An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

In The Mood for Food

Over the weekend Jon and I attended a relatively small barbecue at a friend’s house with about 12 other adults and as many children. Right before we ate all the children walked around to the adults and handed out handwritten food and drink menus:

The spieshl stek was indeed very spieshl, and although I’ve been known to pound my fair share of liquor (and everyone else’s share), we took it pretty easy on the acahol.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take it very easy on the honeydew melon or the cantaloupe. I have a problem with melon, one that makes it impossible for me to stop eating it once I’ve begun. And I think melon itself is a nuisance because it’s so damn sneaky: you don’t realize just how much melon you’ve consumed until you suddenly realize that you’re 20 months pregnant with a cantaloupe baby.

The problem started my sophomore year in college while I was adhering to one of those monumentally unhealthy low-fat diets. I’d eat a small bowl of cereal in the morning, followed by cereal at lunch and cereal at dinner. Occasionally I ate baked Lays potato chips, because those were so flavorful and full of vitamins, obviously, but I never ate fruit because I’d heard HORROR stories about the calorie content of a single banana. I was afraid that I’d eat an apple and wake up the next morning with an apple-sized nodule of fat on my thighs.

I know now that I was being completely insane, but at the time I was horrified of gaining weight, and I think many women at that age experience some of the same fears. I’m not ashamed to admit that between the ages of 16 and 22 I had a crippling and dysfunctional relationship with food, and that because of that relationship I will never be able to look at food like a normal person.

Perhaps there is no normal way to look at food, and when I say normal I mean the way my father wanted me to look at food when I approached him in 1992 and said I desperately needed help because I was starving myself on a regular basis. He didn’t know what to say to me, or how to help me, and the last thing he wanted was a member of his own family seeing a therapist, how scandalous! So he sat me down and said, “It’s really easy, Heather. When you’re hungry, you eat. When you’re not hungry, you don’t eat.” That’s great advice to a four year old, perhaps, but to a teenager who was starving herself as a means to control something it was like telling a diabetic that they’d get better if their body would just produce more insulin already.

I hadn’t been able to eat when I was hungry for years, not because I had a weight problem but because I felt that everything else in my life was completely chaotic. The anorexia slowly turned into bulimia slowly turned into excessive exercising slowly turned into a somewhat functioning ability to eat like a normal person but being completely obsessed with it. Trying to maintain a 3.9 grade point average in college to keep my scholarship only exacerbated the obsession, and I lived for years in a cage of thought about what I was or was not going to eat next.

During the cereal marathon of my sophomore year one of my roommates read in a women’s magazine that you could eat as much melon as you wanted without gaining weight because it was made up entirely of water. I’d had it with the Wheaties, and one afternoon I bought a honeydew melon and a cantaloupe and ate both in less than 15 minutes. What the article failed to mention, however, was that eating anything more than a SANE amount of melon would cause your entire body to bloat so quickly and to such dangerous proportions that you might pop and explode like a thundering green and orange geyser.

I have a much healthier relationship with food now, due mainly to the fact that I have a much healthier relationship with myself. It’s just, sometimes I can get carried away with the melon. And the chocolate pudding. And the bologna. And, ohmigod, the Doritos. And the Bubblegum Jones Soda. And did I mention the bologna?

  • that was ballsy of you to write that…glad you’re better.
    as for the dog hair in the kitchen in the last post – all i have to say is: swiffer!

  • shy

    i wish i could eat canteloupe. allergic to it though… dooce, i envy you.

  • i have that ‘cant stop’ problem with popcorn. i eat some, loudly proclaim i am done eating the popcorn then ten minutes later realise i am still indeed eating the popcorn, totally unaware of it.

    fucking popcorn!

  • I had to read that line about eating babies with my eyeballs open about 5 times.

    I know how you feel with the stress of everything like the GPA and whatnot. I’m going through it now.

  • My wife eats ketchup on everything. Eggs, Mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches. Don’t think that she’s eaten it on avacados though.

    She also puts peanut butter on pancakes and waffles.

  • david – nay! the perfect bologna sandwich = (non-veggie) 2 slices bologna, two slices potato bread (OR thick hearty white pepperidge farm) a dollop of mayonaise, one slice kraft american (or one slice provolone), one dollop super strength mustard (with the lil seeds in it).
    (for veggies)all the same except exchange mayonaise for veganaise, bologna for fake bologna and cheese for nothing because again, there is no replacing cheese. this is a NO PICKLE recipe.

  • “before we ate all the children…” –Dooce

  • tura

    “Over the weekend Jon and I attended a relatively small barbecue at a friend’s house with about 12 other adults and as many children. RIGHT BEFORE WE ATE ALL THE CHILDREN walked around to the adults and handed out handwritten food and drink menus:”
    punctuation is a beautiful thing.

  • QueenCleo

    It is a good thing that you have a healty relationship with food now. I personally have believe that the more you think about food the crazier you get.

    Enjoy food always!!!

  • i think about food once every minute. it’s a bad bad bad thing.

  • Shlee

    I sympathize with your melon ordeal. Does anyone else get migraines from Honeydew? I’ve renamed it death melon, and refuse to acknowledge it when I walk past the produce section. Glad to know I’m not the only one with melon “issues”.

  • britt

    Can’t do melons…my first and last bite of watermelon made me vomit at the age of 7. Perhaps because prior to trying said watermelon, I ate half a batch of the “adult brownies”. Nope, can’t do melon, ever. Can’t do the pot brownies either.
    Eating issues….yep, college boyfriend of 3 years broke up with me. For the next 2-3 months the most I ate at one sitting was 2 plain spaghetti strands, half of an orange-just kinda slurping the juice out of it, and water. So I just withered away….and away….and away. Eventually recovered body weight and health and took my head out of my ass. But, put it right back in by eating a few brownies.

  • Dawn

    food….ah, such a love-hate relationship. i yearn for the day when i can just eat a meal to satisfy my hunger. instead i eat a reasonably healthy meal and feel like so much less of a person than I did just an hour before. it’s truly sad, but thanks for saying what i feel everyday…

  • the “when you’re hungry you eat, and when you’re not, you don’t” is exactly how Ray Charles “stays in shape” for touring… i heard it on a radio interview circa 1992. it must be true. the hard part is determining if it’s your stomach that gets hungry, or your mouth.

    p.s. onion was spelled union when i was a kid.

  • Danika

    “antisocial diva
    when you said, “I lived for years in a cage of thought about what I was or was not going to eat next.” well, that’s totally where i am right now.”

    Me too…

  • And boooooze.

  • I lost 75lbs last year. I weighed 220lbs not because of an eating disorder, but because I was depressed. Maybe that is an eating disorder. I ate to ease my pain. In in any case, once I realized that I was fat, and once I realized why, losing weight was rather easy. I ate when I was hungry, and I only ate enough to relieve the hunger. And I wouldn’t buy more food than I needed, so I wouldn’t eat more than I needed. I only took in about 1,000 calories a day. I wish I could understand your perspective, but I have never wanted to starve myself. I love food too much. But nonetheless, you have triumphed, and you should be very proud of yourself. Congratulations.

  • And oh yeah… those menus are too damn cute. Acahol. Ahh… kids are awesome.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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