Summer of Fitness 2: Food as Filler

I like to claim that I am not an emotional eater, but, if we’re being honest, that’s not true. It’s just that it’s not your stereotypical sadness, depression, or angst that makes me want to eat. It’s restlessness. It’s indecision. Food fills the empty zones in my activity cycles, the liminal spaces between actions in my life. About to sit down and work on the computer? Eat something. About to relax after a long day by vegging in front of the television for a few hours? Eat something. About to drive my hour and a half home from GVSU after teaching? Eat something. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not; I must fill the emptiness with something, and food is my crutch.

When I don’t give a crap about what I am eating, this process goes smoothly with few hiccups. When I am trying to monitor my food intake, this food as filler phenomenon can cause real issues. Case in point: this past week was not the best for me when it came to balanced nutrition. I had two out of seven days where I busted my 2500 calorie limit horribly, averaging 2887 calories for the week. Part of the problem was my still being sick when the week started. And part of it was simple willpower. I broke pretty much all the core rules I laid out last week (e.g., I couldn’t even tell you without looking it up how many sugared pops I had, probably over ten for sure).

Food as filler manifested itself in the mental struggles I went through on several occasions when deciding what to eat. For example, I spent forty-five minutes one evening trying to decide what I wanted to have as an after dinner snack (a fourth meal as Taco Bell might market it). It was as if a little cartoon angel and devil were sitting on my shoulders arguing their positions in my ears (“Make some tomato soup!” ‘Go get KFC!”) as I struggled to make a good food choice. It was farcical and also rather pathetic, but, thinking about it now, it was also one of those empty transitory periods between activities. And I filled it with food, albeit after some struggle (tomato soup, if you’re wondering who won that debate).

Clearly I need to work harder at not filling time with food, or this entire summer of fitness will end in failure. And that would suck mightily.

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The irony to all this SoF angst is that in my weigh-in this morning, I actually lost more weight. The scale reading was 246.2 lbs, which is 1.4 lbs off of last week’s total and 5.4 lbs off from when the SoF started two weeks ago. This happened without any trips to the gym and with me eating like crap a couple of days this week. What’s going on? Don’t know, but whatever it is, I’ll take it.

Next week, I’ll be sure and write about my workout regimen since I’ll have had a full week’s worth of workouts under my belt for the first time this SoF (fingers crossed).


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