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I want birth control for food (that doesn’t make me shit my pants)

I was sitting in the Kroger parking lot a couple weeks ago, about to buy something I knew I shouldn’t buy, to eat something I knew I shouldn’t eat, knowing it would only make me happy temporarily and fatter tomorrow, and knowing I was going to do it anyway. It was at this moment that the muse of displacing-personal-responsibility whispered in my ear about how wonderful it would be if I had a secondary stomach implanted. They could insert it right where my gallbladder used to be. Then I’d have the surgeons install a switch in my esophagus that would allow me to divert food into the dummy stomach not connected to my digestive track, allowing me to eat whatever I wanted without having to digest it. When the fake tummy became full, I could empty it manually through a hole in my abdomen. Or better yet, I could have it routed directly to the end of my large intestine to dump the food in the traditional manner!

It was at this point that I realized I have a serious problem with food.

Gleefully imagining the voluntary installation of a colostomy bag inside my body is NOT NORMAL. Yet, there is still a part of me that longs for birth control for food, something that will allow me to indulge in all the pleasure I want to with little risk of suffering negative consequences. What do we have now?

  • Bulimia – Not an option. It wrecks havoc on your body and the acid from your stomach erodes the enamel on your back teeth. Also, vomit, ew.
  • Olestra – A fake fat substitute that your body does not digest, but leaves you literally shitting your pants.
  • Alli – the diet pill that prevents your body from absorbing all the fat you consume, but again, leaves you literally shitting your pants.
  • Artificial sweeteners (i.e. fake food) – I’ve found these helpful, but some people dislike the aftertaste and have concerns about their safety. There is also research that suggests they don’t help you lose weight because they leave your body unsatisfied and yearning for the real thing. That said, I drank Diet Pepsi the whole time I was losing 190 pounds.

My idea of a secondary stomach would probably have issues (besides the fact that it’s Kra-zee with a capital K). Food could get stuck in the switch or it could get stuck in one position or the bag could leak into your body, all making you very dead. Regardless of all the flaws in the above propositions, none of them fix the underlying problem. They are just patches of duct tape keeping the fender from falling off your car. They stop you from trailing sparks down the highway, but they don’t fix the actual problem. Until I can find a way to weld my bumper back on, I make do the best I can with the tools available.

I do think that our ancestors descendents will look back and think it an oddity that people used to write weight-loss memoirs and weight-loss blogs, just like I watch Moulin Rouge and think it bizarre that people use to die of tuberculosis. In the meantime, if I ever hear of Mexican surgeons illegally implanting secondary stomachs, I’ll know where they got the idea.

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44 Comments

yublocka • December 22, 2008 at 7:45 am

Interesting idea re 2nd stomach!! But the thought of a colostomy bag I agree is not so appealing.

I’ve gotta say that I’ve never seen Moulin Rouge so don’t know if I’m missing some context here, but TB is still a killer! 1.6 million in 2005 to be exact!

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Naantje • December 22, 2008 at 8:04 am

I don’t want to be a bother, but don’t you mean descendents as opposed to ancestors? And I do hope in the future, obesity will have become some strange, absent illness, because the struggle is terrible, and yoyo’s are easily found :(

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ToyLady • December 22, 2008 at 8:35 am

“It was at this point that I realized I have a serious problem with food.”

You know, I find this interesting. It (overeating? fatness? food issues?) seems to be a lot like any other destructive behavior – both in how and why.

It’s like when we start our journey, we’re convinced that all we need to do is lose the weight (or stop drinking, or quit smoking), and everything else will fall into place.

Then we do that, and it’s almost like that’s just the beginning. How did I get here in the first place? Why do I do this to myself? And why is it still sometimes such a struggle?

I suspect that “food issues” are a lot like alcoholism – it isn’t just a drinking disease – it’s a “thinking disease.”

Remember, too – we’re a lot more complicated than just the number of pounds on a scale.

At least I am. ;)

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Helen • December 22, 2008 at 8:53 am

Until the emotional and spiritual battle is won, the battle with food does not end. If you watched any of the last Biggest Loser you would have seen Bob talking with Vicki over and over trying to get her to explore why she got overweight in the first place, which she pretty much refused to do. I think both trainers have learned from the previous contestants who have regained weight – the first season winner has regained all his weight – powering it off is not enough, you have to figure out why you did it in the first place in order to change those things as well.

