The Poverty Diet

There are more important things than food. Yes, it’s one of those necessities of life; however, it has become an obsession, an addiction, and a preoccupation with the majority. There are numerous diets and eating disorders, and I doubt anyone who works in an office can go an entire month without hearing about some ongoing struggle to lose those holiday pounds.

I am not an exception. While meals can be enjoyable, they more often cause anxiety. I don’t like to eat anymore, especially when hungry.

In the past two years, I have often been starving. Like any mom, I went without so my son had enough to eat. Just when I’d think that everything was going to be all right – that I would have the help I needed or that I would make enough money to support more than one appetite – my security would crumble. I used to respond to this by eating everything in sight when I had the resources. Now, I’m going the other way; I don’t want to become content again just to lose everything.

It began a few months ago. I lost my appetite and my energy. I was barely sleeping. I had to force myself to eat even a few bites each day. Then, my voice disappeared and I had to be put on medicine for a respiratory infection (that was a fun bill I haven’t paid yet). My doctor told me that I’m also anemic, B-12 deficient, and have elevated stress levels. Even with all the supplements I had to start taking, my weight dropped; I still couldn’t eat even though I was hungry.

This is psychological. Any amateur with a web browser can tell me that. I know I need to eat, but I also know that if I do, there will come a time when I’ll have to stop. It’s better to deprive myself now, so I don’t feel the deprivation so strongly then.

When my friends or coworkers offer me food, I tell them I’m not hungry or accept just enough to make them feel good. They know I’m struggling. And it feels amazing to have such incredible people in my life. The last thing I want is for them to start thinking the worst of me; I don’t have an eating disorder, yet it might appear that I do.

There truly are more important things than food: my son’s happiness and friendship are at the top of a growing list.

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