Addicted to food

Everyone is addicted to food. I mean, we all have to eat. But I can tell that some people are less addicted than I am. They act like they don’t think about it as much as I do. And they eat as though eating is something they do on the side, in between other, more important things.

In movies and on TV, I see montages of stressed police detectives and hardworking artists and secret agents who forget to eat for days. Someone finally brings them pizza. They’re living on coffee, if they remember to drink at all. I always notice, because it makes me hungry. They’ve just jumped out a window and landed on a moving truck, used a pistol to shoot five guys with machine guns, and jumped lightly to their feet after being stabbed in the leg, but when they don’t eat lunch for the third day in a row, I’m gesturing at the screen and going, “Come ON! This is RIDICULOUS! Who even likes this stupid show?”

One of my most vivid memories from my wedding day was the California wrap I ate while getting my hair done in the bridal chamber. It was the most delicious wrap I have ever eaten. It had grilled chicken, lettuce, avocado, and Caesar dressing. It should’ve been normal, and unimpressive, but it was so moist and the ingredients so fresh and perfectly balanced. The chicken was soft and juicy, with a ping of crisp to the skin, the avocado was ripe and thick and flavorful. The dressing must’ve been a special invention of a chef, because it didn’t taste like the kind you buy off a shelf. The lettuce was springy and new.  Someone ordered it for me, from a local place. I don’t know what place, and it bothers me. Even then, I thought, “I should find out where this came from.” And then I thought, “It’s your wedding day! You’re not going to remember some sandwich you ate that morning!”

(don’t worry, I also remember this kind of thing.)

But I do. They had to take it away from me. “You’re getting it on your face! You need to get your makeup on! We have twenty minutes!”

People talk about how unhealthy food is for us. The problem is, it’s gotten so good. We have so much of it. We aren’t eating because we’re starving (for the most part), so we eat for pleasure. And we crave flavor. And we appreciate subtlety. Food is an art. Eating is an art. And it’s also incredibly fun.

I don’t have a very refined palate, but I adore food. Even if I don’t like one kind, it reminds me of how much I like another. I have a friend who is a chef at Alinea,  one of the most famous restaurants in the country (I like to brag about her), and a few times, she and I have gone to eat somewhere very, very expensive. That’s the part that impresses upon me the most. How much it costs for the miniature, exquisitely crafted dishes with dollops of creamed rhubarb and a white radish/cilantro froth. She sits there, savoring every bite. Comparing textures. Talking about how they used whatever is in season on the farm they get all their produce from. I am craving a cheeseburger. Though, to be fair, not any cheeseburger. I’m a bit of a snob. A cheeseburger from Shake Shack (founded by Danny Meyers, the chef behind Eleven Madison and Gramercy Tavern). Or maybe 5 Napkin, if the line is too long at the first.

I am the only person in my family who has such an exuberant, enthusiastic, distinctly uneducated relationship with food. My mother has been eating almost exclusively organic for my entire life. She isn’t interested in anything with preservatives or anything that’s been processed. She has always cooked carbless gourmet food for my family on a regular basis. I have never seen her eat white bread. Or much bread at all, actually, except the loaves that she’d baked, on occasion. The thought of “going out for pizza” doesn’t appeal to her even slightly. When she comes to visit me in the city, she says, “Let’s go somewhere nice. Don’t take me to some burger joint.”

I’m very interested in eating at every run down, cramped, delicious burger joint in the city. I love ancient Jewish delis with chipping floors and sloping tables. I love the closet-sized Japanese place in the village where two guys are frying octopus balls a foot away from you and there isn’t room for even a single table. I love pizza– especially Artichoke in the east Village.

(and Two Boots. So amazing. Source)

My dad is diabetic from the age of seventeen, and his stomach can’t function well. He is currently on a soup diet. He eats about 800 calories a day. When he has more than that, he can’t process insulin effectively. Food is his enemy.

And food is my middle brother’s enemy. He’s worked intensively for years to lose extra weight. He eats a low carb diet and spends a lot of time at the gym. He is suddenly thin and hugely muscular, and he’s read a lot about nutrition. He tells me sternly that most Americans are careless and greedy with their food intake. I know I’m one of them.

