My consumption experiment has been going well. We haven’t gone out to eat more than a handful of times since I started (we were going out twice a week). I’ve also curbed my video game purchases dramatically. I was buying a brand new game every month, far faster than I could play through them. I have bought a couple of family games to play with my family, but I count those toward my goal of spending more time being present with those I care about, and money well spent.
The next step in the grand consumption experiment is food and consumable goods. I am completely a person of excess. I’ve always had a very difficult time stopping eating after a sensible amount of food. I keep going until I’m physically incapable of stuffing another bite down my gullet.
I do the same with drink. I think it has to do mainly with my upbringing. I grew up in the time when processed food had reached its fullest point of market saturation. Healthy eating movements hadn’t yet taken hold, and both of my parents lacked the education or the desire to eat well. Our whole family was severely overweight, and the food near me when I was a kid was rich and full of calories.
My dad wasn’t a good example. He routinely ate a half a gallon of ice cream in a night. His portions were outrageous. Big eating was a point of perverse pride. We would go to all you can eat buffets and compete to see who could eat the most plates of food. The amount of food a male in our family could eat was somehow seen as a measure of their mettle and manliness. At the time, I hadn’t developed enough to see how strange this was.
On the other side, my mother used food as a comfort. She came from a place of food scarcity. My great grandmother didn’t have much money; I’m not sure that she ever worked, and she was a widow, but it was a point of pride that she offered a fresh meal to anyone that visited or happened upon her home. When my mother was a child, fatty food was a source of occasional sustenance, and such food was expensive and rarely had, but when I was a child that food was always available. Food was a comfort, a treatment for depression and angst. Food was the key to growing big and strong like my dad.
So my relationship with food has always been stilted, and I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. I’ve routinely bounced up and down by thirty pounds ever since I’ve graduated high school.
I log my calories and eat right for a while, and I make progress, but then I relax my standards. My lizard brain takes over and tells me that I can eat a little bit more. I remind myself how far I’ve come and tell myself I can have just a bit of refined sugar and fat.
Before I know what happened, my new pants don’t fit as well as they did when I bought them, and I grudgingly dig my old fat pants out of the closet. I swore that I would never wear them again.