All You Can Eat

May 28, 2008 at 12:30 pm 2 comments

I saw this written somewhere, and as usual, the wheels of my mind have been churning again. When I was a kid, I remember we used to go out to a steak place with an open salad bar. We would fill up on salad, and take the steak home for a second meal. When I was an adult living in New York City, I went with my best friend (also bulimarexic) to a place down in Greenwich Village with an all-you-can-eat salad bar. That was actually on the brink of recovery, because in the early days I never would have honestly gone out to eat with someone like that. There we sat, eating, smiling, talking, making occasional trips to the bathroom, and filling up on more. I think the bathroom there was good, too, because there was only one toilet, so you could lock the door and not have to worry about being “caught” by someone.

These days, it doesn’t really interest me, because I rarely am so hungry that I have seconds. But it’s been on my mind anyway. Thinking about our development, it actually makes sense that this type of offer would be so appealing. It speaks to our basic survival instinct, going back to the hunters and gatherers. Imagine how delighted they would have been at such a prospect! Fill up on whatever is available until you can’t eat anymore – that is how they lived. Imagine if someone back then had set up a steak house and salad bar! They probably would have thought they were in heaven!

But in this day and age, it really doesn’t make sense at all. Most of us (in the western world) can be fairly sure that the next meal is coming, so we don’t need to stuff ourselves just in case. We don’t have to look far. The way things have developed, the next food source (grocery store or restaurant) is not far away, so it is unlikely that we will die of starvation while seeking it.

Of course, as the division between rich and poor grows, it may actually become part of the survival strategy. If people can afford to go out to eat, they may fill up and then fast for a day or two, trying to make ends meet. I don’t know. The food situation really doesn’t look so good these days.

But just like we need to learn to restrain our aggressive impulses when we feel threatened, and realize that with our evolutionary development and civilization, there are more appropriate ways of dealing with anger and frustration when our buttons get pushed, we also need to adjust to the abundance of food and material things. Generally, we are not in life or death situations. We don’t need to hamster, although our survival instinct encourages such behavior. I believe our psychological/emotional development has some catching up to do!

On a tangent, I find it interesting that so many of us with eating disorders “learned to survive” emotionally in devastating family environments, and that many of us carry on in this survival mode, although it is long since out of date and no longer necessary. Isn’t life fascinating? Aren’t we strange creatures? I know I am.

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Entry filed under: eating habits and food, life. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

On top of things Beyond Bitterness

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SanityFound  |  May 29, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    We are aliens in a human world, life is indeed fascinating!

    Reply
  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  May 29, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    So true! Aliens in the world our ancestors created!

    Reply

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