I've had a problem this week . . . I've been insatiable.
It's a feeling that hits me about once a month, and when it does, I am overwhelmed by my desire for food. Over the past few years, I've become one of those people who gets full pretty quickly (even though I was never like that when I was younger), but when a bout of what I call "The Insatiables" hits, I can never seem to feel satisfied, not to mention full.
The result is that it feels like I eat all day long and simply cannot stop eating.
Don't get me wrong—I'm not a binge eater. I don't sit down and eat a whole pint of ice cream or a bag of chips. Or both. But during these monthly bouts of insatiability, I can slowly make my way through all of the food groups in one day. More than once.
This last round of insatiability started early on Monday and lasted through Tuesday night (thank God it's finally over), and I spent the first half of the week trying to figure out why I could no longer control my eating.
Was I upset about something? Was I falling back on the old feeding-my-emotions trick?
Those questions didn't lead me to an answer, but something else did . . . over the weekend (a time when I usually indulge), I had tried to make healthier choices. We ate light on Friday because we were going to the movies that night and didn't want to miss any of the film for bathroom breaks, and when we went out to dinner on Saturday, I intentionally ordered the lowest calorie item on the menu.
I think that's where things went off the rails because even after we finished dinner I still felt unsatisfied. Yes, I was full, but I wasn't sated.
The next day we went out for drinks with friends, and the beer made me too bloated to eat a real meal that night. Translation: I still didn't feel like I'd had much to eat that weekend.
Monday was when the sh*t hit the fan.
We were both struggling with our writing projects and, in order to cope, decided to indulge in some much needed comfort food: Skyline chili.
If you don't know, Skyline chili is served over pasta. Yes, pasta. With cheese. A single entree doesn't get much more decadent than that. Well, unless you add sour cream, which I have seen people do when they make it at home.
For some reason, every time I eat Skyline chili, I lose control of myself. It is so good that I feel I must go back for seconds and can't wait until I go to sleep that night so I can eat the leftovers the next day.
So this is how Monday and Tuesday went—eat some Skyline, have some more Skyline, and have even more Skyline on top of that.
It was like I was in a chili-eating contest.
And I was winning.
As cliched as it sounds, it was an unmitigated disaster, facilitated by the fact that Dave and I usually make enough food for four people, so we can eat it for two days (and thus avoid cooking two days in a row).
Thank God we ran out of Skyline on Tuesday night because, I swear on my mother-in-law's life, if there was Skyline in the house right now, I might not be able to stop myself from eating it.
So part of the problem was the Skyline.
But I believe the bigger problem was my meal on Saturday.
Dave and I try to eat out only once a week, and when we did that last weekend, I picked something that was healthy rather than indulgent, which is where I think I went wrong.
I always talk about how one of the reasons dieting doesn't work is because whenever we are denied something we want, we end up wanting it even more. (Remember how appealing beer was before you were twenty-one?) But sometimes I forget that even small changes in your diet can leave you craving the things you're trying to avoid.
That's what I believe happened to me this week—instead of having a greasy pizza or a nice fat juicy cheeseburger during my one meal out on Saturday night, I had vegetables and shrimp in a curry sauce.
Sure, it was delicious, but it was also light.
I've known for years that we NEED to indulge ourselves sometimes, so it's kind of embarrassing to admit that even I still make the mistake of denying myself that indulgence. I guess it makes me human if I have to remind myself not to take the healthy living thing too far sometimes.
The funny thing is that I know for sure that if I'd ordered the same meal last Saturday because I wanted it (rather than because it was healthy), I would have never had the problem I did after it was all over. I would have never had a raging case of The Insatiables.
As it turns out, my need to feel satisfied was simply psychological.
And now that I've figured that out, I just need to figure out what I can do the next time the psychological desire to eat chili for two days straight takes over every cell of my being.