Sunday, June 26, 2011


In line at the grocery store the other day I heard part of the conversation between the checker and the guy in front of me.  He was a fit  young man in his 30's and they were discussing his work as a trainer and that some of his clients were police and fire fighters.  She, a trim 40 something woman, said her son works at the Marine Corp Recruitment Station with the recruits which don't meet the fitness guidelines.  She said he had complained to her that some of them "couldn't run a mile without puking."  They made noises of disgust ans she said "there is no excuse for that."  He agreed and then left.

I wondered if she felt a bit uncomfortable to see me next in line - large and unfit as I am..  She certainly was not chatty as she usually is.  I left without saying anything.

But this is what has been going through my head:  Walk a mile in the shoes of those of us who do struggle with our weight, with overeating, with the things that may lead us to overeat.  I am not one to attach addiction status to each overweight person - but I do attach a reason, physical, psychological, emotional or learned behavior.

Just last night I had eaten my  dinner of whole wheat pasta with spinach and walnuts and some wonderful watermelon.  I was full.  I could feel the food in my stomach for some time after I ate, yet I wanted more to eat.  It was quiet at work, I was bored.  I finished the book I brought to read and I felt restless and I wanted to eat. 

Hungry?  No, I was full.  Hungry for food?  Yes, eating would occupy me, sooth me, .  Did I eat?  No, because I am learning to be more mindful about what my "hunger pangs" are about and find other things to divert myself, redirect the feelings.  I will say that there have been times in my life when I had feelings akin to panic attacks which seemed to be resolved by eating something.  Times I thought I would fall to pieces without eating something.  Of course, in reality that wouldn't happen - but the feeling is real, too.

So that is what it is like in my shoes at times.  Hard to fathom?  I don't get smoking or drinking beer or being Catholic or enjoying boxing.  I don't get the need to be mean, I don't know why people fear mice or bugs, why people can't eat meat or like rides at the fair that make them dizzy.  We are all different in our tastes and reactions and beliefs and the things we need.

And the other thing - those young recruits?  Those kids are probably away from home for the first time.  Away from  family and friends and the safety and comfort they inspire.  They also, many of them, come from schools that  didn't offer much in the way of physical education and come from neighborhoods which were not especially safe to run and play in.  There were probably not many pools or tennis courts or baseball fields where they came from - not to mention organized leagues and coaches to teach them.  So those recruits who are out of shape and maybe overeating?  Perhaps some counseling or a little compassion would go a long way. 

Okay - getting off my soapbox now. 


Lisa said...

I'm right there with you. Without the help of Mr. Phentermine, I eat and eat and eat some more. I don't know what void I'm trying to fill, but this clearly isn't working.

What I wouldn't give to be one of those people who get to stressed or too sad or too happy to eat. No matter what the emotion, I can always eat and often do.

Do I need to feel external shame on top of that? No. No, I don't. My inner shame is plenty.

Anonymous said...

I like your soapbox. Eating is a coping style most of us have learned and many of us have suffered from the consequences.

Kudos for recognizing your un-hunger and getting past it!

smalltownmom said...

Excellent post, Susan.

Tricia said...

I get that there are people that battle their weight. I even think that some people are genetically programed to be heavy and some to be thin. But what a shame that young people have lost the ability to use their bodies in physcially active ways. Let me tell you the body does not get fitter after 50!! I think that cutbacks in schools as you mention and the socio-economic situation has a lot to do with it too.

knittergran said...

People are just meaner and meaner and I can't figure out why. I hope the pendulum swings the other way soon.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I have a friend who has never been hungry in her life. She eats for flavor and is a wonderful cook. Never hungry in her life?! I cannot fathom it.