I subsist on dark chocolate M&Ms. They go well with my morning banana and hard-boiled egg, with my low calorie yogurt lunch, and as a snack after my dinner of soup or Slimfast. I recognize that my eating habits are questionable if not terrible, but ever since my dad died on November 1, 2014, I have stopped preparing nutritious meals that he and I shared. I take the road of least resistance: opening a bag of candy and dumping the rainbow-colored treat into a plastic container. My refrigerator door gets more exercise than I do as a result of my constantly opening and closing it to grab a handful of my go-to sweets.
Ironically, despite my chocolate craving, I have lost weight. I have also lost energy due to a lack of protein, and I have gained anxiety about developing Type II diabetes due to a candy overdose. During a recent trip to New York City, I discovered that I do like food; I ate dinner every night at a different restaurant, consuming salmon, pasta and omelets. Much to my surprise, I did not blow up like a balloon. And, my craving for the M&Ms subsided.
However, my primary care physician is worried about me and my thirty-pound weight loss. (I am a tall woman who was always thin.) He wants me to meet with one of his assistants who specializes in eating in a nutritious way. While on vacation in the Big Apple, I thought I had solved my eating challenges, but back home in my usual environment, I have quickly returned to a diet that lacks basic nutrients.
My negative relationship with food began with my mother. Her motto was, “You can never be too thin.” I have always focused on my weight, choosing to skip meals rather than face gaining an extra pound. My lack of enthusiasm about cooking for one has further contributed to this eating problem. I hesitate to call it an adult eating disorder, but I guess that is what I am experiencing.
I am afraid that I am shortening my life by my poor eating habits. At age 74, I fear falling, especially on a thin body with jutting bones. I fear heart issues from not nourishing my heart. And, as one who abhors all liquids (except for the occasional sip of Slimfast), I fear fainting from dehydration.
I will seek help. I have no choice.
Ronna L. Edelstein