My boyfriend reminded me last night, “You can’t live off of toast.” But also… can’t you?
I’ve had a weird relationship with food my whole life. I’m worried about it, I’m picky, I’m hungry, then I’m suddenly not hungry, so not hungry that the smell of dinner makes me sick. I feel like a pregnant woman without the pregnancy. I think toast is the greatest invention since sliced bread, and sliced bread was the greatest invention since butter. Is this historically accurate?
My odd relationship with food is actually the subject of my next book, The Joy of Snacking, but you’ll have to wait awhile for that one. While I am trying to keep all my food thoughts for book content, I did want to write a little this week about snacks and appetite cuz it’s on my mind!!
I don’t know about you but my appetite is directly tied to my mental health. As an anxious girl, deciding what to eat, where to eat, and how to eat it is a huge obstacle in my life. If I’m more anxious on a certain day, I can barely handle anything outside of a quesadilla. Cheese and tortillas are so safe. On a good day, I’m proud of myself for eating a whole salad. There are… so many flavors in salads. It can be so overwhelming. Salad dressing, pumpkin seeds and pickled radishes?! Who do you think my tongue is? Liberace?!
It shouldn’t be this hard to have lunch but even today I stared at food for a very long time before ultimately deciding certain textures would hurt my feelings therefore I’ll just have more toast and coffee. There’s so much wrapped up in this borderline psychotic decision making. I don’t want to commit to a meal, I don’t want to add to dishes, I know I need to eat, but the whole thing feels like the olympics in my head. My friend and I decided the best way to describe it is as if a snake was wrapped around your waist, and every time you went to bite into a muffin, the snake coiled tighter and tighter the closer the food got to your mouth. Doesn’t that sound so unfortunate? I know you’re thinking, red flags, eating disorder content, and yeah I get it. I did used to have an eating disorder, but that’s all ancient history. What I have now I have titled “nervous stomach.” It’s a stomach that is always panicking, can’t commit to a decision but also can’t stand up for itself.
I realize how foreign this might sound to a lot of people. “Trouble eating? I wish!!” “Stop bragging!!” And I agree. This is very weird that I feel this way, but alas, here I am. I find mayonnaise deeply offensive, I can’t handle lettuce after 3 PM, and I flip out when I talk to waiters 99% of the time.
Our current culture is so foodie oriented that I often feel like a 5 year old. But I’m also ok with that. It’s just a part of my personality. You can’t really change who you are, all you can do is manage expectations. I want to live off popcorn and toast, and I just hope to squeeze in as many vegetables in between. I’m a much healthier person than I was 10 years ago, but I still truly love goldfish crackers.
The reason I am writing about my strange food life this week is I want to speak directly to the community of people who take medication for their brains and how much that can truly fuck with ones appetite. If you understand what I’m talking about — please sound off in the comments! As I’m a month into a new medicine for me, I find it’s made me less and less hungry, which is actually a worrisome situation. I’m trying to figure out how to do this balancing act of taking care of myself. Adulting they call it!
If this has been a highly unrelatable newsletter for you today, I hope you at least enjoyed the silly food cartoons. Issues with food seems like a major taboo topic, but I don’t want to shy away from talking about it. It’s not that I don’t love to eat. I have like 25 miniature meals in a day. But a lot of my eating habits come with a serious amount of mental wrestling, so I would love to hear what your habits are and how you manage!
Thank you for reading! New posts every Friday!
ICYMI: I’m teaching one more cartoon workshop tomorrow night!
Currently Watching: The Last of Us (scary!!!!)
Obsessed with: napping
Most of the cartoons in this newsletter are available on Etsy!
Are you using your What Did I Do Today? journal? I would love to hear from you!
Thank you so much for sharing, Hilary. All of this was incredibly relatable to me. I’ve gone through my ups and downs in relationship to food and my body. I also have a sweet tooth I must constantly control.
Also, side note: not sure if you know were toast(ing) as a form of celebration (raise a glass and give a toast...) comes from. Just in case, sharing with you since I found the history fascinating.
I always love the idea of cooking without thinking about the ingredients that go into it! So I’ll end up making something way outside of my tastes and then have to sit there sadly eating it.