I have had a love love relationship with food since the day I discovered that salad dressing, croutons, and grated cheese were an awesome combination and the raw vegetables just didn’t add much to the taste or flavor of the salad – they were just an unnecessary distraction.
I come from a culture where the word “healthy” is synonymous with “fat” – when I was trying to buy a shirt for Dave in India the shopkeeper kept trying to get me to buy a larger size until suddenly he exclaimed “oh your husband is not healthy“! That’s right – my husband is unhealthily normal weighted! Also, Indians have no problem commenting loudly and publicly about each others weight – its all part of our ethnic charm! A few years ago my aunt almost physically assaulted a shop keeper in Pune who, on discovering that she intended to buy a blouse for herself, loudly yelled to his assistant – “Hey there boy, throw down the JUMBO size“!! In India, when someone wants to tell you that you’ve lost weight they actually say – “you’re looking very bad“! That’s effed up! But, on the flip side, by Indian standards I’m unreasonably healthy – I’m pretty sure that I’m actually healthy enough for a small city of Indians!
So, anyway, I love food – I love eating it, I love thinking about eating it, I love planning to eat it – I love everything about it……except the cooking of it! I mean, I’m an ok cook – I can make sure that my family isn’t starving… too much – my Rice Krispy treats are to die for – but I’m terrible at planning an entire meal. A few days ago Dave’s mom and step father came over for a weekend and without warning I whipped up a meal of Parmesan chicken, pasta, rolls, and a spinach salad. Dave’s facial expression was how I imagine the Aztecs looked when they saw Cortes sailing into the bay at the head of his armada – awe, wonder, and a little fear!
A few days ago my friend, who is an awesome photographer (check her out) took some family photos – and my chin and hips could occupy their own zip code! It’s always after moments like this that I have a mini panic attack imagining that I am going to end up weighing 300 pounds and dying like Elvis on the toilet eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches – and the panic, combined with my disdain for peanut butter and banana sandwiches, makes me very motivated – so for the next couple of weeks I exercise everyday and watch what I eat, and then nothing budges on the scale so I get discouraged – but I keep exercising, and then Halloween comes along and unlike those nice parents on You Tube who just pretended to eat their kids candy – I actually do eat all my kids candy – plus I have a glass – or 3 – of wine because, lets face it, when you hand out candy to 300 little kids you need a little liquid fortification, so the day after when I get on the scale I am depressed and when I’m depressed I eat – and…. you get the picture!
And while I do try and insulate my children from the crazy in my head – the emotional eating, the shame spiral that follows a Doritos and caramel love fest – they aren’t idiots. I’d like them to understand that food is good and makes them healthy and strong and should give pleasure and is not the villain of this piece. I’d like them to see food as a benign entity, as something without the power to reduce them to helpless little protoplasmic blobs with no free will, as something that doesn’t govern their sense of worth and self. So while thankfully my kids aren’t idiots, unfortunately much too often – I am.
But no worries, this period of self analysis too will pass and tomorrow I will go back to yelling at Adam to “please eat your food for the love of all that is good and holy“, while simultaneously suggesting to Maya that “maybe the fifth slice of pizza should wait until after the first slice of carrot“! I wish I would take my own excellent advice sometimes!!