I have always been a big eater. When I was a child, I would eat everything on my plate, finish off everyone else’s and then head for whatever was lingering in the pans in the kitchen. When we would go to a barbeque or a friend’s house for dinner, my mom would often be mortified as I attacked food as though it were my first and last meal. Fortunately foe me, I have always had a high metabolism and nothing I have ever eaten has ever made a difference to my weight.
Despite being blessed with the good fortune of eating whatever I want without any issues at all, I have always eaten pretty healthy. I have never really had a sweet tooth, almost never eat dessert and mostly stay away from read meat and keep my cholesterol intake in check. Not really sure why, just have always been that way.
But I have found that my new body is a different story, at least for now. And if it keeps up, I will have a new body indeed. Since getting out of the hospital, I have eating and eating and eating some more. Not necessarily big portions, but all day long, there seems to be something going into my mouth.
A week ago, I went to bed and felt ill and could not get comfortable. I felt like that every time I went to bed since the hiccups and vomiting stopped. But that night my stomach felt more uncomfortable than normal. I was concentrating on not having to get out of bed and be physically sick when I reached down to give my belly a little rub and make it feel better. I was stunned. My stomach was huge and so full of food, it was hard. As though I were pregnant. I looked down and say an enormous stomach. The skin was stretched so tight, it looked like it was about to pop. I had never experiences that before and was a bit confused. Was it a side effect of the medication? Then I thought about what I had eaten in the course of the day; two bowls of cereal, four pieces of toast – two with Nutella and two with cheese – some brownies, some plain yoghurt, a couple of bananas, a bowl of fresh mango and some almonds. That was all before lunch. The rest of the day included eight sandwiches, more brownies, yoghurt, more fruit, the dinner for two that the housekeeper made for Ulco and me but which I ate myself and then I topped it off with a banana smoothie and a goodnight brownie.
So there I was, lying in bed, rubbing my rock hard stomach stuffed so full of food I was uncomfortable and guess what I was thinking about? Pizza. I was so in the mood for pizza. And then I realized what my problem was. Since the phase of getting physically ill had passed, I no longer ever feel full. I never feel really hungry either. I just have a constant feeling of needing that last little bit of food to feel full. Not much, just a sandwich, a piece of pizza or rack of lamb and pile of mashed potatoes.
That means that now, I have to be very careful with my diet. I need to eat enough to get the calories I need and that is not so easy. I learned that a healing brain burns four times the calories as a normal, healthy one and any physical activity takes at least twice the energy as it did before. So I am trying to figure out how to make sure I have enough to eat without over doing it. And of course, I love food. I have always been a person that could nibble all day and now, for the first time in my life, I have to think about it. I went to a café the other night with a friend for a coffee, saw the menu and decided I wanted a cheeseburger with avocado and a side of home fries. I almost ordered, but then that voice inside my head reminded me that less than an hour earlier, I had eaten two large bowls of pasta.
To make matters worse, I have developed a HUGE appetite for almost anything made of chocolate. Mousse, cake, brownies, anything at all. It is so not me, but suddenly I can’t get through the day without something super sweet.
The old me would have no physical issue eating like this, but my new body is another story. For the most part, since I have been home, I have been eating anything and everything and moving about one hour a day. I never really gave it any thought until this morning. I went to put on a pair of trousers I wore just a few weeks ago to and I could not button them. For the first time in my life, I have gained weight and cannot fit into my clothes. I went on the scale and discovered I have put on over eight kilos (about twenty pounds). I have never weighed this much in my life and I have a feeling that, in the meantime at least, I will continue to expand. Part of me is happy about it, I have always been on the skinny side, but I hope this isn’t permanent or I really have a struggle ahead of me. Just thinking about it makes me want to nibble.
And there isn’t an Oreo in the house.