It’s occurred to me more than once that maybe there’s a fundamental design fault with the human body you know? At least for some of us. Take your car…it runs low on fuel, the fuel gauge tells you, you fill it up and when the fuel pump clicks, you know it’s full. You can’t squeeze more in, because it just takes what it takes. It doesn’t matter if you’d hoped to squeeze more in, if it’s full it’s full. You wouldn’t stand there and keep giving it large with the nozzle would you? No, of course you wouldn’t.
Now I don’t know about you, but somehow, no matter how much my head recognises that my belly is full, if I’m that way out and want to eat, I’ll find a way to eat. Case in point, Christmas dinner…you know that way where it’s just soooo good and there’s leftovers on the table winking at you and trying everything possible to attract your attention…eat me eat me eat me… you’ve already eaten everything on your plate, you’re stuffed more royally than the turkey ever was and you already suspect you’re going to need a winch to help you up from your chair.
And yet. That minxy little pig nestled in that crispy little blanket seduces you over the brussels sprouts and before you know it your jaws are off again. Your belly is already bursting, you look like you swallowed a beach ball and you’re bordering on a food coma and yet still you can’t resist.
My problem has always been that it isn’t just at Christmas…lots of people walk away from that special once-a-year dinner groaning and pledging not to eat for a week. Me included (although to be fair I’d usually only make it from the dining table as far as the sofa before I was in to the chocolates just because you know, it’s Christmas.) Trouble is, having grown up eating portions that wouldn’t have looked out of place at the top of Jack’s beanstalk, walking away from the table feeling fit to burst was almost the norm in our house.
Having survived the war years on ration coupons and food shortages, my mum showed love by providing a constant stream of food…she loved to cook, and bake, and although there was only our small little family sitting down to eat, she may as well have been feeding the five thousand. There’d probably have been leftovers even then. So her love of feeding her family combined with my love of feeding my face kind of created the perfect storm. My full-filter is broken, and I have no concept of what a normal portion looks like. I look at a TV dinner or a ready meal which might be labelled as a meal for one and think “are you kidding me..? “
It’s down to me now though – I get that. Eating till I’m not hungry is different from eating till I’m full, and I get that too. Eating till I’m overfull …I shouldn’t go there at all. There have been times in my life where I’ve felt overpowered by the desire to eat but equally there have been times when I’ve felt like I’m the one calling the shots, and right now I feel strong. In control…it feels good you know?
Even if I still look at a regular sized portion and think ‘great but where’s the rest of it…?!‘