I want to start this by calling myself a potential high-functioning anorexic, but the fact of the matter is that’s just not true because I could never ever ever ever give up food.
However, I have recently discovered a little problem that I have which is I have developed an extraordinarily limited capacity to concentrate and maintain consciousness during waking hours. I would imagine that this is somewhat similar to a reverse-insomnia or modified version of ADD or ADHD. Whenever I have gone recently to class or work or research or a meeting or anything that requires a mediocre level of cognitive functioning, my cerebral cortex completely fails on me and my eyes start to flutter. Not because I’m flirting… because within fifteen minutes of sitting down, I nearly instantly become completely lethargic and have no further capacity to remotely concentrate on whatever the subject material is. I can hardly keep my eyes open, and I mean that. I feel like there is a cloud around my brain. But I didn’t always have this problem, so I set out on a psychological mission to investigate why this phenomenon has initiated. (This is not the first time I have done an experiment on myself.)
And so over the course of a few days, I began to observe myself on a slightly more acute level than I normally do. I tried to research my own habits: what I did every morning getting ready, what I did before class, during, between classes, after classes, while walking, while working, and so on and so forth. My mission was to find the culprit of my torpidity. After about a week or so, the mystery started to unveil itself. I began to notice that something near and dear to my heart may be causing my contention.
As I am currently enrolled a Research-Methods Psychology course, I decided to take advantage of my learnings and formulate a theory, which (to cut to the chase) was as follows: I theorized that eating causes inertness. Following the logic that science is iterative, I decided to create a hypothesis: the reason for my sleepishness (see what I did there?) was eating prior to class/work/studying/etc.
So I continued with my observations. I noticed that if I ate breakfast, that my ability to concentrate in, for example Readings in Spanish and Latin American Literature, diminished drastically. One Monday I tested this on a hefty breakfast: a Pumpernickel bagel with honey walnut cream cheese. (FYI – I don’t normally have these things around the house, but I finally caught Bruegger’s on a Wednesday in which they have a dozen bagels for $6 something… so I got them and two small tubs of cream cheese: the honey walnut and also a smoked salmon. Mmmmmm.)
I nearly fell asleep in class. I know for a fact that my brain did because I have absolutely nothing close to resembling a coherent memory from 11:30 to 12:25… and class starts at 11:10 and ends at 12:25. I don’t want to do the math for how much I pay for classes at this goodness-foresaken school because I’ll cry but heaven knows it’s a heck of a lot I paid for nothing that Monday.
So there is my data for the science project… when I ate, I because extremely tired and lost an aptitude to concentrate. Which led me to the conclusion that my prediction was confirmed: Food makes me sleep. Now, technically, there is no ‘confirmation of predictions’ in science; anything needs to be able to be proved or disproved. But as far as I am concerned, I am correct because I noticed that whenever I ate anything before anything I did, I could no longer focus on the tasks at hand.
Scientifically, this makes sense. Physically, when you eat something, the blood and energy rush to your stomach and intestines to process the food of which you have consumed. This leads your brain with a deficiency of blood to process your cognitions. Which leads me to an even bigger problem that I started with which is WHEN in the world am I supposed to eat? Functionally, it’s not beneficial to you to eat any quantity of food prior to falling asleep as your body is supposed to be using your energy to relax and reset all of the muscles and etcetera that you use throughout the day. But food makes me sleep and no food makes me work more efficiently. I get a bit hungry, yes, but hunger is fleeting.
So I decided to test this theory/hypothesis… I know there’s a difference but I don’t actually care what it is. And, actually, I didn’t technically decide so much as accidentally force myself into a hurried situation in which I had no choice but to essentially starve myself; this was this morning with the Peppered Lettuce. So I had my teensy tiny Peppered Lettuce salad for breakfast. I found that concentrating in Research-Methods Class was remarkably easy. I normally participate in class, but today I participated so much that I actually stood up and helped to lead a class-wide activity. No eating seemed to yield instant energy.
After class (we got out early), I headed to Caribou Coffee (I really have to stop going before I start hating it) and got a Dark Chocolate Soy Turtle Mocha (they didn’t have almond milk… I hate milk). It was delicious, not nutritious, and made me concentrate to intently in my Faulkner & Morrison English class that I practically developed a second stream of consciousness. I was multitasking like I have never done before – and believe you me, I am a dexterous multitasker.
Upon leaving class and going to my internship, I have doubtlessly walked any quicker (how? I don’t know as I had hardly anything in me) and even stopped to donate my minimal spare change to my favorite, adorable woman (she is the cutest and the nicest ever – I just gave her a dime today and she thanked me like it was a Franklin so I have decided that tomorrow or whenever I see her next, I will be giving her my full Kate Spade Ring box full of all my lucky coins that I pick up on the day to day. One of these days when I have cash, I will give her that too) on K Street who sells Street Sense – a paper which I vocally support which is written and sold by the local homeless, giving them both a day job and an income.
Once I found myself at my ginormous cubicle, I started upon my 20-item to-do list. An hour and a half in, I had 15 or so almonds which I keep at my desk to fulfill the just-in-case factor (it came in handy!). But the point is I finished everything on the list. And a lot of them were time- and labor- (not really labor) -intensive deeds. I don’t know how it is possible to function on so much nothing, but I did. Not to mention all of the thinking and brainstorming and mind-encompassing activities I have going on in my cranium all day.
By the time I got home, I was starving… but I couldn’t eat because we had no food other than lettuce and as good as Peppered Lettuce is, I didn’t want two of those in one day so I ventured an extra block to Whole Foods at which I purchased 5 for $5 organic avocados (yes! one week I literally bought 20. but actually I did), 3 organic Roma tomatoes (the heirlooms were all soft), and a giant organic red onion – most of which were local, too! When I got home I checked all of my remaining emails of which I get nine thousand a day and proceeded to make the yummiest, most ginormous salad of my being which consisted of more Red Lettuce leaves, an avocado, a tomato, some red onion, pepper, cilantro, fresh-squeezed lime, olive oil, and love and which I enjoyed over yesterday’s most recent episode of Modern Family.
Now, I have no plans to develop an eating disorder and I absolutely positively do not support them (please stay healthy friends), but I think that I am going to try out this new ridiculous pattern of eating until something better comes along… or I can eat cupcakes and chocolate again.
A High-Functioning and Salad-Brimming DandyLion