I’m not hungry. I just want to eat everything.

Dinner RollsThere are two giant bags of dinner rolls in the office kitchen right now, leftover from a catered lunch yesterday, when there were four or five giant bags of dinner rolls. I am fifteen minutes into my last day in the office before a two-week break heading into the new year. The office is quiet, but not totally dead. Basically, it’s me and the Hamilton cast album vs the dinner rolls.

I’m not hungry. I just want to eat nine or ten of those dinner rolls.

I worry that if I don’t eat nine or ten of those dinner rolls, I won’t get any dinner rolls. Like, ever. This fear is at complete odds with my intellectual desire not to eat any of them, and my total lack of actual physical hunger right now. It’s also utter nonsense, one hundred percent irrational, because I live in the land of Plenty of Freaking Dinner Rolls. There is literally no point in my future where I won’t be able to get a dinner roll. Or two. Or nine, or ten. I think there are some in the freezer at home right now, leftover from Thanksgiving. Accepting that I am powerlessness over it would mean I would have to stop struggling, and clearly, part of me is hanging on to the struggle.

I keep waiting to be released from this obsession, as if it is going to come magically from outside of myself, and yet I stopped going to OA because I thought I couldn’t wrap my head around the 12-step notion of a higher power. But as I lay in bed this morning, feeling heavy and limp and unhealthy in a mild I’m-getting-used-to-this-feeling kind of way, it occurred to me that I may have missed the point of Step One: accepting powerlessness over my addiction. Part of me really still thinks I can beat this with willpower alone, and then when I don’t, it’s because I’m a failure.

I believe that if I continue to do two things, my compulsive eating will naturally fall by the wayside: 1) to deal with the dysfunction of my childhood and family of origin, to grieve, to let go of anger and resentments, to accept what I can’t control, and to practice mindfulness in my daily life (therapy is my way in to all of these things), and 2) be more accepting of myself and my body just as it is. That second part seems easier than ever, in theory — but not when I don’t physically feel well, when I know I am so often filling my body with food as a balm to uncomfortable feelings. That seems abusive, and I don’t want to accept that.

Those two things are Good Things. What they aren’t, though (with the exception of mindfulness) are tools to deal with the actual, immediate struggle in the moments that it is happening. I know I have to learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings and try to not focus on FIXING those feelings, but how? How does one do that? Even I know that the answer is, “You just do it,” and yet…and yet. When it comes down to it, I don’t make the choice to just do it. I get a roll. Or nine.

Except right now, of course, when I’m blogging instead. So maybe this is a thing? Just distract myself until it passes? What is “it”? Right now, it’s knowing the temptation is like, fifty feet away, and in abundance. Sometimes it’s middle-of-the-afternoon restlessness. Sometimes it’s worry. I worry more, lately, what other people think, and that’s something I thought I had let go of. I’d like to be able to let go of that again. I’d like to be able to see something delicious and not feel panic that I’m going to miss out on it if I don’t eat more of it than is reasonable. I’d like to be able to put my fork down when I’m full and not concern myself with whether that is okay. I’d like to eat when I’m hungry, and not eat when I’m not, and not spend the best years of my life fretting over it. Does anyone do that? Are there healthy eaters out there? I imagine they just don’t think about food that much. I can’t even imagine what that is like. I would so like to.

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