I’ve always been a “secret” eater. It started sometime when I was in the 6th grade. Both my parents, z”l, worked and I arrived home from school around 3:00. My two sisters wouldn’t be home for another hour and that gave me plenty of time. I started going through the cupboards looking for things to eat. It’s been many, many years since then and still when I’m home alone I go through the cupboards looking for things to eat – the only difference is that now I know what’s there because I put it there.
I wish I could identify a reason for my “secret” eating. I’m sure there’s some kind of rebellion hidden deep in my psyche that won’t allow me to accept that at 49, I am allowed to eat what I choose, when I choose but despite my best efforts I’ve been unable to convince the 6th grader within me of that fact so the day after my wife (who, by the way, has told me a million times that I am beautiful just the way I am) left to visit her Mom in another state I went shopping.
I know better than to go to the market alone especially when I’m more than aware of the reason I’m going. The internal dialogue between the 6th grader and the 49-year-old adult is deafening because the 6th grader screams when the adult begins to walk away from the items she knows aren’t healthy for her body or her mind. Before I realize it I’ve listened to the two “reason” back and forth for an hour and a half and I’m exhausted from the fight. As is almost always the case the 6th grader got her way and I came home with two bags full of nothing but items to binge on.
Like Ray Milland’s Don Birnam I have, by design, spent a majority of this weekend primarily alone. I’ve gone out to run errands and keep commitments knowing that when I return to the empty house the food will be waiting. I feel defeated and mildly sick and I know it’s from too much junk and not enough protein (not to mention the stuff going on in my head). I’ve realized, perhaps too late, that there are many things I could have done that wouldn’t have stopped the unhealthy eating but would have slowed it down considerably and as Sunday moves into Monday, I begin to feel ashamed and unproductive.
I know that if I’m ever going to break free of the body I feel trapped in I must somehow remind myself that my secret eating serves no purpose. The rebellious 6th grader has nothing left to rebel over and the secret I believe I’m keeping isn’t really a secret at all. As I continue to reflect on the past two days I wonder how many more “lost” weekends I will have to suffer through before I realize that the intelligent, intellectual woman I know I am is smart enough to quiet the child that demands to eat whatever she likes.