The No Late-Night Snack Experiment: Part I

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Day 1. 9pm.

And the experiment begins. Starting today, for seven days, whenever I feel hungry for a late-night snack, I have to write. I’m not saying that I won’t still have a snack, but I will first write, see how I’m feeling and if I’m actually hungry. If I’m hungry, it’s OK. I can have a snack. But if I’m not hungry, then maybe let’s sit with why I want to eat. What am I actually feeling.

So it’s night one, and I’m not even hungry for a snack yet. I’m just having anxiety about the anticipation of wanting a snack, and even though I am allowing myself to eat if I’m hungry, I still feel scared about it. I had one glass of wine tonight. Just finished it, actually. Another reason I’ve been getting anxiety tonight. Knowing that I’m only going to have one glass of wine. Steve and I ate dinner at 7pm. A delicious stir-fry with leftover pork tenderloin, loads of veggies, and brown rice ramen noodles. Super tasty. Now, Stephen is watching the NBA Finals and I’m sitting on our balcony. I tried listening to my book, but I couldn’t pay attention. Then I started listening to samples of books; my new, favorite, obsessive, procrastination pastime. But I still feel distracted. I knew that I was going to have to write at some point tonight, anyway, so let’s just do it now.

I already feel a little better. Or maybe it’s just the wine. I’m OK right now. I’m not hungry. I’m just scared that I’m going to be hungry, or think I’m hungry when I’m actually not, and then then I’ll have to sit with my actual feelings that I don’t want to feel. I don’t even know what they are but I know I don’t want ‘em. I know that much.

I mean I do want them, that’s why I’m doing this. I just know that it will be hard. Drinking more wine and eating a bunch of salted nuts while watching a drama on Netflix is so dreamy and appealing and wonderfully comforting. And so, so easy. The other stuff is hard and is stupid. It’s like I have split personalities. One version of myself is always fighting with – or yelling at – the other version of myself. Sometimes berating her.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Day 2. 8:30am.

I guess we can call last night a success… if a success means that I didn’t eat anything after dinner even though I felt hungry. I did not write, though, when I did feel hungry. I wrote before I felt hungry. After that, I sat on my laptop staring at Revolve, putting 100 things in my Wish List because I can’t actually afford anything because I don’t have a job yet. Really, I was staring at it because I had tried to listen to one of my books and I just couldn’t concentrate. All I can think about is when I’m going to feel hungry and how I’m going to react and how much it’s going to suck.

Steve has been watching his basketball game this whole time. Now it’s about 10pm, and I’m starting to feel hungry. Or am I?? Probably not. I sink further down in my chair, trying not to think about it but can’t stop thinking about it. Steve finishes watching the game. “Ready to watch Naked and Afraid??” I don’t look at him and just respond with an unenthusiastic, Yea.

“What’s wrong?”

Nothing. …. I’m hungry.

Steve laughs. He thinks this is cute but he has no idea. It really does seem like a joke. Seem funny, but I’m actually crawling out of my skin because of this stupid little experiment.

We start to watch the show. I can’t believe how much I want a snack and how I can’t stop thinking about it. This is the point where I should start writing, but we just started the show. I’ll write afterwards.

At a break, I turn to Steve.

I’m really struggling.

He smiles again. “I can see that. Am I going to have to write my feelings down, too? I’m not sure if I’m going to make it through this week.”

We finish the show. It’s almost 11:30pm. Oh, thank God, it’s time for bed. Let’s go up to bed. “Don’t you want to write?” Yes. But I need to come up with you. You can’t leave me down here alone. I’ll probably raid the kitchen and eat everything in sight.

I’m exaggerating, yes, but it’s incredible how much more doable this is when I talk to someone about it, as I’m going through it. I’m sure I would have caved by now, if Steve wasn’t with me.

We go upstairs. I need to write. Right now. It’s the only thing that I hope will calm my nerves. But first, take out my contacts and brush my teeth. OK. Oh yea, let me figure out what I’m wearing tomorrow. OK, now I’m going to write. I walk out of the closet and into the bedroom. Steve just plopped a pile of clean clothes onto the bed. I roll my eyes and huff, then plop down on my side of the bed. I’m eight years old.

