A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I mean, how many enchiladas do you need in order to feel full? Three? Five? Eleven? When is the hole filled?

According to Marketdata, Inc., Americans spent $58 billion dollars last year in the diet industry, including diet drinks, weight loss aids, meal replacement supplements, dieting books, etc. Yet we're still collectively obese. I can't figure out why.

Maybe it's because of this weird "not-enough" mentality so many of us carry around. As a recovering bulimic, I have no stones to throw on that one. Even I can't justify stuffing oneself to maximum capacity (and I especially can't justify feasting just to toss back the feast. It's a rather immoral sickness.). Why? Everyone knows that anything you're given on a restaurant plate is double or even triple what the average human actually needs. Why do we feel the need to clean those plates? Maybe because we paid for it and we feel like we have to get our money's worth? That's essentially paying someone to make you fat and uncomfortable. Why can't we say when enough is enough? "I'm satisfied with a third of this; I don't need any more of it." I think there's a countrywide epidemic of fear of loss and it's triggering overconsumption in absolutely everything. We're wealthy. We're well-fed. We have options. So why are we so uneasy? Why would anyone feel the need to go out and eat seven enchiladas when one or two will do the job? What's missing? We're not all athletes. Not many of us are particularly active. Thus, not many of us needs 4,000 calories a day, but that's what a great deal of us takes in. Ridiculous. It's psychological. It's like how children of the Depression grew up to hoard food. My granny does it. I know lots of grannies who keep canned food not only in the kitchen but in closets, sheds, even under the bed. To me, that is understandable. These people actually knew hunger. Not the hunger that comes from being too busy at work to get lunch, but hunger that comes from living on cornbread and not knowing where your next meal is coming from when the cornmeal is all gone and the shopkeeper can't feed his own family, let alone give you credit. I hold nothing against these elderly people who remember that, and they have a right to the "not-enough" mentality. But people my age? Please. We are children of the eighties. The majority of us never missed a meal, yet we're the worst about overconsumption now. We're the ones who will go to On The Border for the endless enchiladas special. We'll eat all those enchiladas (and chips and rice and beans and flan), and we'll wash it down with a 500-calorie margarita. And once we get home, we'll start snacking. And first thing in the morning, we'll head to McDonald's and take out a couple of biscuits and some hashbrowns when a banana or a bowl of oatmeal would have sufficed.

I recently had someone ask me if I was ok, because it seemed I had somewhat lost my appetite: "I noticed you didn't eat much at dinner last night." What did I eat? I had two enchiladas, a taquito with guacamole, rice, and some chips! Enough food to fill up anyone. This is an example of how ridiculously our culture insists on eating, that after taking out all that food, anyone would think there was something wrong with me and that I hadn't eaten enough. It also shows how much I eat at other meals, that someone would find that highly adequate amount of food to be less than what I normally eat. Indeed, the next morning, I ate my weight in biscuits and gravy and breakfast meats. A banana would have sufficed.

I dunno where I'm going with this. Just that I think we're all so very sick inside. I don't know what we're all so afraid of, or why so many of us feel like gorging is the answer, and then turn around and buy treadmills we don't use and pills that make our hearts race. I don't know why some of us will hit every fast food restaurant on the strip and eat until the point of gastric rupture, purge, and repeat. Hmm. Maybe that's why anoretics are so haughty. They're really hungry as hell, but they at least have found a way to fill the hole; by not filling and refilling it with food. Not eating can be as much an activity and obsession as eating.

I do know that no one, no one, no one, needs an endless supply of any food in one night.

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