Losing It: Breaking Up (with Food) is Hard to Do
To say that I am humbled would be an understatement. The outpouring of love in light of my recent Reese’s breakup has been astounding. I’ve received calls. Texts. Blue Mountain Arts cards. Casseroles (low-fat, natch). An older woman at the gym even slapped me on the ass and told me to “get back out there kid.” That was uncomfortable.
So … after spending the week in bed with the shades drawn, flipping between The Notebook and anything with the word “Twilight” in the title, I have decided to shake off my funk and move on with my life. Yes, the pain of this most recent food breakup still cuts me to my core, but it’s not the first and surely will not be the last of its kind.
Because I like sympathy, casseroles and High Fidelity, I now offer you (in chronological order) a list of my all-time top five food breakups:
1. Fun Dip/Pixy Stix. Because these really are the same thing, just in different clothing, no? What elementary schooler didn’t have a crush on this guy? He was so cute and made you laugh (because you were on such a sugar high that you couldn’t help yourself). And he was sweet. Achingly sweet. (My teeth literally hurt right now just thinking about dumping that kid-crack into my mouth). After hanging out with him, I would inappropriately stick my tongue out to show my friends the color he’d left me with. It was all so cheap and tawdry. My dentist was the one to put the kibosh on this little relaysh. He told me that sweets would rot my teeth and, being the little angel that I was (except when I was doing the weird tongue thing), I listened. I thank him to this day, as I lead my brother by one in the Stern-children cavity-off. Nary a cavity in this mouth. Suck it, Mark.
2. Easy Cheese. I use the term “food” very loosely when referring to this stuff. Because, truly, can fluorescent orange gunk that is squeezed out of a can be called food? Squeeze cheese was my camp boyfriend, really, because my mom would never have allowed us to be together in the real world. I would put him on Triscuits, Wheat Thins, and, admittedly, directly into my mouth a la Chunk in The Goonies (if you do not get this reference, you are either too old, too young, or too ’80s-trivia-ignorant to be reading my column. I thank you for sticking with me up until this point, but please move along). After a few blissful summers together, I had to end things. As it turned out, he was just too immature for me and, as a 13-year-old girl, I had set my sights on bigger things …
3. Bacon Double Cheeseburger. While others may bow down at the altar of McDonalds, I have always been a loyal subject to the King. The Burger King. Big Mac? No thanks. Quarter Pounder with Cheese? I’ll pass. High school was all about the BDC for me. He was the bad boy and no one could understand how a good girl like me ended up with a grease ball like him. While the rest of my friends were thinking about their future—eating salads and other such healthy fare—I was sneaking around with BDC. We would have these clandestine meetings, during which we would do unspeakable things. Like eat curly fries. And chicken tenders (which are far superior to McD’s nuggets, in case you’re wondering.) Oh, the humanity! Mom pulled the plug here. I was about to head off to college and needed to take a serious look at my eating habits. How was I ever going to learn to eat right and cook for myself if I was hanging about with BDC? So I bid adieu to all of that cheesy, bacon-y goodness and moved on in the way that so many freshmen do …
4. Ramen Noodles. I had been flirting with Ramen for some time, so our college relationship was kind of the natural extension of our already chummy friendship. He was the ultimate college b-fry: Yummy. Smelled great. Warm and comforting during those long winters in State College. Super cheap (which is how I liked them in those days). With or without the broth (I preferred mine sans), this guy seemed to embody everything I wanted in a food boyfriend. Or so I thought. Those were also the days when I had discovered pinot grigio and thought it was the end-all-be-all of alcoholic beverages. Until …
5. Alma Colada. Zoom in on my post-college life. Living and working in the city. Happy hour-ing. Whatnot. Alma and I met like so many couples do, at a bar. Always up for trying anything with the word “colada” in it, I ordered one and we started getting to know one another. He was handsome, what with being served in a coconut and all. He was smooth. He was fruity (people always had their suspicions about Alma) and milky, and rummy, and delish. He also had strips of shaved coconut that I would fish out with my pinky and eat. Looking back, that must have been super unpleasant for those sitting near us. Apologies. I am usually not a PDA kind of person, but this is what Alma did to me. The other thing he did to me was make me violently ill every time we hung out. Every single time I met up with him, I would have to run home and vomit immediately. But, like many idiotic 20-something women, I kept going back for more. Like, maybe this time I won’t get sick. In the end, I had to kick Alma to the curb because he was so, so, SO bad for me. (Incidentally, I have recently figured out that it is the coconut milk that makes me so ill. You would think that this would make me give up Thai coconut curry and the like, but you would be wrong. I am a masochist.)
And there you have it. My top five all-time food breakups. Obviously I still have a few monkeys on my back that I cannot seem to shake:
>> Regular Coke, especially from the fountain. It’s my kryptonite.
>> Shrimp with walnuts. Possibly the worst thing for you on the Chinese menu, but it’s my jawn.
>> Girl Scout Cookies. Need I explain this one? I eat sleeves of Thin Mints at a time. Sleeves!
Maybe these will be the next foods on the chopping block as I move toward 100 percent clean eating and living.
(Is it bad that I couldn’t keep a straight face as I typed that last sentence?)
What I Did This Week
On Wednesday I met up with fellow Be Well Philly blogger, health coach, yoga instructor and all-around cool lady, Maura Manzo, to chat about my eating issues. Among the many takeaways I gleaned from this session, two things stood out:
1. I don’t drink nearly enough water. I sometimes go through an entire meal (hell, I’ve gone through an entire DAY) without drinking one sip. She told me that I should be drinking half of my weight (in ounces) of water every day. Crap. I’m going to have to pin a sign to my shirt that says “Remind me to drink water” so that people can do for me what I am obviously incapable of doing myself.
2. I don’t take time for myself. I am a working mother. Time for myself is not in the job description. Maura used the analogy that when you are given safety instructions on a plane, they always tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, so that you can then do it for others. Life is the same, and if I don’t start putting myself first sometimes, I’m not going to be able to take care of anyone else. She is a smart one, that Maura, playing off of my fear of flying to get me to have an “ah-ha moment.”
In the spirit of taking care of myself, we walked on over to Hotbox Yoga for a Vinyasa power yoga class Maura was teaching. This was a hot class, with the room heated to about 93 degrees. Because I’m a genius, I forgot a towel so I was mopping the sweat from my face with my tank top. Hot. There were some serious yogis in this class. Hand- and headstands were happening. People were frog-leaping into the air and clapping their feet together. While I wasn’t able to do all of that, I was able to keep up with Maura’s pace while she quickly moved through the poses and worked every muscle I have. I was still hurting two days later. But that didn’t keep me from getting through week four of my 5K running program and hitting up a Piloxing class at the NAC. Hey, look at me. I’m all exercise-y and stuff!
Robin Raskin blogs about her weight loss journey every Thursday on Be Well Philly. Catch up on the series here, and follow her on Twitter at @RobinRaskin. Join Robin’s Healthy Recipe Swap Facebook group here.