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chryssi • December 22, 2008 at 9:08 am

OK so the 2nd stomach certainly may not be the healthiest of ideas, however if you do ever hear of doctors willing to do it, LET ME KNOW!! Sounds like a great (albeit sick and twisted) fix to my food issues!

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Amy • December 22, 2008 at 9:59 am

My dh swears that I do have a second stomach, for desserts only. All of the reasons above are why I haven’t done gastric bypass surgery. And the thought of actually doing the whole calories in vs. calories out thing just seems like too much work. So here I sit. Fat and not so happy, living vicariously through people like you and Michelle on TBL.

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Charlie Hills • December 22, 2008 at 10:01 am

Hmmm… this has possibilities. I’ve thought of an alternative. You keep the same gastrointestinal tract, but you go through a procedure to have it laminated, so it can’t absorb anything. Then to get your nutrients, you just hook yourself up to an IV every night. It’s the perfect solution.

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Kimberly • December 22, 2008 at 10:22 am

The second stomach is, technically, a great idea. Brilliant even.

But how do we get to the point where we can rationally know that putting bad food into our bodies is a bad, bad idea and still do it anyway? How do we, as smart people, do that? It is insane.

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jenny • December 22, 2008 at 10:38 am

Ahhh, I’ve been through that mental merry-go-round. It’s too bad barfing is so awful, I always thought, bulimia would take care of so many of my overeating issues. How’s that for sick and dysfunctional!

And in the end, for me at least, it’s always a control issue. Sigh. You have a great attitude though, and, as many therapists say, knowing exactly where the problem is, is a good part of the battle to overcome it. Thank you for sharing (as always).

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gknee • December 22, 2008 at 10:58 am

I think, technically, we are all looking for the “morning-after” pill for binges-keeping to the birth control analogy.

You bring up a great point, obese people have much more in common with anorexics and bulimics than we realize– it is all eating disorder. Different people are willing to tolerate different types of discomfort. Tooth enamel?–overrated-just cap em! Frequent bathroom runs?– I need more breaks at work anyway! Can’t fit in the airplane seat?–I hate to fly! Pick your poison. It is a crazy obsession.

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Quix • December 22, 2008 at 11:03 am

I’ve had those same sort of dysfunctional thoughts. When I was younger, I used to get down on myself because I wasn’t strong enough to be anorexic :P. I mean, thank goodness now, but…sheesh.

I guess the “binge control” for me is 2 years of being mostly good, and knowing how much better I feel when I eat mostly good. Feeling good is a very powerful and addictive thing. :)

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Laska • December 22, 2008 at 11:11 am

Wow, I thought that I was a creative inventor, but YOU are definately the winner in that category!

It’s oddly comforting to hear that even after all that even after years of determination, running, etc.etc. the heart of a human still beats in your chest and food still beckons you… you are still “one of us”.

Thanks for sharing, and doing it in such an entertaining manner!

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Merry • December 22, 2008 at 11:30 am

But PQ, cows have four stomachs, and they’re… rather hefty.

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Dawn • December 22, 2008 at 11:31 am

I guess I didn’t really post my post. I believe food is a battle we will always fight. I think without working on the mental side of things in addition to the food and exercise we will never keep the weight off. That’s why I’ve been in therapy through my weight loss journey. If we don’t work on fixing our minds we will never keep the weight off. It’s our minds that got us fat and our minds which will get us thinner.

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Heidi • December 22, 2008 at 11:34 am

What is it about losing a bunch of weight and then starting to go back to old ways? I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts and experiences on this. I know you’re probably tired of hearing about other people’s weight loss struggle, but I’m writing this, I guess, to say I understand and you’re not the only one and maybe we all can help each other figure this out.