My youngest brother was diagnosed with diabetes a few days before his sixteenth birthday. He is a freshman in college now. He is very thin, he works out, and he seems to be one of those people who forgets to eat, or isn’t interested in the food in front of him. He has to think about everything he eats, and how it will affect his bloodsugar, and he seems to have decided that it’s not worth the effort. He’ll just not eat.

So when the whole family gets together, and I bring Bear (also a diabetic, of course), I also bring dessert for myself. I dig heavily wrapped bagels out of the freezer, where Mom stores them for me. I buy fruit juice.  Because I’m addicted. If I go without it for a few days, I miss it too much. I crave it. I want flavor. I sauté vegetables in soy sauce. I make cream sauces. I marinate meat with garlic and Cholula hot sauce and wine and olive oil and salt and pepper and herbs. I want layers of contrasting flavor. I want a chaos of flavor. I eat dessert with dinner when I go out.

And no matter what is happening in my life, food excites me. Even if I’m completely full, the suggestion of a hamentashen gets my attention. I took a break in the middle of writing this post and made myself a toasted english muffin with cream cheese and chopped liver from my new favorite Jewish deli (Barney Greengrass, on Amsterdam in the high 80′s). As far as I know, I’m the only person in the world who likes this combination.

(Hamentashen. Mmmm….I could go for one right now…source)

I look forward to food. In college, telling myself encouragingly what I’d get to eat afterward got me through many, many interminably boring classes.

But of course, because I’m a woman, and because I’m a woman who grew up in an era of food awareness, in a household that shunned unhealthy food and unnecessary calories, I can never love food without reservation. We have a forbidden, undeniable, scandalous love. A desperate love that can’t be stopped.

I can never eat two slices of pizza in a row without feeling greedy, greasy, and almost dangerously out of control. In fact, I can’t eat anything without feeling a twinge of guilt, as though I’m doing something wrong. As though I’m cheating on some test that all of us are ceaselessly taking. I push aside the twinge and take another bite. I revel in it. It’s heaven.

I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I stop? Why can’t I give up just one thing? Like Levain cookies? There are so many stronger women. They surround me. They are bone-thin, elegant, fashionable. For a moment, when I see them, I think automatically: they have won their battles against food. I am wallowing in my addiction.

And then I think, No, they are losing. They are too afraid to eat. I am strong.

Does it have to be one or the other?

And then I take another bite and for the delicious space of several chews and a swallow, I don’t think anything at all.

*  *  *

Un-roast: Today I love how sensitive my body is. It means enduring a lot of motion sickness and flus, but it also means appreciating smells and tastes intensely. Down to the very last bite.

New post on Un-schooled, about how being unschooled is like being grown up.


Kate on December 14th 2010 in body, food, wedding, weight

43 Responses to “Addicted to food”

  1. Valerie responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 11:38 am #

    I never really cared for food. I ate because I was hungry and sometimes I got a craving for something so I sought that out. I was thin most of my life (and by thin, I mean that sort of thin where people are always commenting and watching what you eat to make sure you don’t have some sort of eating disorder). Now I’m regular sized and sometimes it bothers me. Sometimes I feel like I should be hating food like every other woman seems to since I’m “average” weight for the normal U.S. woman whereas I used to be “average” for the fashion industry.

    I didn’t start loving food…actually, love-loving food until I met my current boyfriend. He is a genius in the kitchen. His red sauce will bring tears to your eyes. His Pad Thai leaves you with a serious food buzz, bordering on legal high. His Bibimbap is to die for. I asked him once if he would make me a simple Macaroni and Cheese…it’s anything but simple and I would slap my own mother in the face just to have it.

    But all of this is anti-fashion industry. However, if loving the food that nourishes you is wrong…I don’t need designer clothing. I’ll shop at Wal-mart, be fed, and happy.

  2. Christin@purplebirdblog responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    I love my relationship with food for the most part these days. I am certainly not as thin “as I should be” based on what “they” say, but I eat delicious things, mostly healthy, sometimes not, but always delicious. I revel in the experience and enjoy trying new things. I have just found that I like to bake, and I have made some extremely tasty creations. Food used to be the enemy, but I have pretty much won that war. :)

  3. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Before I get out of bed every morning I contemplate what I’m going to eat for breakfast. Sometimes I start thinking about it the night before.
    I spend much of the morning waiting for my 10am snack break, but for some reason lunch doesn’t interest me as much. Maybe that’s because I’m too busy scouring the internet for something delicious to make for dinner (or breakfast tomorrow, or dinner on Saturday).

