The Break Up
Over the last few days I’ve done quite a bit of reflection on my relationship with food. First of all I think it’s utterly fucking insane that I just made that statement, we have to be the only country in the world which has taken the natural need to eat and turned into a social condition. If you look up the word relationship the first two definitions tend to be ones which define interactions between people, in fact most example sentences using the word are directly related to interpersonal dealings.
The “relationship” we have with food is more of a parasocial relationship. Parasocial is a term used by social scientist which defines the interaction that average people have with celebrities. One party knows a great deal about the other, while the known party knows nothing about the first. We are emotional beings, our deep sense of being is derived from our emotions, yet we often project our emotions on everything outside of us. Why else do we see dogs that are treated better than people, or teenagers who become fanatical about a television star, or deep personal attachments to inanimate objects like cars.
It’s from this place that we find our drive to act out with food emotionally. I know this because if you can think of any category which is a poor attitude towards food, I’m sure I’ve had it. If you can name a dysfunctional method of food consumption, I’m sure that at some point I experienced it, and probably was the poster child for that issue.
For instance “emotional eating”, I was an emotional binger. I would get upset about something that involved either work or my personal life, and then I would find myself eating large quantities of comfort food, which is euphemism for good tasting fatty foods that we don’t want to call “fatty” because it creates some personal memory from our youth.
I think for a large portion of my life I used to self medicate with large food binges, which would inevitably cause my insulin levels to spike, I would get lethargic and slow down, eventually falling asleep regardless of the time of day. The trance like state I would find myself in was something I couldn’t fathom in fact when this topic came up at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, I made fun of it to deflect my own insecurity about the issue. In the moments before passing out after my belly was completely full I would feel a sense of cloudiness that I can only equate to what it feels like coming off a pot high. When I woke up from these short naps, I would feel bloated, but emotionally I would forget about whatever was bugging me before my sumo wrestler like pattern.
In fact after the failure of my first business I got into precisely this pattern of stress, consumption, insulin spike, pass out, wake up and not remember what I was pissed about. The cycle was so intense it’s what took me on the road to a weight headed towards 500 lbs.
We need to eat, if we don’t eat eventually our bodies eat ourselves and we die. I have never in my life ever been on the verge of starvation, but I am 100% sure that my entire life up until a few months ago that I was malnourished.
Ian made a great comment this morning about body builders. He said that all body builders are full of shit about how they eat because the number of calories they need to eat can’t be consumed in a day by purely “clean food”. He’s right do you know how many chicken breast or pieces of fish I would have to eat consume 5000 calories in a day. I realize that today rarely every feel hungry. I am eating 2000 calories a day, and many days I fall under that number, yet I have not felt a single sense of desperation because my body needed more food. In the rare instance I have felt anything close to that sense of desperation are times when I forget to eat for more than 4 hours, which is a good feeling because that tells me my metabolism is burning food for energy, and not creating more fat.
In changing the way I eat, I have eliminated the need to say that I have a relationship with food. The food I eat doesn’t give two shits whether or not I am happy, sad, or going to eat it with a side of arugula, or a side of French fries. All those things are about me, and how I feel about food. If I choose to eat the French fries it’s because I am choosing to satisfy an emotional need, because what my body needs is the arugula.
I am sorry to say this food, but I no longer want to date you; I just want to eat you. Thanks for the years of comforting me, but while I will still enjoy your many bountiful goodness’s, you will no longer have control over how, when, and what I eat of you, because I am in control today. This is the last time I will treat you as more than a means to my own end, whether it be to capture a special time or place in my memory, or whether it be to satisfy a craving, or reminisce in a time from my childhood, it is me who will make that decision.
I am in control of my eating. I am in control of my weight.
Ian and I are developing a bit of a routine, every morning I meet him outside my building I say hello, he responds to me in some manner either verbally or physically that just says “we are going to have fun”. This morning as we were walking to the elevators he tells me today’s workout is called King Tut. Tut is an acronym for time under tension.
I started thinking oh great.
Anytime a trainer gives their workout a name, it probably means that at some point I’m going to call the trainer an asshole. In terms of cardiovascular intensity this workout was maybe a 5, yet in terms of muscle exertion this workout was a 10. Essentially every movement we worked on created constant stress on the muscle group being worked.
He had me start with chest presses on an incline bench press. The actual pressing motion was a bit different than a normal chest press, as I rotated my wrists so that my thumbs would be pointing towards my head, also on the contraction portion of the movement I lowered my elbows deeper than I normally would on a regular chest press. What made it even more difficult was that I would have to use 4 seconds to press the muscle upward, and then use 4 seconds of time to lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. After 10 reps of this constant stress on my chest, I had to do 10 reps as fast I could, after 3 sets of this exercise (each set the weights got lighter) I could feel parts of my chest pulsating.
2/3’s of the workout involved similar activities, each new motion or movement changing the area of the body being worked. When we got to the shoulders he had me do combination raises, such as doing a front dumbbell shoulder raise, which moved right into an upright standing back row. After 10 reps of this shoulder raise to row, I had to then hold the dumbbells above my shoulder level and then flutter my arms while Ian used his hands as the an indicator for the lowest point of my flutter. Every rep we performed placed constant tension on my muscles. The type of tension being felt was the type that makes you feel uncomfortable like being in a pair of pants or a shirt that’s one size two small for you.
The only part of the workout where I did get my heart rate up a bit was when we worked the legs. Again the principle movement involved was done to keep a constant state of stress on my leg muscles. In one of the exercises Ian recorded, I had to do a squat, into an upright row, alternating the hand that lifted the weight up to my shoulders. I ended up doing 3 sets of this exercise with 10 reps per side in each set.
The last few minutes of the workout he had me do some core work, Ian’s core exercises suck exponentially more than any other trainer, ultimately his understanding and ability to make sure the technique is correct is the reason why I think all of his exercises are far more effective. We did 5 core exercises with a small number of reps, and by the last one my abs and back couldn’t take much more.
I am so glad I didn’t schedule any more work this day, as my legs are shot. To be honest I’m not sure how I’m going to feel tomorrow morning. After the leg work I did at Crossfit on Wednesday the high number of punches I threw yesterday, and the number of lunges I did today, my legs feel exhausted if you put a grey wig on me and slouched a bit more I’m sure I could pass for someone in his 80’s the way I was walking today. This weekend I am going to have to get another massage, because I feel the tightness building, and this week is the first week in quite some time that I’ve found it hard to get in and out of my car. It’s also been difficult getting up out of a chair, it just takes more time because of the stiffness and soreness in the muscles. I believe at the end of this week I will physically have reached a new level of strength and conditioning.
Unfortunately strength and conditioning isn’t one of those things you can measure by a drop of blood, or blowing into some tube.
So far as through Thursday I’ve been very good about my eating. In fact this week I ran out of Whole Wheat English Muffin’s so for breakfast I have been just making a hash, with chicken breast, salsa, and eggs. It’s actually really good, and couple that with a banana or a piece of fruit and I’m nice and satiated. I don’t get full, because I don’t get full anymore. I’ve been eating until I don’t want to eat anymore.
My lunches thus far have all been eaten, and I haven’t gone out to eat with family which has helped significantly. I went out to eat twice this week, and each time I made good choices, which left me after the meal feeling about the same as I do after a meal that I make.
I look forward to recording my official weight this week. It’s going to look good.