Due to some recent health issues, my wife and I have been thinking about what we eat. You may be thinking, well duh, of course you should be thinking about what you eat. What are you? A goat? (I’ve heard that a goat will eat coins and a tin can but I was only nine when I heard this so that may not be a scientific fact). I am specifically talking about the difficulty of eating healthy when we have a grocery store, a Dairy Queen, and a Papa John’s Pizza in the same building we live in. The grocery store has a desert section that is spectacular, and Papa John’s Pizza is, well, pizza. About four years ago when I first witnessed that Dairy Queen had replaced yet another failed Greek restaurant, I ran into our apartment, breathless, and declared to my wife, “Our worst nightmare has become a reality.”
“They’re going to allow children in the building?” she asked.
“Dairy Queen is downstairs.” My eyes were big.
“Oh, shit!” my wife declared.
Oh shit, indeed.
As children in the 1970’s, we had very little processed food, desert was for fancy people, and our parents would regularly lock us out of the house for hours at a time. This was a magical time when parents not only did NOT worship their children but were often not particularly fond of them. So we learned to play outside and parents drank beer out of stubby brown bottles and smoked in relative peace and quiet. And we managed to get through this with almost no PTSD. So weight was never a problem for us.
But once I hit 40, things began to change. Fat began to gather in my belly. At first I was in denial, accusing people of tampering with the top button of my pants. I would declare angrily to whoever I thought was responsible for this monkey business, “I know you have adjusted the button on my jeans, making the waist smaller. I’m on to you. Oh yes I am.” All the while grunting and straining to . . . do . . . this . . . fucking . . . button . . . up. Sonofabitch! Who is fucking with my pants! No one, that’s who–I was getting fat. But just in one small area. Just my stomach. Not one ounce of weight is distributed anywhere else. Even my trainer had commented on how strange my physique looked, being hard and defined everywhere else while having a small, protruding belly. It does go away but it takes a lot of old-fashioned cardio and refraining from shoveling pie into my pie hole.
My drug of choice isn’t pie, although I have been known, on a good day, and if the wind is favourable, to destroy a whole pie in one day. My real problem is chocolate. I LOVE chocolate bars. And I don’t eat them. I attack them. I stuff them into my mouth like they are the antidote to a poison I just consumed. I can only imagine how disturbing it is to watch a grown man stuff his face like a feral famine victim, almost to the point of choking, with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats, and Mars Bars. I crave these things and I cannot have just one. I can never have just one.
For my wife it is chips and pop. But, because her brain is more or less fully evolved, she consumes like a well mannered adult. We regularly lament the convenience of having so much that is bad for us so available. Even the group home where I work now has a Mac’s convenience store right across the street. For years is was an empty field but boom times bring development and with it, commercial delivery systems of delicious treats.
Ultimately, what I put into my mouth is up to me. I am solely responsible for what I eat but the junk, and fast food, industry are doing all they can to trigger cravings through the alchemy of sugar, salt, and, fat. And the building I live in also has a fantastic gym and a pool. I use the gym. If I didn’t I’d likely look about 7 months pregnant and I’d have to kill the first wiseacre who cracked, “When is the baby due?’ Either that or run away crying. So, even though my wife and I are not overweight, we do recognize that the party is over. We cannot indulge to our hearts’ content, watching “My 500-Pound Life” in order to say, “Well, see, I’m not that poor bastard.” The cravings will go away. Our bodies will thank us. So suck it, shame spiral. SUCK IT!