I’ve lost my appetite.

Anyone who even remotely knows me probably knows that I never miss a meal unless there are some seriously extenuating circumstances, that my breakfast or snack or lunch are carefully and dutifully packed whenever I leave home for more than 5 minutes, and that I adore food. The grocery store is one of my favorite places. I love a full fridge and freezer.

So this is a little weird.

No, it’s not COVID. That’s losing your sense of taste. I haven’t lost that. I’m finding that I just don’t want to really eat anything outside of an apple here or a handful of almonds there. It’s even more surprising given how much I’ve been running. I’d expect to be hungry all the time. Last weekend I ran 15 miles one day and didn’t feel like eating for the rest of the day. I wonder if this is a thing that happens to long-distance runners. I’m running as much as 35 miles a week right now, which is way more than my usual 15-18.

Even when I do feel hungry, I don’t feel motivated to make food. Maybe it’s because I’m alone now, but I ate alone most of the time even when M and I were together in the same house. My old strategy was to plan what I would eat, sometimes for the week, and make sure food was always available as needed. My new strategy is to shove a spoonful of peanut butter in my mouth when I feel hungry because that will shut my stomach up for like an hour. I just dutifully went and got some peanut butter because I realize it’s been 3 hours since I had some avocado on a cracker.

I am trying to do some cooking; I made ravioli one night this week for dinner and also had it for lunch the next day. M and I went to Chipotle after BMX practice on Wednesday and I ate that burrito at two meals. So I’m not starving, I’m just not motivated to ensure complete satiety the way I used to be.

I’m also not interested in animal products at the moment, with the exception of eggs and fish. This is not completely uncharacteristic. I was vegetarian for a couple of years and totally vegan for about a year before it started to adversely affect my health. In the summer, I often am not interested in chicken, beef or pork. Working in the field the only protein I was ever really interested in was beans and rice or tuna straight out of the can. If I could do it in a really healthy way that was also easy, I’d go back to vegetarianism completely. I’ll settle for an ovo-pescatarian compromise right now.

There’s a part of me that’s ecstatic about this. I’ve always envied people who don’t care about food, who eat slowly and with intent, who leave half their food for another meal and don’t ever overindulge. Maybe I’ll finally end up one of those skinny beautiful yoga vegans with healthy glows and long flowing locks. Hey, a girl can dream.

In the really real world, under normal circumstances, I eat like a horse, both in terms of total quantity and the amount that falls out of my face while eating. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a teeny bit concerned, though less about decreased quantity and more because it’s a fairly drastic and fundamental personality change for me.

To be clear, this is not a cry for help or an eating disorder. It’s more like disordered eating. I’m keenly aware that skipping meals is not how rad girls, or at least girls with even the tiniest rad bone in their body like me (I think it’s my coccyx), STAY rad. I need to make a conscious effort to ensure my calorie intake at minimum fuels my sportsing. And that’s just it: I’ve never needed to make a conscious effort before.

I guess maybe I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak (so many horses in this post…wtf.) It’s possible I’m hungry for something else, something less to do with food and more to do with personal growth and fulfillment. I’ve skipped or postponed a few meals because I’ve been writing, for example. I’ve noticed that a couple of my posts have alluded to a hollow feeling, so maybe what I’m missing isn’t really food, it’s comfort or empathy or even just company. I imagine when I get over it, whatever “it” is, I’ll be back to eating like a Kentucky Derby winner.

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