  4. Elizabeth responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I love food – all food: the refined, the basic, and the naughty. Why try to control it, Kate? You look fabulous and healthy, and you are enjoying the food, so eat on! I eat what I want, when I want, and I don’t feel guilty! I listen to cues from my body. Sometimes, I eat too much, but then I’m not hungry and don’t have cravings, and I let my body rest. I eat healthy in general, but I let myself cave to certain cravings sometimes like apple pie for dinner or a BLT in the mid afternoon. For me, it’s listening to my body’s needs and not being controlling because I think listening leads to moderation and a balanced healthy mind and body. When I was younger, I tried to control my weight and food more and that didn’t change the number on the scale enough to make up for the feeling that it led to – unhappy. Who cares, anyway… as long as you are staying healthy and enjoying yourself!

  5. Liz responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    We are all seeking the middle ground; the balance of calories in and out. All the while, remembering to enjoy what we eat.

  6. Elizabeth responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    P.S. I love the wedding picture!

  7. Mme Wong responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I have a love-love relationship with food. I let go of the “hate” part. And, while we’re not competing for the title of most food-addicted reader here, I’m right up there with you. I read your post after having eaten a huge lunch, and I’m still drooling after reading your descriptions. I really wish I could have tasted that California wrap (did you find out where it came from, in the end? I would have slapped anyone trying to get between me and my sandwich) and you gave me a huge pizza craving (grrr…). Also, chopped liver and cream cheese? I’ll most definitely have to try that. My classic holiday liver-stuffing-on-a-bagel (can you say carbfest?) has elicited many raised eyebrows in the past, so I know where you come from.
    I love that your love of food doesn’t discriminate. I think that everything has its place and its purpose. I love to cook, and most of what I do will fall into what people would label the “healthy” category, it’s still all about the flavor and the texture. Why do boring when you can do scrumptious?
    Since I love food so much… ok, scratch that, since I eat so much, I’m also very active, to balance it out, but really, I think of it as work hard, play hard, and it’s all in good fun. All I can eat and a strong body? What not to love?

  8. Angela Jones responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    I have fought a battle with food for the majority of my life. Until I came to a point where I stopped fighting and started living. That battle ended and I try to enjoy every moment. I don’t try to control it anymore. It is interesting to me, when I was trying to control everything, my exercise and my food intake, I was so unhealthy and now that I just live in the moment, I am the happiest I have ever been and my body is the most healthy it has ever been. Every body is different, I just try to take care of my own and my families. I make sure my kids eat healthy, but also let them live. Two nights ago my parents took them to Dairy Queen for dinner and a blizzard, then last night my husbands parents came to pick them up, they went shopping and went to Dairy Queen again! Food should be enjoyed! Last night my husband and I stayed up and watch Diner, Drive In’s and Dives…have you watched that show!!!? OMG.. watching it before bed is not a good idea! lol My husband went downstairs and came up to bed with a huge plate of food…it makes us hungry!

  9. Amanda responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    At first I thought, “No, you’re wrong! Not everyone is addicted to food!” But I suppose in some sense we are—even those of us who have, for a time, delved into anorexia and restricted food intake. Even then food was a constant obsession. It’s not as if I forgot about it; I actually thought about even more. Of course there was also great fear and guilt attached to it; and though I have (mostly) moved past that, I will never be one to “revel” in food.

    Even so, I don’t understand people who don’t eat breakfast or skip lunch. Perhaps not everyone is “addicted” to food… but I hardly understand that.

    This is a very brave post, and as always I enjoyed reading it very much!

  10. Anna responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Ahhh this post speaks to me so much. I’m like you, an unabashed lover of food. My grandmother and mother, however, feel somewhat differently. They frown on excess and indulgence and seem to think they’re better than other people by abstaining from it. I mean, it’s fine if that doesn’t float your boat but don’t put me down if reveling in the glory of food floats mine.

    It’s a subtle thing they do- they rarely say anything rude or offensive but it’s the offhand comments that speak to how they really feel about it. And it’s frustrating. I feel like they’re not letting themselves truly enjoy food.

