Monday, May 2, 2011

Food obsessiveness

This is a post I've been promising and meaning to write for a while.  I've been doing pretty well food-wise recently (minus last week's freak-out that is safely behind me) so I haven't wanted to jinx it by focusing on the negative but I think it's important for me to be realistic about where I am.  While I'm doing great with eating consistently and (more importantly) not having panic attacks about the eating, I still have some issues I need to work on.

The biggest thing is what I've deemed "food obsessiveness".  I'm sure there's a better name out there but this one makes sense to me.  I've always had some obsessive compulsive tendencies and these days I see them mostly connected to food and eating.

Here are some examples:
1.  When I eat a salad that has a lot of things in it I put aside some of each thing so that my last bite will have everything in it.

2.  I also freak out about the amount of dressing left on the bowl or plate.

3.  I will eat 3 month old cottage cheese that got left in the back of the fridge, rather than waste food.  Even when food is clearly bad like the lettuce I forgot about that turned to mush I have to leave it the fridge for ages before I can throw it away.

4.  That's very rare because I almost always know exactly what's in each cupboard and on each shelf of the fridge.  I can tell my boyfriend where things are without looking and rarely have those grocery store moments where you can't remember if you're out of something.

5.  I'm almost never out of anything because as soon as I open something new, I replace it.  I worry a lot about running out.

6.  When I eat at home I never use big forks.  Small forks feel safe.

7.  I stress out when I use a dish or Tupperware container that is too big for the amount of food.

8.  I pick at the boyfriend's food when I'm finished with my own.  Food feels safer when it's on someone else's plate.

9.  When making something where the measurements don't matter much, like soup, I still measure out the exact amount of carrots if I'm using half a bag so that the next batch has the same amount.  I even count out things like tater tots so that each meal is the same.

10.  I look at the calories on everything, even if I'm going to eat it no matter what the calories are and even if I looked at the calories on that exact box yesterday.

Have I convinced you I'm crazy yet?  I have a bunch of other examples but I guess this pretty much covers it.

I think I've always been obsessive about food to some extent.  I remember as a kid asking my mom if we could have a meal I enjoyed again in the future while I was still eating it.  But, unsurprisingly, this ramped up while my anorexia was at it's worst.  Some of it had to do with eating so few calories that I know my brain was obsessed with getting every single one.  Hence things like licking my salad bowl.  And I think the rest came from thinking about food every moment of the day.  It's hard to not get obsessed when you're doing that.

But these days I eat all the time.  And yet I still have these issues.  Maybe our bodies remember the crazy starvation too well?  I don't know what it is but it's frustrating.  I'm working on it.  Some of these things are easier to change physically.  For example I can force myself to pick up a big fork.  It sucks and it's stressful but once I'm eating it's not so bad.  And maybe if I do it enough times it will get easier.  On the other hand how do I not know what's in my fridge?  That kind of thing is harder.

Am I the only one who suffers from these issues?  Please tell me no, I'm feeling just a little bit insane.  And how do I get past them?