Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New House, Old Habits

Phrew! It's been a while. I've had my college graduation, followed closely by moving to a new city, and a lot of stuff has gone by the wayside a little bit.

But the move and my new home are actually going to be relevant for a new post, so there's that. 

I'm living with friends of mine, people who are older than me and more settled in their lives, so they have no worries about adding another person to their menu-planning. I'm paying a rent that includes all utilities and most of my food, and I'm super-lucky to have the situation. They know a little bit about my mom and my old situation, my love of baking and cooking, and the fact that I wasn't allowed free rein in my old home; I've been assured multiple times that anything I want to take out and play around with, I'm more than welcome. I broke in the kitchen this past weekend by baking the most awesome lemon bars ever, and I've been involved in helping my housemates pick out vegetables and herbs to grow in their garden. I've been assured that anything in the fridge besides someone else's lunchbag is free game, and just let them know if I'd like anything in particular and it'll go on the shopping list. So all in all, it's relaxed around here, I know I get even more freedom with my food than I did in my college dorm, and it's a wonderful place to be. 

And yet...

I'm finding myself slipping into a few old habits, and I’m not sure why. I’m finding myself getting self-conscious, if not secretive, about what and when I’m eating. It hasn’t been enough so far, really, to keep me from eating when I want, but it’s weighing on me somewhat. There’s no good reason for it - this isn’t my mother’s house, nobody cares what I’m eating. But I get self-conscious anyway.

My housemates have been eating on a different timetable from me, so a lot of the time I don’t want to wait as long as they do to have dinner. But I feel weird about eating apart from them; it doesn’t help that there isn’t a kitchen table or anything out-of-the-way where I could sit, I really have to be out in the open unless I squirrel my food away to my room - which I’m making a concentrated effort not to do, because THAT is certainly going to lead to bad places.

More concerning than that though, I’m starting to slip into not-quite-binging behaviors. This past weekend, I had the whole house to myself, and it was up to me to feed myself and to know that no one was around to watch or keep any kind of track. And alone in the house, I caught myself eating really fast. I caught myself dipping into containers in the fridge, stealing a few cold bites and hastily putting it back away - even knowing that nobody cares and in fact I’m expected to eat plenty of the food that’s in there, I found myself feeling like I had to be fast and stealthy like I used to. When my friends got home earlier than I anticipated after the weekend, I was stuck having to eat while they were busy unpacking from their trip and bustling around the house; not only was I the only one eating, but I felt like i would have been in the way. So I ate as fast as I could, standing in the kitchen, trying my best to still be friendly and chat with them and not let it actually stop me from having my dinner.

So far, it’s not something that’s stopping me, exactly. But it is something that’s weighing on me. I KNOW that this is not the same home I grew up in, I know that I’m safe and that no one is watching, that my friends will be happy that I’m enjoying the food they’ve made, that my schedule is just different and I need to take care of myself. I’m doing my best not to let it affect my behavior, especially now that I’ve noticed the attempts at stealth and secrecy. I can’t let that start happening again. 

(apologies for tiny font, cant' seem to figure out how to put it right)