    This is somewhat unrelated but I also think there is a huge classist/racist element to indulgence. I forget where I read this, but someone once pointed out that a candy bar or dessert spread at a fancy wedding (presumably full of white people) is fun and indulgent while the same amount of candy or dessert in the context of a poorer, minority family is something to be frowned upon (not to mention, an image frequently held up in the course of anti-obesity legislation discussions).

  11. Kaila responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    This was a great post…and now I’m absolutely starving after reading about all of that delicious food…despite having just had cheese and crackers and before that, squash bisque with tomato herb bread and a sweet potato, and a quesadilla. The amazing food at my college makes me love food even more. Tonight, in my dorm’s TV lounge, IHOP is catering to us since it’s finals week. At 9 at night. And before that, one of our dining halls is having some sort of special holiday celebration with gingerbread cookies and a hot chocolate bar. At a different dining hall, they have tapas from Spain. I’m so lucky to go to a college that totally supports my love of food.

  12. zoe (and the beatles) responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    this is an incredibly sensitive topic for me. much like you, i love food. i adore everything about it. i want to go to culinary school. i can spend hours in grocery stores and cooking stores and at farmer’s markets. i love eating. however, at the same time, i am scared shitless by food. each bite somehow gets calculated in my head. at the end of the day i find myself reviewing my days eat, categorizing my foods into “good” and “bad”. so yes, you are right when you say you are strong. i envy your ability to eat. for as much as i love food, i am afraid. and it is incredibly lame to think the society in which i grew up has shaped this attitude for me. and it’s even lamer that i allowed it to happen.

  13. darryn (brio.gusto) responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Great post. I saw a movie last night that explores the extreme food behaviours (starving, bingeing, restricting) of a set of intertwined characters all dealing with different battles. It’s a Mexican film, subtitled, that translates as “Bad Habits”, and I’d definitely recommend for thinking about how we relate to food.

  14. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Thanks for the recommendation! That looks really good.

  15. rachel responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Here’s an appropos piece from NYT today

    Basically, researchers are finding that the more people think about food, as in fantasize about eating, the less they actually eat. Have you ever noticed that when you do a lot of cooking by the time everything is ready you don’t have much of an appetite? Maybe it’s the same principal: all that time smelling the food and a few tastes here and there are we’re mentally satisfied.

  16. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    funny that you mention this. I am never hungry after cooking, and I was just talking about it last night, when I made a big meal. But I also think this has something to do with me eating so much during the process…

  17. San D responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I love food and it shows. But hey, you only go around once, and I’m “going as a round”. LOL. I do have to watch HOW MUCH I eat, but none the less, I eat everything. I love the taste, texture, crunch, sweet, sour, bitter, the social aspect of it, the cooperation of making it together of it, the love associated with making it, the salt, sugar, chocolate and fat of it. I love presentations, but will also eat it without silverware. I love expensive restaurants, but will kill for pomme frits out of a paper folded triangle. Give me a good hotdog with mustard and I’m your best friend. Point me in the direction of a cool slice of watermelon and you can have my heart. Show me where the next gelato store is in Rome, and I will give you my credit card. Buy me a crepe with nutella and bananas in Paris, and I will trade you my airline ticket. As we speak my husband is hand grinding four kinds of meat to make meatloaf, and I am salivating.

  18. Emily responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 4:43 pm #

    aand now I’m hungry…

    P.s. I picked out that california wrap (i remember because I thought it was ironic, me living in california and all) and it was sooo delicious. If you ever figure out where it came from, we must go get another one. yummy.

  19. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    @San D
    HA!! Love this comment!! Now I want a hot dog.

  20. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 4:47 pm #

    Oh yeah!! Well done. You’re good at everything <3

  21. Sarah responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    This was a wonderful post, Kate. I really can’t understand when people forget to eat or don’t really care about the food they eat, and I use to envy them…but now I usually end up feeling bad to them. I mean, food is important. We need it to live. Eating it, even if you don’t like it all that much, takes up a huge portion of our lives. It’s almost as bad as not liking sleep, and even though I don’t sleep as much as many people…I still appreciate a good, deep sleep. And I appreciate a delicious, flavourful meal. I love being able to appreciate the things that I need to live, rather than just tolerating them, or accepting them as a spoonful of medicine to keep my body going. Food is that, in a way – medicine, or fuel, that keeps our bodies going – but it’s nice that it can be more than that. It can bring us pleasure, and I think it’s sad that we feel like we have to feel guilty about that pleasure. I love food, and I’m happy to finally not be afraid to say it.

