Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 1: Skipping lunch

Hi there, Han here. I am not a big lunch-eater. I tend to have whatever Justin makes for breakfast, and bring a few snacks with me to nosh on during the day in lieu of an actual lunch. As a graduate student, my time is limited, and whatever break I take for lunch, comes out of my own time. I would much rather eat at my desk at my research job and get paid for that hour, then go somewhere to eat. Even microwaving something quick is too much effort in my book. My nutrition probably suffers because of this, but I do try to bring healthy, easy snacks.

On most days, I have gotten into a habit of bringing these snacks with me to class/work: Lara bar (or Luna bar), trail mix, piece of fruit, diet coke, and chocolate (what can i say... I'm a stressed out woman!) On Thursdays, I go up to a high school to do individual therapy with students as part of my practicum. This involves the rare day of the week where I must dress like I'm older than 15, and carry a bag that isn't a backpack. Yesterday morning, I forgot to transfer my prepackaged snacks from my backpack to my grown-up-bag. Alas, I found myself at lunchtime, without any food, and not even my diet coke. What to do? On a usual day, I'd probably head to Subway and spend the $5 on something quick. But in the spirit of this project, I opted to truck along on an empty stomach. The afternoon passed by quickly, and I made it back home around 4 p.m. It had been 8 hours since I last ate, and my body had made it past grumbling hunger to the "I'm so hungry that I don't even feel hungry anymore" stage. I ate something, but don't even remember what I ate because I was so fuzzy headed. What I do remember is the absolutely foul mood I was in. I was so cranky and emotional, for no particular reason at all. It took me a few hours and snacks to get back into a decent state of mind. The whole afternoon/evening was disorienting and not enjoyable.

This was just one day of skipping lunch. Now imagine the countless number of people who do this every day. There are so many children whose only solid meal each day is lunch at school. They are expected to make it through the afternoon, using their brains, and then go home and do homework, without the chance to eat a filling dinner. How can they realistically function without the necessary brain food? When I was teaching, the mother of one of my students told me that her secret to staying thin was that her only meal of the day was dinner. The rest of the day, she would cook for her children, but not eat any herself. It amazed me then, and it astonishes me now. Not merely the fact that she had to live like this, but also her ability to joke about her circumstances as a weight loss plan. She has to take care of 3 young kids, go to work, and maintain her sense of humor, all on one meal a day... WOW. I couldn't even smile after skipping 1 meal! For me, hunger is temporary-- the few minutes before dinner, the week of doing a blogging project, the hours between breakfast and dinner. For so many others, hunger is perpetual. Let's not forget that when we eat our next meal.

1 comment:

Summer said...

Even just a couple of days in, my definition of "hunger" is changing. Sounds like it is for you too...