Starving

Between now and my last post, I’ve realized that I have an addiction-like issue with food. I eat it when I’m bored, when I’m sad, and even after I decide not to eat it because I’m not hungry (and then I realize I’m eating it when I’m putting it in my mouth or when I feel yucky because I’m too full). When I’m at student teaching and I’m bored, I start thinking about when the next recess or special class will be and what I’m going to eat then. My choices for those times are usually healthy, so thinking about my banana or carrots isn’t that bad. But I just get uncomfortable when I realize how much time and energy my thoughts about eating are eating up.

At school, my thoughts seem to be, “Will I have time to eat? What if I don’t get to eat enough? What if…gasp…I get really hungry?!” I’d been thinking about fasting a day or skipping a meal to help myself get over my irrational dread of hunger. I don’t know why I have this fear because I’ve never had a serious lack of food at any time in my life.

God must have agreed with me and knew that I wouldn’t follow through on the fasting front, because I left my lunch at home today. I couldn’t think of any fast food places nearby and didn’t want to eat school lunch because it had meat in it, so I decided to take it as my opportunity to experience and survive hunger.

Luckily, I had a bowl of yummy home-made oatmeal with soy milk and pumpkin puree in it for breakfast, so when 10:00 rolled around and my students were at recess, I could tell myself I didn’t need a snack, even if one was available. I even resisted the Nilla Wafers my students had as a snack because of their PHOs. I was so proud of myself.

Lunchtime came and I was hungry. I bought a chocolate milk from the cafeteria to tide me over and drank plenty of water throughout the morning. We left for a field trip at 12:30 and I still felt hungry but not sick or crabby, which is how I usually feel when the word “need” can start to come into play with food. It wasn’t until about 2:00 that I began to feel really really hungry, get a headache, and have crankiness creep in.

I’m glad I have the Holy Spirit, because I don’t know how I would have otherwise dealt so patiently and nicely with sitting by “the naughty kid” on the half-hour bus ride back from our field trip (which involved smelling an unpleasant smelling nut he’d acquired on the trick, lots of rock paper scissors, and saying “Sit down! Sit down on your bottom. Turn around. Leave Riley alone,” more times than I can count) or reading Spot books on the floor to ten arguing first graders while both my legs fell asleep. Instead, I was even able to be pleasant to my husband, who usually experiences the brunt of my hunger-induced moodiness, which probably increased his sympathy for me and made him happy to warm me up a plate of squash/butter/milk/cheese noodle leftovers.

So, I’ve learned that when I get really hungry, I get awful headaches and my whole body aches and the aching lasts for a really really long time. However, almost anything can induce this type of headache for me, so hunger is by no means the only enemy. I think I’ll take my lunch to work tomorrow, but I feel like I’ve at least conquered part of my mental battle.

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