  22. Sarah responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Geez, lots of typos. Sorry about that. It’s 6 a.m. here :-)

  23. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Please. I know ALL about typos… :)
    Thanks for the great comment.

  24. jstolk responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    I am an unashamed lover of food. I’m someone who is commonly refere to as a “super tater” so eating good food is overwhelmingly pleasuable to say the least. But as much as I love food, there are some things that I absolutely cannpt tollerate because of taste, texture, smell or a combination of the three. Seafood is my bigest example of a texture/ taste that I can’t tollerate. Pudding and jell-o aswell with texture. My favorite thing to eat is bread, I’m a carb addict, and you can just do so much with bread.

    Mmmm… now I’m hungry, time to plan dinner.

  25. Holly responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    Yes! Me TOO. I have forgotten to eat maybe twice in my life, when doing something really really absorbing that was distant from food; otherwise it’d be like forgetting to pee. So I don’t understand that. Hah. I love food and planning food. I love snacks most of all. And I love that letting myself love food means I don’t have to obsess about food.

  26. Just Josie responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    I do forget to eat sometimes, not gonna lie. It’s actually a hell of a lot easier than it sounds. But right now I’m eating spaghetti with lots of coarse garlic and parsley flakes. Yum! :3 I tend to find, though, that by the time I get done making dinner, I’m just kinda ‘meh’ about actually eating the stuff, and that I enjoy flipping through cookbooks (especially baking cookbooks — so pretty!) a lot more than I actually do getting off my butt and bringing the recipe to life. But sometimes I get on kicks and I’m just food-crazy; it’s insane, haha. I have a mild social phobia, so restaurants aren’t really my cup of tea at this point in my life, and I always skip lunch at school. I generally eat dinner pretty late, too. I actually prefer to eat either really late or really early in the morning. As much as I love thinking about the general awesomeness of food, I like talking the politics of it more. I am not the person to talk to about your love of hamburgers, or your favorite flavor of ice cream, because I will inevitably use the conversation as a chance to educate on the evils of animal exploitation. I’m certainly not ashamed of that, though; I’m very proud of that. Sometimes it just depends on my mood too. Sometimes I can forget you’re talking about made-with-cow’s-milk ice cream and just talk about how good cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream is — I’m not inhuman after all. But I think that, as a veganarchist, my relationship with food is probably a little different than most people’s. But anyway, I am very interested in food politics and how it intersects with sexual and gender politics; in fact, it’s what I wanted to study post-high school.

    Also, pumpkin is pretty much the best ingredient ever, bar none. For real. :P I mean, you’ve got ravioli, pie, juice, brownies, jack o’ lanterns, cookies, ice cream, coffee, seeds… and the list goes on.

  27. Just Josie responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    P.S. Thanks a lot you guys, I just sent that last comment through and now I realize that I’ve totally got food on the brain! Or that was kind of the point, I suppose, but *still*. ;)

  28. Amelia Jane responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Totally hungry now. I have kind of a messy relationship with food, sometimes I eat, sometimes I don’t. I have to get to a place where I’m pretty hungry to get myself motivated to put the time into chopping up a giant salad with a jacket potato and beans, or throwing together a sweet potato and lentil stew so by the time I’m done cooking I’m usually ravenous…Food is never so far from my mind that I forget to eat, but yeah, sometimes I don’t. Yesterday I wanted biscuits, and I stopped myself, and then wondered why I didn’t just eat them. I don’t know. Food is difficult sometimes. I definitely am not a fan of feeling guilty about eating though! Food is a serious pleasure and a total right.

  29. Anna responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Oh my god, I just realized: I might have read what I referenced in my earlier comment on YOUR blog. Embarassing.

  30. Ashley responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I also have forgotten to eat. Just 2 days ago I realized that I hadn’t ate in over 24 hours, and felt not one bit of hunger or discomfort. But I ate anyway because our bodies need it of course. It might have been because I was busy that day and studies have shown that people eat more when they aren’t busy and eat less on their go, go, go days. It’s extremely true for myself anyways.

