That year in high school when I ate nothing but ice cream sandwiches for breakfast.
The time I was grounded for two weeks for sending my 10 year old sister into a store to buy candy for me (buy one get one free large bags of M&Ms).
The way I arranged the hostess snacks in the box so that it looked like there were just as many as there were before I ate two – assuming my mom wouldn’t notice when she made my sisters’ lunches.
The fact that I couldn’t stop myself from covertly eating one of the chocolate bars in my German host family’s pantry.
The month I ate all salads with my fingers even in front of other people in order to appreciate it more and eat less.
The cookies I have kept in desk drawers. The chocolates I have hidden in shoes. The empty plates I have shoved under sofas.
I have a lifetime of food issues. It’s the thing to talk about our relationship with things and in this case, my relationship with food has been outrageously difficult. It’s also the thing, in my family, to blame your upbringing and, in the past, I haven’t minded dropping a little responsibility off there. Now, I own it. No matter what was said to me when I was small, how I thought I looked, or how I actually looked, I have grown into a person who takes full responsibility for who I am and what I put into my mouth, whether it’s too much ice cream or a thoughtfully prepared, delicious, nutrient-packed meal.
You know, I’ve chosen to eat a lot of pie since November. I have enjoyed every last delicious bite. I’ve had pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve had two different kinds of pie in the same day. In one dire case, I hid pie in the back of the fridge so that my brother-in-law wouldn’t eat it. In fact, I’m not down with hiding food much these days. It was a moment of weakness so I won’t do it again. Probably. You guys, he eats everything. The thing with pie is that there’s an exchange. In exchange for pie, you either get to move more or weigh more. At least, that’s the exchange if you’re me. It’s the unspoken agreement you and the pie make.
After you sign on the dotted line with your fork, you then get more choices. Though I have been a member of many gyms (and still have a membership) we have an on and off again relationship that, while not as rocky as my relationship with food, has never been completely smooth. I crave variety and I crumble under schedules and routines. I’m old. I go to the gym when I want. For awhile I called an unused gym membership my “fat tax” in hopes that it would inspire me to go. The expression didn’t inspire me, it made me feel worse about myself.
I’m not slender. I am mortified to see pictures of myself from the last decade. Who is that person? What happened to her? Routines don’t work. Belittling myself didn’t work. Changing my mindset helped. It wasn’t subtraction I needed (eat less, don’t eat any of that), it was modification (eat this now, do that later). I’m not the person I was 60 pounds ago, so something must have worked.*
Which brings us to the point of this post. Because of our success (and all the pie consumption), my wife has recommitted for the new year. I haven’t said as much (though if you want to see, it’s here) because when I talk about eating differently, I hear myself saying that I’m currently eating badly, and my mind interprets that as being a bad person. It’s good to know your own pitfalls, people. I’m too healthy mentally to step into that trap right now. My mother, too, has opted in.
My dad, on the other hand, is always going to pick pie. And cookies. And whipped potatoes. And fries. Living in a house where 50% of the people have chosen not to eat those items AND one of those people is, by nature, a person who qualifies herself as good or bad depending on what goes into her mouth AND, without meaning to I suppose leaves a slight trail of I’m the one who is doing food right everywhere she goes, is really, really hard. I don’t want to eat pie, so I don’t. But I feel incredibly awkward and uncomfortable taking actions that isolate my dad so I’m taking the middle ground. I don’t love it but it’s better than the alternatives.
Suffice to say, I am dead tired of thinking about food. I’m tired of planning menus for a house of people who eat different things or, in my mom’s case, claim to be eating different things. Further, I’m tired of playing defense when my mom suggests having pizza instead of cooking dinner (dude. I would have thrown it in the slow cooker if I had known you wouldn’t). Also, I know that one of my coping mechanisms in life is pie (in moderation) and I miss it. I’m unhappy**, you all. Thank you for listening.
*By the way, I’m not discounting a pretty hefty mental shift, the help of mood management, and a significantly lower stress, higher activity lifestyle. I’m also not discounting my genes, which are predisposed to eating lots of pie and retaining it unhelpfully in my belly.
**A note to my beloved wife who, even though I have TOLD her that I love her and am behind her 100% might read this and think I am unhappy with her: I am not. I am 100% supportive. Still 😉