Food is My Friend and My Enemy

So food and I have been frenemies for many years.  I didn’t intend for that, and I don’t think anyone does, but it happened.  My earliest memory of food issues started in sixth grade.  And, in my mid-40’s, they are still there.  I’m lucky to have not been bulimic or anorexic, and sometimes I wonder how I managed not to be.  I knew quite a few people in high school who were.  Now I’m overweight, and I think that is where my issues took me.  Well, medical problems combined with the issues.

In sixth grade my Mom put me on Weight Watchers for Kids.  I was already made fun of for just being awkward me, so now let’s add the different food in.  As an adult I now realize that my plumping up was not due to my eating (which, hello, was either what I was served at home or at school, I wasn’t a major snacker) but rather to pre-pubescence.  I’ve seen it happen to many kids around that age, and by 8th or 9th grade they have thinned back out.  But, my diet obsessed Mother, who was always on a diet herself, decided I was fat and told me I was fat, and put me on a diet.  My treat was dried apple snacks.

I graduated high school standing 5’ 6½ “ and weighing 118 pounds.  I thought I was fat pretty much through high school, so I only wore Levi’s 501 button fly jeans with button down un-tucked shirts in a variety of colors.  I found out later people thought I was part of the stoners group.  But I thought it hid my fat stomach.  In college my Mom again said I was fat and paid for me to go to Jenny Craig.  I lost weight when I cheated.  I wore a size 8 at the time, but since I had gone up from a size 5 I was apparently fat.  I would look in a mirror and see a big belly, so I knew I had to dress to hide it.

When I was five months pregnant, we were out at a Mexican restaurant, and one of my brothers was visiting.  I wanted another sopaipilla, because those are my favorite, and this place gave basketfuls with plenty of butter and honey.  My Mom looked at me as I reached for one and told me I didn’t need it because I was getting fat.  Husband about burst a blood vessel, grabbed three and started slathering them with butter and honey and said I could have as many as I wanted since not only was I pregnant, but I had just started eating again after being sick for 4 months.  I lost 5 pounds during the first 4 months.  My Mom then looked at my brother and asked him if I wasn’t getting big.  Really?!  He tried to look apologetic as he said he hadn’t ever seen me that big.  He also has a thing with overweight woman.  I WAS 5 MONTHS PREGNANT.  It happened again with pizza during my second pregnancy where I lost 10 pounds during the first four months.  I didn’t need a third piece, because I was getting fat.  Husband wasn’t at this meal, but a good friend was and she gave me the pizza.

My Dad was really overweight, and he used to hide food and eat in the middle of the night.  My Mom was always screaming at him about eating.  I think I get the food hiding from him.  Yes, I really feel strong urges to hide my chocolate.  After 20 years together I finally let Husband in on that secret, and he was stunned.  He had no idea I felt I needed to hide chocolate.  He could care less that I buy it or eat it.  He also doesn’t care that I’m not even close to a size 8 anymore.  He’s more worried about my health problems, which all started when I was a size 8, and have contributed to my weight issues.  But I do eat things I shouldn’t, and more than I should, and when I’m depressed or upset I go for ice cream.  My Dad always bought me ice cream to cheer me up.

I know how to eat, and what I should eat, and that drinking water is really, really important.  And I try.  But then I break in a new way, we get busy with all of the girls activities, my emotions get the better of me…and I’m not doing what I need anymore, unless buying Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food counts for what I need.  And drinking Mt. Dew does improve my mood.

I try not to beat myself up about food, and I try to do the best I can to eat the way I should.  And, I actually like how I look.  Yes, I’d like to be thinner, but I look in the mirror and I’m happy with what I see.  Probably because I’m happy with who I am, and with my life.  I think that is the biggest hurdle, being good with looking in the mirror.  Which most days, I’m glad to say, I am.  Oddly enough my latest medical issue came about, as far as the doctors could tell, because I lost weight and started exercising.  Sometimes you just can’t win.