    I think food addiction is real. Of course our bodies need food but I think addiction is more of a psychological dependency when one eats excessively for pleasure rather than just eating for physical hunger. No, there is nothing wrong is eating food for pleasure, but just like with everything else in life: There is a such thing as too much. Too much of anything isn’t good. I think the lines between good and not goo is when you eat to feed your emotions more than the body.

    It’s true that some people don’t care as much for food. They eat what their body needs, but they aren’t getting much pleasure out of it. I wouldn’t call that a good or bad thing. No one has the right to say that you must get pleasure from food or else you have some sort of ED. No one has the right to say that people who care less about food than others is nothing more than fake. It is real as anything else. It’s just that everyone has different relationships with food. As long as they are getting the proper nutrients, that is what matters.

  31. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    That would be incredibly flattering, but I don’t think I remember writing about it (though it’s something I should write about, because it’s interesting and relevant).

  32. Kate responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    You guys are making me hungry back. We need to all get together for a big potluck party.

  33. MWN responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    @Holly, I love the way you put it. I pee a lot (I drink a lot of water). So I eat a lot.

    I pretty much always feel hungry, and I also get through classes or workouts by planning out my dinner menu. I can’t go more than two or three hours without eating something.

    For health reasons I’m supposed to watch what I eat, but I’m not so sure how serious these health concerns are…the first doctor I saw put me on a really strict diet (low glycemic), and I think she was kind of crazy. So I try to keep it pretty healthy, with lots of exceptions. The past few months I have been trying to get more OK with the idea of eating starch (NOT ok under the low glycemic program). And since I stopped being a partial vegetarian, I have been eating delicious hamburgers (and with almost no reference to compare them with, they are ALL delicious! no hamburger snobbery from me).

    It’s tough sometimes. I love food, and I love that I enjoy food. And I WANT to not care about the way my stomach expands so I look like I’m five months pregnant after a meal (I HATE the term “food baby,” and the concept is really true for me.) Rather than doing something crazy and ineffective like dieting, I have decided to work on strengthening my ab muscles.

  34. Cyndie responded on 14 Dec 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    oh MAN! I love food. I used to eat really healthy and organic for a hot second, and then my boyfriend was all like, bad food is awesome! and I now I am back to my roots eating Four Cheese Pizza’s at every restaurant that has ‘em.

    I get annoyed now when people label food “bad” or “good”. Even though I used to be that person.

  35. Not-of-The-Cake-Kate responded on 15 Dec 2010 at 11:29 am #

    It’s funny actually you say this because for years I fought my food addiction with not much success (I’m also pretty overweight). This past year I figured out that I need to make it work for me after I read about a food critic who lost like 100 lbs. because hell if he can do it… but the point is I realized how often I ate pure crap that I didn’t really enjoy, like, say, a twinkie from 7-11, instead of a cupcake from the bakery down the street that is like 50 times better. I think it’s important to love what you eat when you have this type of food focus and instead of saying food is “good” or “bad” looking at it like what will I enjoy the most? McDonald’s can’t really hold a candle to my favorite burger place downtown and it’s worth it to wait for the really good stuff.

  36. Two Girls on a Bench responded on 15 Dec 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    We love food, we blog about it all the time, even though we’re supposed to be blogging about writing. We love 7-11, it inspires us, their free cheese bar is a delight to the senses. We like good food, we like bad food, we especially love all food that can be classified as snacks. We think if food was not meant to be enjoyed, it wouldn’t taste so good. And we will continue to take your advice and eat the damn cake! :)

  37. hunter4086 - an open notebook! responded on 15 Dec 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    I am very active and busy…and therefore – hungry! Yet whenever I eat, & no matter how well, a part of me feels like I don’t…deserve it. So ridiculous, yet there it is.

    I’ve lost all perspective on what I need (as an aforementioned active person) VS what I “ought” to have. You know, just looking at weight/height/age to ascertain what someone “requires.” Starting at the basal metabolic level, where needs are calculated on that old chestnut of necessary intake if you just lay a-bed staring at the ceiling all day. But what comes after that? A highly arbitrary calculation, designed to strike fear into one’s heart and confusion into one’s brain! One day I hope this method passes into the annals of Dubious Science, alongside the reading of scalp bumps to determine character! For the body is a complicated machine of mystery! Yet we speak with such assurance, about what is needed – calculated to the forkful. And I don’t think all the Food Scientists out there are very on the ball either.

