I recently stood in the chip aisle at target debating between buying a family size bag of Cheetos and the smaller, but still a horrible decision size bag of Cheetos. To set the scene further: I also had a bag of peanut m&ms in my hands. On this particular
day in the Target chip aisle I was suffering form the worst and most off-balance hormones that I have experienced in recent memory. I’d wept multiple times for silly reasons. I’d become raging angry at a mosquito. And I’d been starving for 4 days. By that I mean, to my core insatiable hungry. For 4 days. Nothing could fill that gaping maw. It went to my bones, back through generations, a hormonal hunger not seen in eons. No matter how much protein I ate or water I drank I was starving. Which led me to the Target chip aisle. Which led to hormonal gorge fest 2015.
Good news: the hormones are leveling out and I am not hungry (like that any way) anymore. Bad news: I could still easily eat all that food again right now if it was in front of me. Because no matter how healthy I do eat (and enjoy eating), there’s nothing like a freaking Dorito. For that reason, I never buy junk food. Ever. Because I can, as has been previously stated, annihilate a bag of chips, cookies, pretzels, etc. without a second thought. No kidding, the higher order thinking in my brain shuts down and I inhale. I can’t even indulge in it even once in a while because of Portion Control.
Eff that guy, right? He’s there for you, kind of, like “oooh, great job you ate a super food salad and everything was perfectly measured. I’m so proud of you. See? This is how you get a thigh gap!” and you’re forlornly staring into your salad all, “But I don’t want a thigh gap…” and then! When you do find yourself elbow deep in a Doritos bag he’s the one who reminds you “At least you didn’t want a thigh gap” . Thanks so very much. I had no idea that one handful was 9,000 calories. Buzz. Kill.
Portion Control and I go way, way back. I’m pretty sure we’ve been locked in a struggle that predates the Jurassic Era. I’m sure there is some far removed Nancy ancestor whose one job in the community was to count the berries that the women and children had to fight off a saber tooth for. And while she was counting berries she was murmuring some early human version of “one for me, one for you”. Nancy ancestor passed on two genetic traits, I’m sure, one of them being a complicated relationship with food and the other being a hot head. These two traits have only become more concentrated through the generations. I can dominate both a bag of Doritos and my enemies in the Thunderdome.
Here’s an example: we went to a grill out at the beginning of summer. At one point during dinner I realized I was standing in front of the Doritos, preventing even the children from eating them. Is that not a thing? Does no other adult do this? No?
One of the kids said, “You’re eating a lot of Doritos.”
To which I said, “Yes.”
He said, “You must be stressed.”
I said, “What are you a therapist?” No, I didn’t, but I did think: “Listen kid, when you grow up, someday you too can shamelessly emotionally eat in front of an 8-year-old.”
Not a few weeks later, we went out to dinner with several couples and I noticed all the gals had only eaten half of their burgers. I asked my friend, “Why aren’t you finishing your burger? It’s delicious.”
She said, “I’m full.”
To which I replied, “Well, I am too but that’s not stopping me from achieving my dreams!”
While eating what the experts say is “the right amount of food” (pshhhhh!) has become less of a struggle the older I’ve become, it’s not easy! Sometimes during periods of stress or hormones it’s like a horror movie. I feel like there’s another presence here. It’s in my house. I notice that the bread has mysteriously moved closer to the front of the fridge. The buttery popcorn that I forgot about falls out of the pantry. A small secret candy bar appears from behind a bag of rice. I hear whispers. Maybe from the attic? Nope. Definitely in the kitchen. The disembodied voice is saying, “eat the pie”. It whispers to me for 30 minutes, a roundelay of “if we don’t have pie just eat some bread or that can of icing you forgot about”. It leaves a trail of cinnamon crumbs to the refrigerator. Am I insane? Do I need a doctor? A priest to rid me of these demons? Now I’m stressed. I’ll have this piece of pie to manage my anxieties.
And then as soon as the fork is down Portion Control starts tsk-ing and saying “You know that’s going directly to your thighs right?”
Eating and food really shouldn’t be this complicated. But sometimes it is. See, right here would be a good place for me to put a positive affirmation quote and say something about how all this has taught me a valuable lesson and now I have it all figured out. Oh, no. Not true. I just personified Portion Control as a sassy half-friend. I have nothing figured out. What I do know though is that most of my friends have this same complicated relationship with food and portion control and I’d rather be eating than afraid to eat. You know, we are all (probably) just doing the best we can to be healthy and not give ourselves stomach cancer from eating too much Red Dye #88. That’s not too, shabby really.
I also figure, if you can find the humor in something difficult it makes it a more manageable load to bear. It’s easy to get pissed at yourself when you fall off the wagon, don’t see the results you want, eat a bag of Cheetos, etc. Hey, it’s life. These things happen. I say this because as a near professional level negative self talker, it’s just the truth. It’s ok. Portion Control might be laughing at how clumsily you slipped off the wagon and brained yourself on the way down, but, it’s going to be fine if you decide to let it be. Laugh at it, dust yourself off, and climb back up. And give Portion Control a good swift kick in the shins once you’re up there. It will feel really great to watch that guy suffer a little bit.
Damn. That did pretty much end as a motivational poster, didn’t it?