Steve looks at me, kind of incredulously. “Are you serious?”

I can’t say yes because that would be absolutely ridiculous and crazy. But yes, I’m fucking serious. I can’t fold laundry right now. I need to write.

Obviously, this scene doesn’t end well. It ends in a fight. Steve tries to laugh it off, at first. He really does. But when I fold a pair of his socks and he asks me if I put the right and the left together and I roll my eyes and say, This is why I don’t fold your laundry, Steve isn’t laughing anymore.

“I feel like you’re taking this out on me.” Well, I’m not taking it out on you.

I suppose I am, but I’m certainly not going to admit it. I can feel my frustration grow. I’m embarrassed by the way I’m acting. More than embarrassed, ashamed of my behavior. I take a few deep breaths and try to put my thoughts together. I need to explain what’s going on with me. What is going on with me?? I try to say it out loud…

This is why I can never do this. Because I don’t like the person I become. I get anxious, and the only things I think will comfort me and calm me down are alcohol and food. I get so itchy and panicky until I finally cave. I realize it’s not fair to put that on you, but I just need you to understand that that’s what’s going on for me right now. I hate how I’m being.

I can feel my frustration now turning emotional. “Why are you crying?” Steve is sitting next to me in bed now, and gently rubs my foot. I don’t know why I’m crying! I’m embarrassed by how I just acted and I hate feeling this way.

I explain to him how I had it fixed in my mind to write and how urgent it felt to do it right then or I might explode. He tells me it’s OK. “Why don’t you write now.” I sniffle. I don’t want to write now. “Why not?” Because now all I want is to make sure everything is OK with you. “I’m fine.” But I’m not.

Steve lays down and invites me. I lay with him, comforted by his arms around me. I’m sorry. “It’s OK.”

The first night of my experiment and it ends in tears. Jesus Christ. It’s gonna be a long week.

DAY 2 – LATER

The lights were out by midnight last night. I tossed and turned until 1:30am – thankfully no hunger pangs – and finally fell asleep around 2am. I woke up a bunch during the night, but still woke up just after 8am feeling sort of rested. When I head downstairs, I immediately head for the kitchen and grab five dried apricots. About 30 minutes later, Steve comes down and we eat an avocado toast breakfast. “Did you feel any hungrier than usual when you woke up?” Yea, I ate five apricots as soon as I got down here.

I think about it for a minute. Actually, I don’t even know if I was hungry or if I just wanted to eat something. Like I had earned it. I feel like, I made it through the night. But now it’s Day 2 and I’m already feeling anxious about how tonight will go. At least Steve knows what to expect this time. Poor guy.

DAY 2. 9:48PM

I’m definitely hungry. I must be hungry. I had a very filling, delicious dinner at 5:30. We had to eat earlier than usual tonight because I had a meeting at 7pm, so I only just got home. Am I hungry? On a scale of 1 to 10. 6? I don’t know. My stomach hasn’t started grumbling yet but I feel like it’s going to. This sucks. I don’t want to be hungry at this time of night. But it’s fine. I’m allowed to be hungry. I’m allowed to eat. As long as I’m actually hungry.

Steve just opened the tupperware of apricots and my mouth watered. Jesus, I’m like a fiend. No, you’re not. You had an early dinner tonight. You haven’t eaten in four hours. It’s OK.

But I’m having anxiety. I have had the worst anxiety today and my neck is killing me. OK, so it looks like I’m going to eat something tonight. And I’m OK with that because I am actually hungry. I will measure an appropriate amount of mixed nuts. But why do I feel like I shoudn’t? I’m not on a diet. This isn’t a diet. I’m allowed to eat when I’m hungry. I will eat mindfully. I will enjoy it. Steve’s making us tea right now, too, so I’ll have a cup of tea with honey. OK. I am OK with this decision. My hunger is now up to an 8. Thank God Steve is here.

..Poor guy.

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