My Weird Way of Suppressing Temptation

Lately I’ve been having a really rough time with my IBS. It’s a huge struggle for me to eat because 1) often times, I’m in too much pain to cook a decent meal and 2) lots of the things on my “approved” list of foods don’t always sound appealing to me. I find myself constantly having to fight off temptation because I know that if I succumb, it will trigger my IBS symptoms. It’s like having to battle between caring and not caring. Being productive and not being productive. Exercising and not exercising. Eating the right foods and not eating the right foods. Are we expected to be perfect all the time?

The ongoing battle

Every time I drive by a Wendy’s or a McDonald’s, or any fast food joint, I always want to stop and grab something, but, for obvious reasons, I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I have my cheat days. However, I wish I could have more of them like I used to when I was younger and before IBS came into the picture. Biting down on a nice juicy, meaty burger or maybe even devouring a few slices of pizza covered with pepperoni would be enough to satisfy my “fat boy” craving. Why are some of the good things in life so bad at the same time? In some ways, IBS has forced me to develop a lot of discipline and control over what I put in my body, for this aspect I am definitely grateful. Nonetheless, I am not perfect and there are moments when temptation gets harder and harder.

Because of my IBS, I have deprived myself from eating just any-ol’-thing, and also from eating sufficiently at times. I used to be on top of my diet more effectively, but it’s impossible to be perfect all the time. Sometimes it’s hard for me to eat more than twice a day, and other days it’s hard to eat at all. Due to this habit, I’ve realized this is part of the reason why temptation is often in my face. Nowadays, I’m consistently having to battle between not eating properly and wanting to eat as much as my stomach can handle, which either clearly aren’t good things. What can I do to maintain healthy eating? What can I do to continue suppressing these temptations without eventually letting it get the best of me? I decided to do some research to discover new methods and I came across something quite interesting.

What is Mukbang?

Recently, I came across a video on YouTube of a guy sitting in front of the camera devouring a bunch of food. What drew me to the video was the thumbnail because this man had what seemed like about 4 different meals from Taco Bell, which is beyond crazy, if you ask me (here’s a link to the video if you’re interested). Also, the title drew me to the video, which contained the term “mukbang”. I was beyond appalled at what I was watching and wanted to know more about what “mukbang” meant, so I did some investigation. Mukbang(or Meokbang) is a Korean term that is defined as an “eating broadcast” where the host eats in front of the camera and interacts with his/her audience. From a biased perspective, it looks like a person is eating a ton of food just to satisfy someone’s wild fetish. However, I don’t like to judge a book by its cover and I prefer to have an open-mind, so I did some more research as to why people actually watch mukbang.

I have learned a number of things regarding mukbang. First of all, it is very popular in South Korea where hosts get paid pretty well to eat a lot of food in front of the camera. One theory as to why people watch this type of eating broadcast is because some of those people are lonely and it gives them the illusion that they’re actually eating dinner with someone. Can you imagine being so alone or depressed that you would resort to this method of “therapy”? I can imagine and it saddens me the more I think about it. Another theory is because certain viewers live vicariously through the host, since they themselves cannot consume that much food for whatever health reason. In a strange way, I find the latter theory to be somewhat true and effective for me in defeating temptation.

I have watched a number of mukbang videos on YouTube and, personally, it really does help suppress any desire of eating anything that will trigger my IBS symptoms. What goes through my mind while I’m watching is how can someone eat so much food and not feel guilty about it? Frankly, another thing that goes through my mind is how satisfying it actually feels to watch someone else eat all that junk as opposed to myself. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve had my “fat boy” fantasies, but I never thought of ever playing them out. Even though it’s extremely unhealthy, I do find the act quite courageous, in a bizarre way. Why? Because these hosts have the audacity to do what a lot of people wish they could do, but they don’t because either society says it’s not ok or because they have to manage their health more carefully than others. There are many times I wish I was courageous (or careless, however you want to look at it) enough to rebel against society’s norms or against my IBS, but in these aspects, it’s obviously not realistic or healthy.  It sounds weird confessing such a thing, but then again, I thought it was weird to talk about my IBS problems, but…here we are.

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