Not everyone is fortunate enough to have that one, great passion in life: The thing that gets them out of bed each morning and guides them through each day; that one thing that not only puts a smile on their face, but lights up their soul.
I am one of the lucky ones. And my great passion is FOOD.
Wonderful. Delectable. Glamorous. Sexual….. Food. It feels good even to type it. I don’t discriminate: Fatty, juicy, bacon cheeseburgers are just as beloved as giant, cruciferous, hearty salads. I love all foods, each in their own special way. I’m like a mother, really. All of my food babies are given equal love and affection.
It’s a gift from the heavens that I have a career that requires me to be in shape, or there would be nothing stopping me from bathing in a pool of burritos every day and swimming through a sea of cookies and sushi rolls each night.
I of course do eat burritos, cookies, and sushi regularly. I would die without them. But I eat much, much less of them than I actually want (which is somewhere in the realm of “truckload.”) Because there’s something unique about me that you need to understand: Not only do I love and adore eating, I never get full. I am dead serious. I could easily count the rare occasions that I have actually felt satiated to the degree that I couldn’t eat one more bite, and they almost all include Thanksgivings. Note that I said “couldn’t eat one more bite” and not “didn’t want to eat”, because that’s an important distinction. The want is always there. ALWAYS. Even when I have eaten myself to the point that I could potentially need to be put in a wheelbarrow and taken to the hospital. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve performed my favorite party trick at dinner with friends, as each person hands off their plates in awe to watch me finish whatever is left with pleasure, like some sideshow human garbage disposal.
Growing up we always finished our plates, because you were facing certain death if you didn’t. It’s probably one of the first rules I remember learning as a child: Your ass doesn’t leave that seat until you finish your food. Well, lesson learned, Mom. I now finish my food, leave my seat, and plop my ass back down for three more helpings.
Nothing makes me have to bite my tongue harder than when I turn down something decadent and someone says to me, “You can afford to eat that—Look how skinny you are!” First of all, if you don’t have a career that depends on the state of your body, your opinion is cancelled. The head games your brain can play with you when your ability to pay your rent is directly affected by how you look in a half top is something you need to experience firsthand before you pass any judgement on my food choices.
Secondly, I know I can afford to eat it. I’m not an idiot. One slice of pizza will not alter my entire physique. What you need to understand is that my turning something down is really keeping my never-ending appetite on a tight leash. Eating a four-pound bag of carrots has slightly different consequences than crushing three boxes of Oreos. I can only indulge in certain foods when I know I am in the most focused, regimented, ZEN state of mind. Otherwise, that donut will quickly turn into ten donuts, then half a jar of peanut butter, then an entire bag of bagels, and before you know it, it’s three blacked-out orders of bacon waffle fries and a trip to the taco truck later, and I am suddenly confused as to why I’m covered in ketchup and my pants won’t zip. Every single day is an epic battle of my iron will to not eat everything in existence in an attempt to feel satiated, whether it’s pounds of salad and tofu, or boxes of pastries washed down with medium rare steaks. I live to eat, and unhinged, I will eat whatever’s in front of me. Period.
Case in point: Early on in our relationship, my boyfriend and I went out one night to a cute little brick oven place in our neighborhood, and feeling particularly hungry, I decided to order a meal-sized calzone as my “appetizer,” and a full-sized pizza for my dinner. By hook or by crook I finished every last delicious bite (did you hear that, Mom?), along with happily partaking in our bottomless bread basket. By the end of the meal, I was doubled over in pain and physically unable to stand up straight when we left (totally worth it). My boyfriend and I started the slow, painful walk two blocks back to my apartment, and halfway there I remembered that we had planned to stop for ice cream after dinner. Immediately I started trying to convince him to go, just for “something little.” My boyfriend just stopped, and took me in, pleading up at him from my half-bent-over, dough-puffed state, and I think for the first time that night, he saw me as I was—and what he was in for for the next eleven years. He just sighed, and instead of telling me I was crazy and should maybe consider visiting a therapist, he reached down to touch my shoulder and said lightly, “…I really don’t think that’s a good idea.” He eventually convinced me to abandon the ice cream idea, and endured my complaining for the rest of the evening.
I could tell you a hundred more stories involving me stuffing myself to oblivion, gasping for breath, but still reaching out a shaking hand for the taste of one more chicken wing, or the dozens of times my boyfriend and I have been out to dinner and the server mistakenly placed the bigger, fattier meal in front of him. (Such an insult. You don’t know who you’re dealing with, buddy.) I’m also positive that someone with a psychology background is reading this post and clucking to themselves about my obvious issues and need for intervention.
But I don’t care. Food and I are happy together, and I would never want to dull the feelings of pleasure—and accomplishment—of packing away an easy 7,000 calorie meal and saving room for dessert when I am able to let my inner glutton out to play. Eventually I’ll grow older and my metabolism will slow, and perhaps I too will be able to feel a full stomach like a normal person. But for now….. Let’s eat.