I have always had issues with food.
When I was little, my brother and I would have a silent contest of sorts at the dinner table to see who could finish their first helping of food in order to get the second (and usually last) helping left on the plate. It was as if we couldn’t even slow down enough to enjoy the food because we were too preoccupied to see who would claim victory on the remainder of mashed potatoes in the bowl or the one lonely piece of bacon staring at us.
This eating fast habit has continued on throughout my life, even to this day. My husband used to get irritated with how fast I consume my food. If we are out eating in a restaurant, I often clean my plate before him—and in our early years together, he would become very bothered by this. Ask me to slow down. To taste what I’m eating. As the years passed, he either gave up on this and accepted it to be just how I am or he is secretly seeing a therapist to vent about me and my food issues.
My latest battle with food is trying to eat less of it and be more conscious of the type of food I eat. I’ve reconciled with myself that I will never be able to say goodbye to sweets though. It’s just not possible and I admire those who can suddenly proclaim themselves to be “sugar-free.” Not me. No way. I think about sweets when there are no sweets around. I can be in another part of town and see a pastry shop that I haven’t tried and make a mental note to go there as soon as I can possibly get away. I visit a little chocolatier on Fridays after school as my treat to finishing a hard week of work. I’m not proud. But I won’t say no. By the way, the little chocolate shop has two employees. When I walk in, they say, “your usual?” The first few times I was embarrassed. Now I feel honored.
In order to compensate for my eating less kick, I have tried “snapping food in half.” Let me give you an example. I recently wrote about the damn Girl Scout cookies that fell into my lap one day after work. Rather than eat one whole cookie at a time, I would try to trick myself by “snapping the cookie in half.” Now don’t get me wrong…I’m 100% conscious of what I’m doing by snapping food in half. I tell myself that I’m only eating half of the cookie, but then I pop the second half in my mouth. Zero thought given. There’s just something satisfying about snapping it in half. I lie to myself that when I snap it in half, I’m eating less. But I’m not. In fact, I eat more. Read on.
Just now, as I wrote this, I finished half a bag of pretzels by snapping. The ridiculous thing is that I snapped and snapped and snapped until there were just a few left and then I thought, “well, might as well just finish up these last little bits left in the bag.” Little bits that I had been fully aware of creating by the snapping. It’s sick. And it’s a problem. But aren’t there worse problems to be had?
Should you be concerned? No. Should I? Yes.
While I finished the salty pretzels, I immediately began thinking of how good some ice cream might taste to counteract the salty taste left in my mouth. I imagined how I might have to go to the store to get some if there wasn’t any in the freezer. And then I thought about how plain ice cream isn’t delectable enough by itself. It’s better on top of something– like chocolate cake or a brownie or a chocolate chip cookie. And then I wondered if we had any of those in the house.
Sometimes, I can talk myself down. I can divert my attention to a project or make a healthier choice, like going for a run or tidying up the house a bit. But then I begin to think about a reward…and guess what that reward is? Half of something that will turn into a whole.
So, as I begin to think down the road, and imagine a life without sweets (only because I’ll be dead), I can’t help but wonder if my obituary will read something about death by snapping.
Now which stores will have Girl Scouts out selling their cookies today? I surely need some after this time change thing.