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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cold Pizza

There is hunger, which a 'normal' person satisfies by eating, and then there is eating, which a food addict does to satisfy...something. God knows what. Some say it's to fill the bottomless pit that lives like a raging monster inside them, never happy and always brimming with need. Others explain it's to dampen the feelings that are threatening to overwhelm them. And while I have been both places, stuffing myself until miserable to do one or the other, most of the time for me it's now simply about opportunity meeting weakness. This morning there might have been a little habit thrown in the mix to make the perfect trifecta of temptation.

Mindless eating to fill a void, mindful eating to purposefully change how you feel - these are things I understand, and I have worked hard to make them a thing of the past. Nutrition and exercise go a long way towards banishing them from MY kingdom. But this morning was a little different, and I found myself getting cold pizza out of the box for breakfast. Typically I break my fast with herbal tea first, then fruit either by itself or blended in a green smoothie. I know this is the best way to start my day, and goes miles towards avoiding the pitfalls of bad choices later in the day. Throw in some Omega 3's to ward against depression and I'm good.

One might think from reading thus far that I was binging this morning; standing in front of the refrigerator and stuffing big fat slices of pizza down my throat, but it wasn't like that. Not at all. So why did having two petite slices of a small cheese-less vegetarian pizza prompt me to sit down and write about food addiction? Hey, I even put them on a plate and carried that small plate to the computer desk where I sat down and savored each yummy bite of my cold, chewy, spicy pizza - which is now sitting in my stomach like a lead ball I might add. That would be the wheat crust - grains and I don't get along so well anymore but that's another story, as is the one about how real food doesn't make me feel heavy like this.  

So why write? I think at first it was to rationalize away why I made such a bad choice, but really it wasn't so I think it was about how reactionary it all was. I woke up this morning, went into the kitchen to put water on to boil for my tea, saw the empty pizza box on the counter and before you could say Jack Spratt I had the box out and pizza on a plate.  There was a tiny bit of me that carefully chose the two small pieces as 'plenty' and there was even the observer in me noting that I was on autopilot and not actively choosing to have pizza for breakfast. But it wasn't enough to stop me, it wasn't enough to think rationally about having the pizza later for lunch or dinner. And I think that is why I am writing this morning, trying to figure out why I didn't stop and think. Maybe there isn't anything to figure out. I love pizza, and cold pizza in the morning with a cup of hot sweet coffee is best of all. Since I no longer do coffee, naturally sweet pomegranate herbal tea sufficed, but I think it was just ... a bad habit temporarily taking over my ship of good intentions. And I don't like that. I want to be the captain. I want to decide what I am eating at all times. I wanted to be able to stand there and think it out.  Something along the lines of, "I could eat this pizza now and feel heavy and slow this morning and risk a low sugar episode in an hour or so which might cause me to overeat to compensate for being light headed and needy, or I could wait and have the pizza for lunch with a salad so it all digests better and I can walk it off right away."   If I can have that conversation with  myself now, what was keeping me from having it in the kitchen at 6:15am?

Yes, I know, I come from a compulsive family. And I love pizza. And for years upon years I have been eating cold pizza for breakfast. For sixteen years I worked at my In-Laws pizza parlour and there was an endless supply of mistakes to bring home and tuck in the fridge. "Waste not want not" my MIL taught me. Which works well for a successful restaurant, but for a successful waste line ... not so much. So I developed a habit. A pretty bad one, but still just a habit - something that can be broken.

So now that I have thought it out, I think the real reason I had to sit and write was all about the guilt. It didn't matter that what I ate wasn't really that horrible. It didn't matter that I ate a sensible portion. What mattered was that I felt like I had done something wrong, and our feelings are all we really have, right? Everything else is external, but we have to live with our feelings - at least those of us who have learned not to suppress them with chocolate cake.  So out of guilt I sat down to confess my sins only to find I hadn't committed any. I think that while I haven't broken that old habit, my new ones were able to contain the damage. I acted out an old ritual with an old friend, but even on autopilot I chose the healthier pizza (oh yes, there were rich cheesy slices of a combo in there too) and I chose an appropriate portion, and I didn't stuff my face standing up - I went and sat down in front of the computer like a normal person.

So after all is said and done, no apologies to the universe after all, just kudo's to me for being able to enjoy my cold pizza for breakfast because the recriminations came later and were dealt with in a just and timely manner here, and they didn't ruin one bite of my spicy little breakfast.

1 comment:

Tina said...


Great that you didn't let guilt derail you! I always seem to have such a bad reaction to the guilt. But I am learning! I think it was great that you put the feelings into words and realized that you didn't even need to feel guilty!

Who doesn't love cold pizza for breakfast??? Well, my husband for one. He shakes his head when I do that!

Have a great day and btw.. I love your style of writing!

Diet Buddy Girl