Got my act together 2 years ago. I was so motivated. I ate small portions, took home half my meals from restaurants, ate healthy snacks, hardly ever ate sweets or chips–and I DIDN’T MISS IT. Lost over 115 lbs. NOW, at still 110 lbs down with at least 90 more to go, I find myself eating bigger portions and not thinking about it. I figure some ice cream here, some chips there, no big deal. I think about eating a Kashi bar or apple for a snack and decide a brownie might be better. It’s like I can’t make myself make the right decisions even though my brain KNOWS they’re the wrong decisions. Part of it is stress, delusion, and going back to dysfunctional eating habits and patterns. Part of it is I like chips and dip and brownies. Part of it is, I’M STARVING. Though maybe that’s mental, too.

I’m trying to reprogram my brain and get back to that GREAT state of mind I was in a year ago, but it’s DAMN hard and it’s not wanting to reprogram.

Could someone start a weight loss cult and brainwash me?? If people will take poison under the influence of a charismatic leader, maybe we could stop eating crap under the power of someone like that.

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Zoey • December 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I’ve had what I call a catastrophic medical crisis for the past year. It was fueled by an undiagnosed stomach problem: somewhere along the way my stomach stopped producing digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid, so I wasn’t digesting food. I had other medical things going on, and it came on so gradually, I just didn’t notice for quite a while. By the time I noticed and told my doctor, I was almost hospitalized. At that point the evil, sneaky part of me said “well, this means I can eat anything that I want!” Everything I ate was passing right through me! Except, it didn’t work out that way. Turns out, I wasn’t digesting protein or complex carbs (veggies), but I totally digested fats and simple carbs. Makes sense, since those are easiest to digest. So it turned out that this was causing, basically, malnutrition. And all the while I looked like I ate one too many loafs of bread, but in reality I’d been eating a squeaky clean diet of high protien and veggies….all for naught! It never works out the way you hoped; at least not with food.

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Lesley Doyle • December 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm

You’re not alone…I used to dream of literally carving off great hanks of excess leg, arm and stomach. Not liposuction sucking out, actually slicing off then sewing up neatly. How that can be a better idea than eating less and moving more I don’t know but it seemed seductive at the time!

Keep it up chuck!

Lesley x

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Nancy Vienneau • December 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I never comment on this blog (maybe twice, ever), but I just had to comment on this one. Posts like these are why I love your blog! You’re an awesome writer, you’re hilarious, and I can totally relate. I’ve lost 130lbs, I have about 50-60 more to lose. That’s what I tell people. The truth is more like : I HAD lost 130lbs, now I have gained back 20, and I feel posessed by food!

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Lila • December 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Whoah, this is the first time I’ve ever seen you curse on your blog. Awesome! Anyway, I think that as human beings we are biologically wired to be obsessed with food. And sex too. Which is why I think the whole birth control analogy is so great. The only problem here is that being obsessed with something that’s become so plentiful and easy to get hurts us and our genes haven’t caught up yet with our ability to get food so easily.

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PastaQueen • December 22, 2008 at 2:53 pm

@Lila – Really? I’ve gotten emails before from people chastising me for my potty mouth.

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samiam0002 • December 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Yep, I’ve wished the same thing as well, though I really like the idea of laminating the GI tract! Also good point from Lila! I wish I could trade my excessive food compulsion for excessive amounts of sex! hehehe….

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Jessica • December 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm

PQ, have you ever seen the Adult Swim sketch show “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!”? Awhile ago they had a hilarious sketch with exactly this premise (an artificial second stomach for junk food). You can watch it at http://www.adultswim.com/video/?episodeID=8a2505951c9e6456011c9efd5562001c. “It’s like a summer house for your body!”

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KIm • December 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Not to get all “this was meant to be” and all, but I really needed to read this today. It just shows how human we all are and how we could benefit from magical powers like Samantha on Bewitched. I like the 2nd stomach thing, but I get queezy just looking at food that touches on the same plate so I’m pretty sure I couldn’t empty that thing.

I guess while we are wishing, I could have an Oprah-esque bank account and pay someone to empty it for me. Anyway, we can all talk about it with each other and when one is weak, the other is strong. You’ve done an amazing job and accomplished something some people will only ever dream about so KUDOS to you and here’s to keeping a rockin’ bod in 09′!! And here’s to me beginning my own journey!!

