My Life as a Car

So I was having a rather interesting discussion with my dietitian today about my recent slide back into calorie counting. This has been quite a large sticking point of mine for many years. Counting is one of my OCD rituals, and I've tried many times and failed just about as many. I had about 2 months free earlier this year, but than slid right back into old habits.

I like to eat the same number of calories every day, the same number at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the same number for both of my snacks. Period. End of discussion. One of the meds I'm on (that I need to be on) can cause weight gain. I thought, "Oh crap. What if this is going to cause weight gain again?"*

I love my dietitian. She rocks my world. I've been seeing her for about 6 years now (apparently I'm a slow learner), and she has provided much advice and counsel. On an intellectual level, I have learned that our bodies do not need the same amount of calories each day. I know our bodies can self-regulate. And so on. I get this. On an emotional level, however, the fear instinct just kicks in. I am still deathly afraid of gaining weight. I want my eating habits to be "perfect." I want my exercise habits to be "perfect." I feel like the pimply check-out boy at the supermarket is judging the content of my cart and thinking I'm a pig if I buy a bag of chips. My brother, having been a checkout boy, assures me this is not the case. He's looking for hot chicks. Period.

So. What does any of this have to do with cars?

This: We do not drive our cars at the same speed, for the same time, every single day. Gas mileage typically averages out the same- I use miles on the odometer to judge when I need to start thinking about filling up. We drive in residential areas at (theoretically) 25 mph. We cruise 80 mph down the highway. This causes our cars to burn gas at different rates. When I got stuck in traffic for three hours, that cost a pretty penny. But our car engines know how to use the gas. And they know how to indicate they need a refill. It's not exactly, precisely the same each time. It doesn't need to be.

It's the same with my body's metabolism. On average, I eat the same number of calories. My body, in spite of the last seven years, knows how to self-regulate. It's a learning process, but I do pretty well. Those days when I'm more active or more anxious, I might need more calories. On days when I loaf around in bed (mmmmm....blankets), I might need less.

Quite simple, actually.

If I did have to choose a car, it would be a lime green VW Beetle. Bar none.

*I had gained quite a bit of weight from a combination of meds in the past. These meds were NOT related to the eating disorder. However, the experience has definitely left its mark.

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mary said...

A lime green VW beetle, huh?
I think I'd shoot for a big travel van but it has to be one that is fuel efficient. [A sprinter perhaps?]Emerald green would be nice..maybe navy?
Is there some car give away no one's telling me about? ; ) I'm in!

wading through recovery said...


A lime green beetle is my dream car too!


Us "limeys" need to unite!

Alas, no, Mary, no car giveaways. I wish though.

RioIriri said...

It's interesting to note that the two food pictures in this post elicited two very different reactions from me. The vegetables made me think, "Mmm, delicious," and without thinking, I started imagining what I would do with them: Slicing them up, applying certain spices and herbs, preparing them in a beautiful and tasty dish.

The prepared snack food photo, on the other hand, actually made me feel a little sick. Part of that is because I've got a stomach bug today, and salty grain-based foods just aren't being kind to me at the moment, but also, I wonder if I've picked up some of the programming that fatty, salty snacks are disgusting?

My positive reaction to the vegetables, however, I believe is solely the result of the absolute joy I take in preparing food. Vegetables and fruits are so colorful, with so many textures, flavors, and scents. They're alive. They're fun to use in cooking.

I too wonder what people think when I come through the checkout line with my combination of fresh produce and tasty little cakes (I have a wicked sweet tooth).

But, hey, if you are too hung up about it, deflect the checker's attention by including some disturbing items too.

Friends of mine used to entertain themselves by going to a 24-hour grocery store (or a Wal-mart) in the wee hours and trying to find the weirdest combination of things to buy, to see if they got a reaction. You know, obvious stuff like vegetable oil, a zucchini, and a package of clothespins. But creativity counts too ;)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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