Have you ever had a food fight with yourself?
No, I don’t mean smushing a cream pie in your face or whacking yourself over the head with a jumbo pizza. I mean having an argument between your inner self and your outer self over which morsels of food on your plate you should eat and which you should shun.
This happens a lot with me, and I suspect I’m not the only person with Lyme with this dilemma. I think it results from Lyme causing people to have off-the-charts sensitivity.
According to the smart doctors, Lyme overstimulates the immune system as one of its survival mechanisms. It tries to get you flail away wildly instead of attacking it with a calm, measured, effective response.
Let’s face it. Those of us managing a severe case of Lyme are walking a tightrope. One false move here or there can bring misery. And I think this is what my finicky eating is all about.
My food fight goes something like this.
The outer me notices halfway through the meal that I haven’t touched the steamed kale. I push my fork towards it, but it’s like there’s a magnetic pull preventing me from reaching it. Then I go for a hefty chunk of salmon sitting next to it. Again something seems to be warning me away.
If it were a conversation, it would go as follows.
Outer self: “Hey, what gives. We’re really skinny. We need to eat.”
Inner self: “Look, I’m overstimulated as it is, and if you make me eat this stuff, it’s going to get worse, and I’m going to overreact to that stupid Lyme.”
Outer self: “Are you sure?”
Inner self: “Remember the last time you force fed me. We kept waking up all night sweating and felt lousy in the morning. You didn’t check the scale, but all that sweating means we didn’t gain weight, we even got a bit skinnier. The same thing happened the time before and the time before that. Clueing in yet?”
Outer self: “I guess you’re right. Sorry about that. I’ll try not to do that again.”
Inner self: “Hey, it’s your funeral. Wait a minute. It’s our funeral. Smarten up, eh!”
One of the advantages of Lyme making me super sensitive is that I get a lot of feedback from my inner self. Especially when it comes to food. Yesterday, it was hold the parsnips, the day before no more cabbage and parsley please. Green veggies, for some reason, bring out the most red flags.
Yogurt is another one. I just stick my spoon into the tub and wait for inner self to say whoa with that magnetic pull feeling. Some days it comes after a few spoonfuls and some days after half the container.
The last while I’ve learned to negotiate with my inner self. I’ll lobby for a few extra forkfuls of chicken or those last two pieces of carrots, and the force field will ease off a bit. But I don’t push it. I’ve learned through experience that my inner self knows a lot more about what’s going on inside than I do, and when the outer me has a full-blown food fight with the inner me, all of me ends up losing.