Nom Nom Nom

I need to lose weight.

Which means I need to eat less.

Which means I need to avoid the things which make me want to eat more.

These things are:

1) Television.

I fix myself some scrambled-eggs-on-toast for breakfast. I've a very particular way of making scrambled eggs, which involves slowly microwaving the egg whites with a little pepper and salt, then adding the yolk and mashing them up, maybe helping the whites to heat the yolk with another 15 seconds in the microwave.

The result is, well, scrambled eggs...but creamier. The vital thing is that the yolks need to be hot, but still liquid, so the lumps of white sit in them like a sauce.

So I settle down to eat, and realise there's something missing. Some non-culinary part of the experience. Ah! The kitchen TV.

I flip around the channels, looking for something to eat my creamy eggs to. There's the morning news (a non-report on a non-event), the morning news of a different channel (a non-interview with a non-interesting microcelebrity), the history channel (usually something non-informative or non-accurate about WW2), or a wide selection of violent cartoons.

I usually end up watching something about macho sports cars...or a rerun of one of the Star Treks.

The thing is though, it works the other way around. If my brain's too tired to do anything useful, I sit down to watch something nonthreatening or moderately informative - which usually turns out to be a medical drama or, um, one of the Star Treks - and then get the feeling that something's missing. Something...culinary, to go with the televisual experience. Some gustatory accompaniment.

For some reason, it doesn't happen with radio.

2) Boredom.

I'm bored! Which usually means "I'm too tired to do anything interesting but can't or don't want to sleep". What am I going to do?

Something that doesn't require any of the brainpower I don't have right now, but doesn't involve just sitting and staring at the wall. Or Star Trek.

3) Sex.

I used to live with someone who got cravings for cheese on toast after having an orgasm. I always fancied a cup of tea after mine. So after I bit his nipples till he came (what?) I went downstairs, put on the kettle, burned some bread and chopped up some cheese.

Nowadays the first thing I long for after love have my ears mercilessly banged, by some hard, throbbing techno. German for preference, with guttural, doom-laden lyrics - you know the kind.

But there's also post-mutual masturbation munchies. After-anal avarice. Following-fellatio food. It could be a plate of pasta, rice with fish, or indeed some cheese on toast. Usually with a nice cup of tea - currently I'm favouring unsweetened tea with lemon juice. But basically I just want something hot and salty that I can swallow hard after...erm, yes well anyway.

4) Eating.

There's a French proverb which runs "Appetite comes with eating" - in other words, "The more you have of something, the more you want". But it's literally true too.

You feel like a little snack, so a little snack is what you have. Maybe just a cheese sandwich - which magically acquires toppings of peppers, lettuce, spring onions, mustard-mayo and whatever else is in the fridge.

It's quite nice, so you make another one. Which makes you realise how hungry you are.

That's not hungry as in "my stomach is empty" - it's hungry as in "I'm already full, maybe even a little bit overfull, but I really feel like giving my tastebuds something to do".

So you fix yourself something else, something bigger, something that makes you feel bloated and guilty afterwards - something that you know is going to make you bloated and guilty afterwards as you're eating it - but you enjoy eating it anyway.

Though for some reason you don't enjoy it as much as you expected, which if you're really far gone makes you try eating something else afterwards in the hope that that'll be as pleasurable as what you thought the last one was going to be.

Thin people seem to live with the bizarre delusion that we eat because we're hungry. If that were true all meals would be snacks, and there'd be no such thing as set times to eat.

No. I eat because of long-established psychological associations with other activities, and a habit of regarding it as the default "ticking over" state.

Oh, and because I enjoy doing it. I enjoy it a lot. If I were more organised and more traumatised I'd develop bulimia - so it's probably a good thing I'm both hopelessly disorganised and not haunted by my own childhood. It's difficult to be haunted by something that dull.

So, how do I get out of the two way association of TV and TV Dinner? Either stop watching TV, or spend several weeks forcing myself to not do one while doing the other.

The boredom connection? I'm not sure how to give up boredom, but there's an ever-growing stack of books I keep meaning to read.

Sex? No I am not going to give up sex. Maybe swallow a tab of appetite-reducing but sex-enhancing amphetamine before meeting with a regular? Hmm, that might just possibly create problems of its own. Not sure about that one.

And the French Feedback-loop problem? Probably comes down to willpower.

Sigh. Anyone got any better ideas?


  1. I'm ill, so I hope you'll excuse the following if it's twonk: you really can't eat TVs. They are tasteless and will damage your teeth.

  2. You know, if you want to lose weight, you don't have to do anything really drastic, other than burn more calories than you take in. Real weight loss that's manageable and easy to maintain takes time.

    Try going for a walk or start doing some calisthenics when you're bored. Stretch a lot, start slowly, and build up your strength in the coming weeks. The first two weeks are the hardest. After a few weeks, you'll find that you can do more and have to try different exercises to up the intensity. Dance to your techno music!

    Try drinking a glass of water before eating a meal or snack. Then drink another glass with a meal. Then drink one more glass after a meal. And eat a bowl of oatmeal or something high in fiber at least once a day.

    You can still have the same food you crave, so long as you work it off by doing something active. You'd be surprised at how much you burn off after a twenty minute walk, at least 3 to 5 times a week. I find that exercise or doing an outdoor activity is very helpful in fighting off boredom. Some days, when it's too cold outside, I just turn up the music and dance indoors to a playlist of my fave songs.

  3. As a lifelong boredom/emotional eater, I find many of your comments about the lure of food to be spot on.

  4. I wish the 20 minute walk three times a week thing worked, but i don't think it does. I usually walk briskly for at least an hour every day, and i'm still a fat bastard. Possibly, of course, i would be an even fatter bastard if i didn't... ;o)

  5. Try coming over to mine and scrubbing my floors.

    That should burn off a few calories.