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Megan • December 22, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Jennette, I know exactly what you mean about the desire to eat without consequences. Here’s another downside to your possible solutions that I sometimes think about: is it morally acceptable to eat without getting any benefit from your food when so many people are starving in the world? I’m not trying to be judgmental – I eat low cal and artificially sweetened foods like everyone else. And heaven knows most of us don’t need any more guilt in our lives. I’m just wondering if getting outside ourselves a bit might help change our thinking/emotional responses to food. Makes me curious to know if you or anyone reading this have tried any faith-based approaches to losing weight? Do they work?

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PastaQueen • December 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm

@Jessica – Oh no, now Adult Swim is stealing my ideas before I have them!

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Lila • December 22, 2008 at 6:25 pm

@PastaQueen -

Hmmm… maybe swear words run through my head so frequently that I’m immune to it and it just doesn’t strike me. Maybe it was the “shit” in the headline.

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BrightAngel • December 22, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Me too. I hear. I emphathize.

Recently I read a book that called it: “famine brain”.

Will it always be a problem for me?

Perhaps.

But I am determined to stay small.

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QueenB • December 22, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I dunno, I can completely relate to wanting an icecreamdonutfudgepotatochipscookietwix stomach but seriously I don’t want one. I want a switch that will turn off the thinking that I need one and/or that eating large quantities of crap will actually make me feel better. How about a feel better switch? Or a lose one size in 2 days switch?

I dunno PQ, I lost 100 pounds years ago and kept it off for 8+ years because I’m that silly girl that really does like to work out even though I’m still sportin’ a size 18/20. I gained 30 pounds of that 100 back when I was working full time and going to school full time. And right now it’s like molasses to get that 30 pounds off and I constantly ask myself…”what was it back then that clicked (or switched on) to make me change my ways”. I’m still trying to figure out mentally how I can convince myself again that I’m worth it and that I’m really NOT comfortable this size, even though I’ve gotten comfortable being uncomfortable.

So I guess I can just say that the food filled you up before…filled a void etc. And then, in turn, losing weight gave you something to do. So, what is filling you up now or filling the void and/or what is missing from your life that needs attention that you think a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is going to solve?

Or maybe seeing a therapist? Cuz clearly my psycho babble is just that..but know that I feel your pain and have faith in you that you can overcome.

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Pamela • December 22, 2008 at 10:00 pm

@Heidi – I just wanted to say you are definitely not alone! I’m pretty much in the same situation!

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Laska • December 23, 2008 at 12:36 am

So Jennette…did you buy it? Did you eat it?

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Wonderly • December 23, 2008 at 8:21 am

So…what food were you planning to buy? Did you buy it? Did you eat it? Don’t worry, nobody’s judging you- we’ve all been there and done that many times! I’m just interested in what other people choose to say “screw healthy food, I’m eating XYZ now!” over.

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Thealogian • December 23, 2008 at 11:47 am

One thing that I really loved about your fantasy second stomach, was how detailed and logical your fantasy was–a very technical fantasy, really.

How about virtual binging? Like, Wii Eat? Goggles and electrodes to the brain and we can chose between an ice-cream shop, food at the fair, a lovely French or Italian restaurant, etc. We will experience whatever kind of meal (at least mentally–perhaps the Wii Eat will have to use water or something to actually give us that stomach fullness effect???). We could even earn points or do competitive eating this way.

I don’t know, no body copyright Wii Eats, its mine!

peace

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Liz • December 23, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Oh, how many times I’ve had a similar thought. PQ I just LOVE that you put this out here because I can’t tell you how many times I have read your comments and thought: “you mean, I am NOT the only one?” Rather nice, I must say.

I never have thought about the 2nd stomach idea, but hey, it works for cows. Although, they do weight about 1000 lbs so maybe not so practical for our body frame. I have, however, wondered if I could eat something that would expand to fill my stomach (like a sponge-concept) so that I could just be full. But I don’t think that would work because I truly don’t think I have emotional issues, or anything I am hiding, or compensating for, etc. I just LOVE FOOD. I love the way it tastes, and smells, and feels. I love cooking it, and creating new recipes, and of course mostly eating it. I just have a darn hard time saying no to things I like. This is also why I have a zillion CDs and books.

