Monday, April 06, 2009
Lunch today was a delicious salad nicoise, not unlike the one pictured here. I ate nearly all of it, stopping because I was full.
Why am I telling you this? Because it's been about 7 months since I have eaten and felt full. Not because I'm starving myself but because I've been taking an anti-depressant that messes with my metabolism. I knew it would have this effect. I knew this intellectually, but still, over the last few months, I've struggled with various kinds of fallout from never feeling full.
You eat more when you don't feel full. Especially if you are, like me, a person who likes food and likes to eat. Normally food stops tasting good as you begin to feel full. But if you never feel full, the food keeps right on tasting good, and it's an effort of will and intellect to stop eating.
I say that I knew this medication would have this effect. What I actually mean is that I think it has this effect on me (and on others). But part of me didn't buy it. On some level I've been flagellating myself for the last few months for eating so much and never feeling satisfied.
We do such a good job in this culture of conflating appetite with gluttony, with greed, with being out of control in a scary way; I don't know if it's possible to think of appetite in neutral terms. Certainly it isn't for me. Certainly it's been tough to say to myself, "The little thingy in my brain that signals satiety is not working right now." Much easier to say to myself, "What a greedy, insatiable fill in the blank I am."
So along with that feeling of fullness today came another feeling: relief. It feels good to feel full. It's satisfying.
But it's disturbing to feel this kind of relief. I may very well have to back on this medication, or one like it, in the not too distant future. Part of me says unh-unh, never doing that again, I don't care what the consequences are. But is that really true? Would I rather be thinner and more depressed? Thinner and more anxious?
The questions make me think back to this study, which found that people would rather give up years of their life, be severely depressed, lose a limb, go blind, be unable to have children, if they could only be thin.
I think of myself as smarter than that. And yet--it feels good to be full again.