One of the hardest things about writing a weekly blog on the same topic for over a decade is that there is a lot of mundanity at certain points in a year, and we are in one of those times right now. The big holidays are over and winter in cold climates is a lot of staying home. (OK, admittedly I am a huge proponent of staying home in all seasons. But in winter, most regular non-hermit types do as well.) So I don’t have a lot of out-of-the-ordinary situations to write about.
So I guess what I will say is that getting my eating under control means I don’t eat when I am bored, or eat as a means of filling the void. And winter always used to be the perfect time to be bored, and therefore, to get cozy and eat.
The other day on a social media group for readers, I saw someone wondering why anyone would eat while they read? They thought that sounded crazy! And I thought to myself, that is a normal eater posing that question because eating while I read was my absolute favorite! So many of my old paper books have food stains or crumbs in the creases because while I was eating compulsively, I loved to cozy up in a chair with a book and a blanket and a bunch of junk food to eat and read.
I do still love to cozy up with a good book. But now it’s usually an audiobook, with a cup of coffee or herbal tea, and my knitting.
Sometimes when we give up a thing that is killing us, we have to change other things about ourselves. Ways that we have integrated a bad habit into our days. Like the way I always had a cigarette and a cup of coffee on my roof first thing in the morning when I was a smoker, so when I quit smoking I had to change my morning routine and stopped going on the roof in the morning. Because certain actions set up a craving. They gave my body an expectation and triggered a particular appetite.
So I didn’t read as much when I first got my eating under control. And if I did I often did so at the bookstore, or if it was particularly late at night, at a bar, where I could drink Diet Coke in my pajamas and not worry about eating. (It was New York City, where a girl drinking Diet Coke in her pajamas at a bar after midnight is the least weird thing a bartender has to deal with.)
I am so grateful that I can still love books without eating. I am grateful that I have found a way to keep the best parts of certain habits and practices, and still give up the parts of them that were killing me. I still love a cozy day with a good book. But now I don’t also hate myself afterwards because I can’t control my eating.