The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Friday, March 5, 2010

sleep and war with food

sunrise:  6:06

Welcome back to the sun...                                 

...and the moon, peeking out from cloud cover.  I missed it's full mornings.  It is on the wane again.

George Will had a very interesting article that the Bangor Daily News printed yesterday.  It was largely about how the parent trend of building monuments to the glory of their children's self-esteem is overdone to the point of being destructive to their success.  

A second contradictory phenomenon that he mentions reached me even more, however.  Looking at other problems in teens, he connects some to lack of sleep:  he reports that lack of sleep not only lowers IQ,  "sleep loss increases the hormone that stimulates hunger and decreases the one that suppresses appetite."

It was nice to have a scientific explanation for my recent experience.  My hunger is great.  My appetite is not suppressed.  

The last few weeks have put a few extra pounds on me, which is not a positive in my case.  I couldn't figure out why I've had this almost frantic desire to eat more food more often.  It is not unfamiliar in my lifetime, but is something I haven't battled in many months.  Seeing as how my doctor told me that after menopause women need to eat about a third less than they used to in order to maintain the same weight, I am worried.  Putting it on is easier, taking it off gets a lot harder.

Eating is an essential part of life, and is so wonderfully social and satisfying and community building and nurturing.  AND - it is a plague and a temptation and the source of fixations and anxieties and poor health.                It's so good for you, and can be so bad for you.  But no matter what, you can't give it up.
I realize that for a lot of people these food issues are incomprehensible.  Eating is just something you do because you must.  What's the big deal?  Just eat.  If you're too fat, eat less.  But for many it's a lifetime war.  I am fortunate not to have ever been pushed to the point of obesity or disease, but I feel as though I've had a taste of some of the symptoms.  I definitely did some bingeing in high school, but no purging.  I have hidden food, been plagued with guilt, had bouts of depression that led me to eat more.   But not in recent years, until the last couple of weeks.

Entire days can go by pondering that chocolate sauce in the refrigerator, and all through a meal my eyes furtively jump to that piece of pie on my daughter's plate that she didn't finish.  Two voices are in constant dialogue in my mind - the NO! DON'T DO IT.  YOU"RE NOT EVEN HUNGRY,  YOU"LL REGRET IT - voice, and the - Whatever.  It will make me feel good right now - voice. 

Now I understand that lack of sleep suppresses the governor voice, and gives power to the whatever.   For what it's worth, it also disinclines one to exercise, which adds to the troubles even more.

It's no wonder we're not all huge in our house.  T. is wrung out after two weekends visiting siblings at college and a long week of school, drama, and music.  And J. worked all night last night again (I'm glad to say that I noticed this time when he wasn't in bed in the morning).  All three of us had better use this weekend to do some catching up, or we'll have to buy entirely new wardrobes.

Plus -- time to go to the pool.


I published an examiner article yesterday about Mainers "coming out of hibernation" this time of year.  You finally see your neighbors again after months of being holed up in your homes.  Then this morning at 5:45, I went out and my neighbors were in their driveway with guests!  Strange coincidence, especially given the fact that it was 26 degrees outside.  But it helped to lift my spirits nonetheless.

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