    For what it’s worth: yesterday when I read this post it was such a welcome point of sanity! Like some sort of bloggy oil-on-water, it actually managed to sooth the wretchedness of my chronic, daily, crazy-making, nonsensical food anxiety, and I sat down and enjoyed a luscious sandwich and a beer, thinking “What’s so wrong with weight anyhow? If there’s more of me, that’s just that much more AWESOME in the world!! Snap!”

    I love your final point, about ‘winning’ and strength.

  38. Wei-Wei responded on 16 Dec 2010 at 12:12 am #

    I love food. I won’t say I love it and I hate it, because I absolutely, without reservations, without worries of being seen as greedy, LOVE IT. I can say this now that I am past my anorexia because I started to binge eat. I didn’t hate food then, either – I loved it. I just hated myself, so I did what I loved – which was to eat. I still love food. Food is an amazing pleasure in everyday life, and it’s the only one that I can think of that’s being closest to orgasmic but socially acceptable at the same time. Food is a necessity, but now it’s becoming a pleasure. A pastime.

    I actually don’t get hungry very often. I get hungry at the WRONG times, and then I wait it out until I AM available to eat, then I’m not hungry, or I’m satisfied after a couple of bites. I don’t understand why this happens.

  39. Elena responded on 16 Dec 2010 at 2:32 am #

    I think each person has their own unique relationship to food. Some people can handle a lot of processed foods and not gain weight, some gain weight really easily, others can’t eat them without feeling really shitty and depressed-due to chemical reactions. I have a friend who recently due to stomach problems had to cut a lot of yummy things out of her diet for a while. I think she’s reintroduced some of then, but having cut out a lot of processed foods, she told me that she’s never been happier, and she’s someone who’s struggled with serious depression for a while. I think food totally affects how we feel and that we should be aware of how it works for us individually. I like the idea of letting yourself eat whatever the hell you want and I like the idea of each of us finding what’s right for us.

    Just so you know (actually I don’t know if any one of you besides Kate is actually reading this), I’m definitely one of those people who could easily finish a pint of ben and jerry’s half baked ice cream in one-two sittings (altho I don’t do it all the time, because then I would seriously not feel good about my body-but thats just me!)

  40. Rebecca responded on 16 Dec 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    You are radiant in that photo.


  41. Ivy responded on 18 Dec 2010 at 7:28 pm #

    Food is complicated. I used to hate food. I had digestive problems as a kid, and eating and digesting was often painful and led to tears. I didn’t like food–even if I liked the taste, I knew it only led to badness. Sometimes, I had no appetite and didn’t want to eat for days. Sometimes I’d be starving and eat anything in sight. I learned to eat fast, not really tasting, before my body caught up and rebelled.

    Then I figured out the culprit. Dairy, as it turns out. And while I miss my cheese and ice cream–I like food now. Eating is pleasurable and not painful. I’ve tried new things and am learning to eat slowly and savor things.

    But I still forget to eat sometimes. I don’t know if it’s habit, but I can get caught up in something and just not think of it. I’m also having to learn that I eat regularly now, so I can’t splurge on whatever I want necessarily. (Not for my waistline as much as for my wallet!)

    Food is complicated. We all need it but….there are so many ways to relate to it.

  42. Eat the Damn Cake » Guilty responded on 06 Jan 2011 at 11:36 am #

    [...] unhealthy. I feel the unhealthiness, like a big, muddy glob, coagulating inside me, every time I eat another cheeseburger and don’t correct the balance of the cosmos by jogging on a treadmill for more than 25 [...]

  43. Eat the Damn Cake » the upper middle class made me eat it responded on 06 Feb 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    [...] But I love carbs. You guys know. I love them and I sometimes feel very guilty for loving them, and I know that the people I know are pretty sure that they will kill me. And I know that a mark of being a part of this educated, relatively wealthy bubble is eating a certain way. Having more willpower. Working out regularly. I know that because we are so educated, we are supposed to be smart enough to know how to eat for longevity. I don’t have an excuse. Even my degreeless parents emphasized healthy eating. [...]