Thursday, January 7, 2010


I am a nibbler.
Some people seem to grow up eating three fairly large meals a day. That's probably the goal of all time-consuming parents, so you aren't having to clean up ziploc baggies covered in cheerio dust and stray cheerios and snaking fruit roll-up wrappers and things all the time. It's probably easier to feed children who consume Serving Sizes and only consume them three scheduled times a day.
But me, I'm a nibbler.
I don't eat these entire-meal things everyone speaks of. A meat and a potato and two vegetables and a jello and a roll and a drink and a dessert and maybe even some salad or beans or something thrown in there if you get crazy. I cannot eat this, I have to eat half, rest, eat the rest later. Or just get rid of it and get hungry again twenty minutes later but then I only have ice cream and a handful of peanuts.

I take three or four ziploc baggies of different snackies and a banana and string cheese and sometimes a can of soda to campus almost every day, because every twenty minutes I feel the need to gnaw or sip on something. It's been nice to have Christmas, because even now there are leftover butterscotcharoos and chocolate-covered pretzels and cheese biscuits that I can replace my regular wheat thins and potato chips and apple slices and chocolate chips and stuff with.

I think I have always gotten away with this nibbling because the only exercise I ever do since graduating high school and going to college is walking to and from class. Less exercise=less need of calories to burn, and to create muscle (what muscle?), protein especially. My mother used to shove a piece of peanut butter toast down my throat every morning throughout junior high because the PROTEIN would give me ENERGY.
My schedule starting this last Monday is about six hours of school, one hour homework, one hour break, about four hours of rehearsal, more homework, sleep, redo. Every single day. Apparently my body decided that 3:00 this morning was when it wanted to let me know that if this was the new schedule, some things were going to have to change. And apparently my body has read "The Tell-Tale Heart".

Last night I had rehearsal and then very sillily went to Denny's, because I've been being very good about sleeping my first couple days of school, so I thought, sure, let's just go, there's only four of us this time, we won't be there long. I only have one little homework assignment.
So I went to Denny's. Four of us were there until about 1 AM and then I came home.

I laid down in bed with my laptop on my lap and a book propped under my chin to write a quick paper. I felt good, I'd gotten to each class, enjoyed them all, taken a bath and iced my ripped quad OW that was feeling a lot better, and had gone to a very, very fun rehearsal. Type type type type. I typed my paper after finishing the last sixty pages of
The Uncommon Reader (which made me laugh out loud, READ IT) and as I got to the third paragraph of the paper, lying almost completely flat on my back with my computer on my chest, totally relaxed, my hands and arms began to shake uncontrollably. I stopped, puzzled, kind of fascinated, and held my hands up in front of my face with the fingers spaced wide apart, trying to figure out what was going on. And then my vision got fuzzy, and my hearing got staticky, and my legs went a little numb.

and all of a sudden the word
Calories flashes impatiently across my brain. Just the word, in word form.
As though it was on one of those message things in big red letters.

My brain says to me,
Calories Calories Calories Calories Calories Calories Calories Calories Hungry Hungry Hungry Hungry Hungry Hungry HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY HUNGRY
and at this point, listening to my brain, I'm a little puzzled, to say the least. At this point my brain has never had to directly signal this at me before in my life. At this point it's 3 AM and I am flat-out in bed.
But my body almost involuntarily stands up, steadies itself, marches down to the kitchen, and chomps down the following:

an entire jar of salsa with half a bag of chips.
a leftover burrito hanging out in the fridge.
a bowl of leftover sweet potatoes.
two string cheeses.
a peanut butter sandwich.
about twenty baby carrots with ranch.
a twix bar.
a bowl of strawberry mini wheats.
another bowl of strawberry mini wheats.
more chips, but with hummus this time.
a toblerone bar.
a glass of milk.

I stood there on the side of the kitchen island Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp
Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomp Chomping away, listening astoundedly to my jaw as it moved robotically to masticate all of this food. I didn't really even feel like I was present for the activity.
And, as soon as this part of my brain was satisfied with the food I had stuffed in myself, I walked stoically back up the stairs, got in bed, was really confused about what had just happened, and fell almost immediately asleep.

My body was in need of more food to burn through class and walking to and from class and studying and stretching and four hours a night of dance, and it was darned tootin' going to tell me so, even if it had to march me down to the refrigerator in the middle of the night.

Please tell me this has happened to someone else before? I feel crazypants. Did I just get so busy my body forgot to remind me that it needed extra food? I wasn't even hungry.
Was my brain resorting to speaking caveman?


Heidi said...

Yes. Yes yes yes. And then I feel like I've eaten the whole house, but when I think about it, it's just that I haven't eaten for so long that my body needs immediate food intake and doesn't care what it is. It's those times when caloric content doesn't matter nearly as much as caloric quantity. Turns out it's not always as much as I think, and my stupid stomach is much happier full than empty. Even if it's full of gummy bears, quesadilla, salt and vinegar chips, and apple juice.

Sam said...

Oh my gosh, yes! This happened to me for the first time ever during finals week in December. I was soooo stressed that I was going from class, work, to a study group every day for the week and skipping meals, not drinking any water and getting no sleep. My body shut down! It yelled at me from the inside demanding I give it proper nutrients and sleep. It's the worst feeling in the world!

Lanee said...

Did you really eat all of that at one time?!! I'm the queen of eating but I have NEVER eaten that much! WHEW!

Liesl said...

I did that my second semester of college. I snacked for nutrition and fell into a nasty habit of staying up too late and getting up early. And then I watched "Lawrence of Arabia" and had an emotional breakdown and went into therapy, so I can't really treat myself like that anymore. So I'm jealous of those people who can eat whatever they want and sleep whenever they want and somehow survive in the world. Dang it.

Sarah and Robbie said...

Of course! And maybe its even happened when my body DIDN'T need the extra calories . . . maybe.

Casey T. said...

When did you start eating fruit?

Taelor said...

I dont mean to comment on all of your post but i do this constantly in my dorm room late at night but lately its starting to catch up with me..

Anonymous said...

Oh nibbling. It's so easy to just grab quick bites of things here and there, but it's also so easy to go overboard!