I’ve always had a healthy appetite. And having a father who was a chef, among other things, didn’t help. He was dogmatic about how food should be prepared and how it should taste. He revered food. It’s not surprising that some of his zeal rubbed off on me.
As far back as I can remember food and mealtimes were very important in our family. After my parents divorced there was an added element---food became more precious because of the necessity of it, the expense and my mother's diminished income upon becoming a single parent with no profession. She waited tables for a dollar an hour plus tips. So, no food was ever wasted in our house. That combined with my father’s influence had a powerful effect on my own relationship with food.
I can remember my very first taste of hot fudge in a sundae. I can remember my very first chocolate chip cookie. I can remember my first tuna casserole and spinach souffle…my first bite of meatloaf…my first sip of iced tea. All my memories pretty much have some food association. School days, back before the ubiquitous hot lunch program was instituted , involved students eating their cold lunch in their classroom. Then, I loved the smell of all that bologna, the stinky egg salad and tuna salad hovering in the air, making the room smell like a deli. My daily fare consisted of bologna on white bread with ketchup, some potato chips and always a sweet---most everyday said sweet was a Hostess chocolate cupcake. Mind you, I didn’t like the cake part of the cupcake---it was too dry. I peeled the sugary frosting layer off, popped it into my mouth and stuck my stickly little finger into the cupcake hole , scooping out the white fluffy heaven which was joyfully licked away. The cake was tossed into the trash. I washed it down with a carton of white whole milk, and on Fridays, we were served chocolate milk, which was a treat back then.
I do have memories of real hunger, although they are few. Evidently there were times when I missed a meal or two and the result was excruciating abdominal pain---relieved only by eating. Why I was not fed on those occasions I do not know---but I remember them because the pain was fierce. Aside from those couple of gut wrenching experiences I never went hungry.
My appetite has always been there for me and I’ve always had the notion as long as I can eat, eliminate, breathe and sleep I can pretty much deal with anything. But my fierce appetite for food has contributed to my weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Hunger is powerful and hard to ignore.
Having said all that brings me to the point of this post. Appetite suppressants do make a huge difference in reducing food intake. I’ve never been prescribed any or taken any over the counter medications for said purpose. The one time I asked my doctor about prescribing something to help me lose weight he told me I wasn’t overweight enough.
I discovered how helpful a drug that suppresses your appetite can be by accident. In the late 1980’s I developed some serious respertory allergies when we moved to North Carolina. Being constantly congested forced me to stay round the clock on a nasal decongestant. That medication had two side effects. If I took it after 6p.m. I had difficulty sleeping that night…..and I was never hungry. I actually had to make myself eat at mealtimes because I had no appetite. Hence, when I went on a diet to lose weight I had a much easier time of it, being able to reduce my food intake and not be hungry.
It took me awhile to make the correlation, that the allergy medication had an affect on my appetite. I’m not advocating or even hinting that you take anything to suppress your appetite. My point is this: I don’t think excess weight is so much about what we eat, but how much of it we eat. We will lose weight and prevent weight gain by adjusting our calorie intake. Excess calories are the enemy. As one author in blogland says: eat less food.