing instead. While I’m not subject to most of those thoughts except that when I get thin I’ll buy (or be able to wear) some nice clothes which is indeed a thought I have when I go shopping, sometimes I feel if you can’t even get something as simple as your weight in order how can you get your life in order?

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I don’t know what to make of this. Of course individuals are not so linear – we can work on many things at once – the higher, aspirational, more meaningful things, as well as these small, insignificant things that are stupid, really, in the bigger picture. Even as I chase God and know that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I was bought at a price, I still worry about this temple whether it fits my (or perhaps the world’s) ideal, though indeed it is universal that fat/excessive eating is no good. I guess we humans are just such contradictory beings. We hold some ideals, yet also are subject to other less ideal beliefs.

To people who read until this point, thank you! I think I sound super psychotic in this post. It’s so easy to bring in stereotypes (such as that of anorexia etc) but please don’t consign me to it as I don’t think I fall under it. It’s just an interesting tendency that I have and perhaps coming clean will help me put it down and move on.

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