• Lijing Cobb

The weight-odometer of happiness

This morning I sat in the car with my 10yo, waiting for her school bus. I laid my two hands on my belly and asked my daughter, “have you noticed that I’m getting fat?”

“What?” She asked, as if not hearing me right.

I went on as if I didn’t hear her question: “I mean, my clothes don’t fit the way they used to anymore.” I’m still holding my belly, and through the layers of clothing I could feel the extra bit that I’m recriminating.

“Oh I don’t know.” My daughter now understands what I’m saying, but she doesn’t turn around to face me. She moves on to another subject quite nonchalantly.

I’ve been avoiding stepping on my scale for a while now. I just don’t have the heart to see the number. Every day I tell myself to start over, you can do it, don’t eat too much. Every day I fail.

I eat a gigantic lunch. I’m all by myself, no one is watching, and I feel relaxed. One thing after another, calories pour into my stomach and sit, making me feel heavy. Yet I’m unable to stop. What else can I eat? I tell myself that I won’t eat much for dinner so it’s ok. I don’t eat much for dinner, and it’s not ok.

The other night I ate too much Thai food for dinner. My stomach didn’t know what to do. The noodles and curries fought over its digestive power, and as the engine churned in my belly to sort chaos into order, I felt so crampy that I thought my stomach was about to burst. Was there any reason why I should have eaten beyond what my body needed? No, but everyone else was still eating, so I reached for more food as well. Yesterday morning my daughter offered to make breakfast, and since I didn’t want to say no again and hurt her burgeoning chef’s pride, I had what she happily made for me, 2 over-easy eggs over a toasted croissant with 4 breakfast sausages. Not a combination I would choose for breakfast for myself.

So I over eat socially, and by myself. In other words, I’m over-eating all the time.

I try to figure out why I’m over-eating these days. I’m figuring things out, right? I’m not stress eating or eating my emotions, right? So why the heck do I still eat more than my share? Why do I charge forward like a blind cheetah? I have no answer. One thing I know clearly though is that I must stop before I must shop for a new size of clothing!

In my journal today I promised myself what I am not going to eat today. All I need to do is to follow my own advice. Maybe that is the point. When no one is telling me what I must and must not do, I have to do it. I have to choose to do the right thing by my body. I get away with little crimes I commit against my overworked digestive tract but it is not ok.

It is hard to be in charge when there are no apparent consequences other than temporary bloating and self-loathing. It is hard to be a good commander when the only person directly affected is myself. But it is hardly the truth… I’m never in a good mood when I’m hating myself for eating too much. The potential consequences of over eating weigh too much on my conscience for it to not affect the way I interact with my family.

If I could just ditch the efforts I must put into dealing with the consequences of my over-eating, my life would be so much simpler and happier. All I gotta do is just stop eating what my body doesn’t need. That’s it. So simple it’s scary.

But I’ll finally do it. It’s not just for me. The choices I make are never just for me.

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