Saturday, March 15, 2008
one girl's trash is another girl's treasure.
i remember reading somewhere that you have a "food issue" when you find yourself digging food out of your trash can and then eating it.
i've done this. a number of times. i am not ashamed to admit it. well, that's not completely true. of course i'm ashamed to admit it, but i'm admitting it because i know you all have done the same thing one time or another, or you've thought about it, and if you haven't at least thought about it, i'm not really sure why the hell you're reading this blog.
back when i used to deny deny deny myself, back when i was convinced it was the ice cream, the cookies, the chocolate bars that were The Problem, not some other deeply-rooted problem in my psyche like, oh... one dead parent, one absent-in-spirit, alcoholic parent and a codependent core so tightly wound around my colon that an aroma of steamed brussels sprouts followed me everywhere.
(seriously, ask The Urban Family).
i'd gorge myself on The Forbidden Foods, and then in a redemptive tizzy, toss what was left into the trash. i'd bury it underneath piles of garbage, convinced that if i couldn't see these foods, i wouldn't want them, and that i would then lose the weight (or keep the weight off, whatever it was that day), and presto change-o all my problems would be solved.
moments later, i'd be back at the trash can, or at least hovering near,
GOODNESS, I NEED TO GET THOSE DISHES DONE.
a silent debate raging in my head between Prudence and Sloth, about whether to dive in and retrieve the sugary corpses at the bottom of the can, or not; by mentally ramshackling myself to the couch.
DO NOT GO BACK TO THE KITCHEN. DO NOT GO BACK INTO THE KITCHEN. SATAN LIVES IN THERE, AND HE TASTES LIKE VANILLA ICE CREAM.
Sloth usually won. i'd find myself digging through the fortress of sticky styrofoam to-go containers, rank tuna fish cans and days-old beer bottles to the bottom of the can to rescue the melty, leftover 1/2 cup of Haagan-Dazs i'd so ceremoniously discarded just a few minutes before. i'd shove the remaining melty mess into my mouth as quickly as possible, not even noticing it go down. as if the faster i swallowed, the less it would mean i actually ate it, and the less it would mean i actually had a problem.
and boy oh boy, did i have a problem.
i don't do that anymore. not in the same way anyway. i don't binge, throw all the food in the house away, and then return moments later to "rescue" it and devour it as if my entire life depended upon it. i do however, on occasion, still eat food out of the trash can. on principle, i know this seems a little strange, and i know that if my Aunt Charlene is reading this she's going to gasp as loudly as she did when i told her that i sometimes go commando, and she'll either send me 1) a check because she thinks i'm too broke to buy food and underwear or 2) a care package with food and underwear or 3) a check for therapy because i'm eating food out of the trash can and not wearing underwear. i am none of the above.
so, last night, i tossed some food because i thought i was done with it, and then i thought:
wait. i'm not done. i'm still hungry. i want another dumpling. but wait, the dumplings are in the trash. if i take the dumplings out of the trash and eat one, does this mean i have a problem? it certainly meant i had a problem before.
no, silly. it means you're still hungry, and it's not as if they've been sitting there for days. they've been sitting there for a few minutes. you're only problem now is that you don't trust yourself.
so i ate one, and then threw the rest of them away. for good. because i was done.
what a lovely word DONE.
i've spent so much of my life stopping eating before i was done, satiated, full. i'm not gonna do that anymore. i'm allowed to change my mind, order a second serving, eat what's in the to-go container on the subway ride home. now, i admit, taking food out of your trash seems a bit extreme, i guess, but it works for me, and i'm convinced the main reason i've stopped binging and reached a healthy weight is because i've learned to eat according to my body's needs. this has given me the freedom to eat ALL foods ANYTIME with no qualms (most of the time, anyway, and provided it's not covered in blue fur. use your noggin.).
there is no such thing as a forbidden food, a bad food, an evil food. food does not come equipped with angel wings or devil's horns. food does not have moral qualities. this even means the food ya just tossed into the trash can.
retrieving food from the trash can doesn't mean you have a problem. it might just mean you're a little bit thrifty. and have ya ever sampled a room temperature dumpling? tasty. just be sure to scavenge for a bit of the scallion sauce too.