Alright, let’s get down to brass tax.
I don’t really know the origin of this term, but it seems official, and I’d like this to be official. It’s time to officially look at what I have been doing wrong.
I’ve thought about it. And I realized that my problem is that I eat too much. Duh! But upon closer examination, there are 2 particular things that are harder than others. 1) Weekends or weekday-weekends (ie: I haven’t seen you in forever and Tuesday is our only mutual free day), because I am, apparently, an overly social being and tend to have calendar appointments throughout the week that involve restaurants. And sometimes bourbon. But I’ll cover this someone other time. Today I want to talk about 2) Evening/TV-watching-eating, aka, da-da-da-daaaaaa…
I hate this term because I picture a fatter version of myself watching “Bridget Jones,” crying into a tub of ice cream with a giant bag of chips and a large half eaten pepperoni pizza by my side. And I haven’t done that in at least several years. At least not the tub of ice cream part. No, my emotional eating binges now come in the form of whatever large volume of food I can assemble from my pantry that a) tastes the ooey-est gooey-est and b) will take me the longest amount of time to stuff into my mouth. Favorites include popcorn slathered with parmesan cheese and garlic salt, and popcorn slathered in sugar and cinnamon. For a while, in some down and dirty moments, I would fully pour sugar into my hand and dump it directly into my mouth. Rough. I know. But none of my emotional eating involves crying. In fact, there’s really very little emotion involved. That’s kind of the point.
Look. I know that I am eating because of some sort of friggin’ feeling or some crap like that. I know that I am trying to numb out. I’m not an idiot. I realize that healthy, normal people don’t eat sugar directly from the container. But in such moments I lose all common sense and Ursula the Sea Witch rears her evil purple face once again.
You remember Ursula from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” right? Just go with me on this one. Remember at the end of “The Little Mermaid,” when Ursula the Sea Witch gets drunk with power and rises up out of the depths of the ocean to wreak havoc on our feisty and perky heroine?
That’s what it feels like when I’m standing in front of the pantry, door wide open, staring down the sugar carton. Like a storm that curls from the bottom of the ocean.
But here’s the thing. Don’t we all secretly love Ursula? Don’t we love how powerful and primal she is? I mean “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is a killer number and she slays it, and for a moment in that movie, don’t we all want to be her? Even though, we know she’s evil? Well, I do. I want to belt out that song about how weak everyone else is whilst I bump my voluptuous hips. And if you don’t feel that way, even just a little, then I think you are lying.
We all want to be that powerful and unabashed.
And that’s how I feel in the moments before a binge. Yes, I said it—the B word—you can all relax now. I want to be Ursula. I want to say to the world, “Say what you want, world, but I am a powerful, sexy, real, fleshy woman. And I will do whatever I want to do, and you can’t stop me. Feel my wrath!” Ok, maybe that’s a little overboard, but that’s how passionately I feel in those pre-binge moments.
And no, therapists out there, I don’t hear other people’s voices in my head, telling me I can’t lose weight. Sorry therapists. I’ve lost weight. Lots of it. I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone mind that Jen Reiter, loser of 105 lbs., is capable of losing 20 lbs. That’s not the voice that I am fighting. The voice in my mind is just saying “no.” As in “If you want to lose weight, then NO, you cannot eat 5 points of popcorn slathered in 12 points of parmesan and garlic salt” (for all you non-WWers out there, that’s more than half my allotted points in a day). And while I can recognize that this voice in my head may be right, I just don’t like being told “no.” When I am told “no,” Ursula takes over.
So here’s my thought.
Maybe I should tell Ursula “yes” more often. Maybe I should let her out to proudly shake those hips in other areas of my life. Maybe she wouldn’t be so demanding and explosive while standing in front of my pantry if I channeled her throughout my day, calling on her to make gutsy, bold decisions that make me a woman to be reckoned with.
Or maybe the next time I face down the popcorn or the sugar or the crackers or the whatever, I should just picture myself as a greedy purple octopus-lady. Maybe that would snap me out of it.