Temperance (or areas of improvement, pt. 2)

30 Jul

From my mac dictionary:

temperance |ˈtemp(ə)rəns|noun abstinence from alcoholic drink : [as adj. ] the temperance movement. See note at abstinence .• moderation or self-restraint, esp. in eating and drinking.ORIGIN Middle English : from Anglo-Norman French temperaunce, from Latin temperantia ‘moderation,’ from temperare ‘restrain.’

FYI, I’m working off of the second (bolded) definition.

From an early age, I had a voracious appetite.  The depth of my appetite often extended far beyond my physical hunger cues.

The competitive atmosphere of growing up in a household with 4 siblings brought out a kind of primal greed.  I wanted my share, and I wanted it that instant.

Furthermore, the stress and all around unpleasantness of dealing with xenophobic peers at school day in day out (and the teachers, staff and parents who were often just as bad… or worse!) brought about strong cravings for the tactile, olfactory, all around sensuous experience of eating.  What other activity demands the attention of all 5 of our senses, gives us energy, and has the capacity to tweak our moods for the better?  Grocery stores are lined with packaged comfort.  But, duh!  We all know all of this.  Most of us know it all too well.

That I was super active as a kid only gave me more reasons to eat (and reasons to eat more!)  The above factors combined with my (then) roaring metabolism and my frequent shortage of time as I rushed between school, home, and extracurriculars meant that I learned to stuff a lot of food in my face, and to do it fast.  I was no stranger to the upset stomach.  I was super active.  Almost as soon as I could walk, I’m told, I would randomly break into wild sprints.  Before my school days, I would split my time between playing dolls and playing outside- climbing trees, rolling down hills, playing tag, etc.  I started playing soccer in 1st grade, and not too long after, added swimming, basketball, softball, and track to my repertoire.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to leave one sports practice only to attend another.  This is my overwrought way of saying; I grew up eating a ton, but for awhile, I got away with it.

In my preteens, I started to become interested in fringe cultures, and my identity metamorphosed accordingly.  I increasingly found the milieu of the athletic word alienating, limiting and lackluster.  By the time that I was 16, I finally quit swimming, the sport that I had become most serious about.  Being a “jock” didn’t go well with my developing ethos of socio-polico awareness, anti-authoritarianism, DIY and anti-consumerism, or so I thought at the time.  I would do some workouts, mostly at home, but far less rigorous, far less lengthy, and far less often.

I didn’t match my activity level adjustment with an adjustment to my diet.  I kept right on shoving food in my face, at the same rate and magnitude.  Lethargy, low-grade malaise and chub became standard elements to my life.

For some people, eating only as much as you need is a given.  To me, it’s taken years of diligent monitoring, and a few crazy swings of the symbolic pendulum to achieve this.  I certainly don’t eat in moderation at all times, but I now do most of the time.  I eat some of the foods that I want, some of the time, I eat some of the foods that I need most of the time, and I rarely fill myself to the gull.  I listen to my bodily cues; let ghrelin and leptin do their jobs.


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