Food on My Mind—And Off My Mind

Mornings are awesome for me. I never think of food in the morning. There’s nothing I could even want if you waved it under my nose. For my entire life, I’ve never been hungry when I first get up. I have to be up for a couple of hours. But the really amazing thing to me is how I specifically do not want food in the morning. For whatever reason, my body is in some kind of neutral state with no hunger, no cravings, but of course I haven’t eaten since the night before so I’m empty but I do not feel that way. The first thing I want is a nice cup of tea but there is no food that sounds really enticing.

I am fascinated by this window of time that I experience every day. What’s going on in my body and mind every morning? And why doesn’t it last? The most amazing thing about it is when hunger does decide to start making an appearance, my brain may still need some time to catch up. I can begin to experience hunger and still have no appetite whatsoever. Unfortunately, by about 11am each day, my food brain has reawakened and begins to fantasize about what it wants me to have for lunch.

Mornings are my peek into the experience of those people who are capable of making food decisions based on health, goals, and whatever priorities they may hold. It also affords me a deeply insightful glimpse into why other people have no comprehension of what some of us deal with. I often imagine what my life would have been like if the natural state of my body and mind at 8am was my experience of life all the time. I can’t explain why there’s nothing in the world I’d want to eat for a few hours in the morning but by the afternoon, my brain wants to fantasize about consuming the entire Whole Foods bakery department.

I recently had an exchange on another blog post where a reader described her own life experience of having a brain that can be preoccupied with food. She explained it to her husband and he was shocked. He couldn’t understand it. But for some of us, it is how we experience life every day. There are two sides to understanding this. First, it explains why there is such bias against overweight people. It is outside the life experience of many people to comprehend why some of us struggle with thoughts of food and cravings. Considering the vast range of abilities, tendencies, and preferences we all possess and demonstrate, it should be easy to grasp that we also vary in our experience of hunger and appetite but our culture is so hard-wired to particular aesthetic paradigms that we are all painfully aware of the value system that has grown around what are perceived as fully-discretionary eating choices.

Second, this reality puts the focus on our need to understand and accept our bodies and our minds and what we face in endeavoring to feel in control. We can’t just go on the latest diet fad. We can’t spend our lives torturing ourselves with “moderation.” And we most definitely can’t go on believing we are the broken, weak, irresponsible failures our society tries to tell us we are. We are who we are. We work with ourselves as we are.



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  1. Taunia

    LOVE this! I used to have that same blissful morning period where I didn’t want food – until I had surgery. Now, at five years later, I wake up RAVENOUS. The good news is that by evening (that dreaded time where everyone seems to binge), I could care less about food. It’s in reverse for me now.
    Taunia recently posted..“PEOPLE WHO MOCK ME” | TURNING THE CAMERA – SHAMEMy Profile

    1. Dagny

      Wow, I have to admit I’d rather experience it in the evening!!! It’s fascinating, it’s confounding, it’s enlightening. There’s so much we owe to ourselves to discover and acknowledge. It can have a profound effect on your life when you begin to understand who you really are instead of trying to force yourself to be something you can never be.
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  2. JoAnn

    It’s so interesting that you have this morning experience. A few years ago, I had serious illness that lasted for a few months. A very curious symptom was lack of hunger. I did not have the constant nagging and gnawing feeling. In fact I had to remind myself to eat and after a few bites I’d feel full. I had never felt that before and I’ve never felt it since. Like you, I recognized, “This is how it is for everyone else!” You’re right-we have to work with ourselves the way we are and stop wishing it was different. Somedays that is a mighty big challenge.

    1. Dagny

      I was thinking of you the other night, JoAnn! I am visiting my parents in Florida as you know and my father shops at Sam’s Club every Saturday. Last weekend he came home with a giant box of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix. Oh. Dear. God. So Sunday night he decides to make them and my Dad’s pretty handy in the kitchen. He makes them huge, he bakes them up perfectly browned on the bottom, he brushes them with garlic butter. I eat two. He eats two. My Mom nibbled a half of one.

      And then there were three left. In the kitchen, all night. I knew my Dad would know how many were left and he’d probably take them to his shop the next day (which he did) but oh man did I have to work hard to forget about those damn biscuits in the kitchen ALL NIGHT LONG. I went to bed thinking about them!!! I woke up and knew they were there…

  3. JoAnn

    Cheddar biscuits with garlic butter?? Oh, that’s just cruel.

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