At least music and books don’t make my clothes tight. Hm, Food Control I think would be a huge hit. Maybe you need to make friends with a pharmacist and get to work on that. You would be a jillionaire!

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terryocean • December 23, 2008 at 3:51 pm

ahahaha! I totally love that, I am on the same track as you, I need birth control for food as well…when some discovery comes up let us know! ;)

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kooglemo • December 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm

@Heidi – Hey I found an end to the hunger— look up PGX daily online– its super fiber pills that literally fill you up— 2 pills are equal for putting 3 bowls of oatmeal in your stomach. I take 4 pills before each meal and I am full all day with no headache. Its the first time in my life that I feel normal. In fact, some days I could ust skip meals but don’t. Check it out.

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Lisa B. • December 24, 2008 at 10:04 am

Wow. At first the second artificial stomach thing sounds like the best idea since the first cave drawings of wheel but, yeah … probably not so much, really.

I think most of us in this day and age — fat, skinny or in between — have food issues that then lead to body image issues. “I’m too fat, I’m too skinny, I’m flabby, my hips are wide …” And the ironic thing is that to give ourselves therapy, we eat more. And usually sugar and fat more.

I love diet soda. Let’s face it, we can find problems and potential health risks with pretty much anything we ingest because of all the chemicals and hormaones added to stuff. Even organic foods are tainted by the crap we spew out into this planet. So, yeah, maybe my precious Cherry Coke Zero isn’t from the cola gods but it’s mighty tasty and doesn’t have calories.

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Laura • December 24, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I hate to even mention this because it is TOTALLY the wrong solution but… a few months ago, I took a bite of some treat (forget what), and it wasn’t that good, so I spit it out into a napkin, figuring it just wasn’t worth the calories if it wasn’t that good. Progress, right? Until I considered that I had still gotten to enjoy the taste of the food without actually digesting it. I immediately pushed that away, as it’s basically a pre-swallowing form of bulimia… but I’ve actually seen it mentioned on TV shows (Gossip Girl and Privileged), so apparently others have had that idea. I’ve done it maybe two or three times since then, and never for an entire food item – more like I take the first bite and decide it’s not that good so I’m spitting it out. But it makes me feel guilty and as if I tried the bulimia suggestion on your list.

(For the record, I’ve never made myself throw up).

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PastaQueen • December 24, 2008 at 10:02 pm

@Laura – I’ve had that thought before too, but I don’t find food as satisfying unless I actually get to swallow it.

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Haystacks • December 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

To me the hardest part about the Food Addiction bit is that It can never be cured, only treated and maintained.

I know this sucks for you, but just to show misery loves company, I find the this oddly comforting.

I am bad people.

Oh Well.

Good luck.

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Heather • December 25, 2008 at 10:14 pm

I’m a nurse. Yeah, you don’t want a colostomy, or an ileostomy. They are not pretty. I like a previous poster’s idea of having our gastrointestinal system laminated and rec’d nutrition via an IV. But then you have to deal with the Big honking IV and it’s complications.

For food addicts like us, there is only hard work and constant thought.

I will admit to having wished for anorexia–I tried not to eat but made it only as far as lunch. I’ve wished to wake up one morning with food aversion. No luck.

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Melodee • December 27, 2008 at 1:42 am

Seriously hilarious. Also? Been there, done thought, but hadn’t thought of that!

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Melodee • December 27, 2008 at 1:43 am

Seriously hilarious. Also? Been there, done thought, but hadn’t thought of that!

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Mrs. Thighs • December 28, 2008 at 6:37 am

This post made me laugh, but I can so relate to it. I’ve never wished for a second stomach, but I have wished that we had “fat rehab,” where patients can stay for 28 days and work on their food addictions. I’ve also wished we could have a pill that let us eat anything without consequences … or that we could be redesigned so that we just don’t need food at all.

So you’re not “krazee” at all — I think most of us, especially those of us who are obese, have had thoughts like these.

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Esmeralda • December 28, 2008 at 10:08 pm

@Charlie Hills – That’s a pretty radical idea. lol

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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