Science is a nice, fun way to pass the time (if you like reading textbooks and listening to monotone people lecture). Sometimes science gets it wrong. This is one of those times. You have heard the statement “You are what you eat.” I think it is a lie. Follow me, years ago (that is a nice way of distancing myself from the actual timeframe) I ate three bags of potato chips in one sitting. Yes, three bags full. Despite eating a kilogram of potato chips… I never once crinkled when I walked, snapped when I sat down or moved quickly and nor did I taste like Smoky BBQ. Hmm, that flavour is darned good. They have a winner there.
I digress, my new favourite potato chip is President’s Choice brand Maple Bacon potato chips. Hmm, bacon and maple. Freakin’ good. And I feel more Canadian because it is Maple and Bacon. What is more Canadian than maple syrup and bacon? I am sure the pigs that donate the bacon are from Balzac.
Okay, you have me… I know that eating a lot of chips will not literally make me a chip. Eating all of this junk does not make me crackle, but it does make me feel puffy, gassy, bloated, thick and swollen tongue, roof-of-mouth rawness, cravings for more chips despite feeling like I have a litre of oil rolling around my intestines. (Think about all of that for a moment… not so appealing now, eh?) These are what I call “Junk-food Hangovers.” Tell me you have not experienced at least one Junk-food Hangover? Funny, it would not seem too weird to listen to a coworker talk about downing beers on Saturday night. But if they talked about downing a kilo of chips, some Mars Bars and a pie, it seems like a disgusting amount of food. It is and I have done it.
You are not what you eat, but you are what eats at you. I will say that again so that I hear it this time: You are not what you eat, but you are what eats at you. When I overeat because of things that eat at me, I try to eat them back. So far hasn’t worked very well. Fight, flight or eat… kill or be eaten. Doesn’t work too well here.
I thought about this last night returning from Pigeon lake with friends. I was feeling a swollen-puffy-haze from overeating, but something else was eating at me. My mortality. I turn 48 this year and some part of me compares myself with other people and I always lose. (Just like in grade 4. I never could do more than 9 seconds on the chin up bar. Now I am paying for it.) As I age I am realizing that time is not always friendly. I hope that I have a lot of years ahead of me but I don’t want to reach retirement and feel like I wasted what opportunity was given to me. Sometimes this eats at me.
What eats at you makes you. It drives you. Anger because of stupidity at work, gloom over where you are at in life, regret about relationships, fear of risk, pain that stabs at you, and longings for a different life can eat at you and drive food behaviours or other unhealthy behaviours.
How do you pull yourself back from the edge,
back to more functional and healthy living?
I do not have a four point plan or eating strategy that works. When I realize that I am eating because of what eats at me, I need to say that. When I talk about it, the urge to eat diminishes. When I write about it, I understand it a little better. That is in part why I am writing this blog.
Okay, I do not want to end on a serious-heavy-statement. So, if you love science don’t hate me. I know that science is probably not the one to blame for the “You are what you eat” nonsense. It is the government. They are behind all of this.