My Struggles with Food

I’m a foodie.

My first memory of food was attempting to lick the vanilla ice cream off a sugar cone. You know what I mean, right? There were the plain cones that tasted like the wafer from Sunday morning mass and the brown sugar cones with the distinct crunch and crisscrossed edges that ended in a defined point. When I was a child, the sugar cones were my favorite.

At the age of five I was attempting to lick, or rather slurp up, the cold white sweetness dripping down my fingers and hand faster than I could swallow it. I didn’t get that far however, as the top scoop rolled off and landed on my feet. I cried, it was replaced, and it rolled off a second and a third time. One could argue I wasn’t very coordinated at my young age or I was too impatient to get the food into my mouth. I’m going with the latter. Did I mention that I love food?

I come from a family who loves to cook. My father’s side is German while my mother’s is Irish and although no one can fault us for being practical with our ingredients, once my great aunt married an Italian, that’s when the trouble started. We thought we loved food then but we were mistaken. My Aunt Nora taught my father how to cook her eight-layered lasagna with thrice ground beef covered in homemade tomato sauce, while she whipped up a batch of anise Italian cookies. To this day, I’ve never tasted better food that was thoughtfully made in our kitchen than anywhere else.

Some might say that my issues with weight stemmed from eating too much or that I developed poor food habits at a young age. I’m going with both. Although my mother tried in vain to get my sister and I to eat our vegetables, I much preferred the side of hot buttered rolls, with real salted butter, not margarine, or steak slathered in barbecue sauce than once-frozen vegetables that had lost their crunch. In fact, I didn’t care much for the tasteless rubbery flavor of anything that had had the life cooked out of it.

As I moved into my teens, I grew into my frame and then exceeded it. Relatives told me I was “big-boned”, which is a polite way for saying, “it’s okay that you’re overweight, because we’re all in the same boat.” Except they weren’t. How is it that genetics can be so unfair? While I laid on the bed to zip up my jeans, my beautifully thin sister zipped up her pants without a blink of an eye.

While my sister enjoyed a quick metabolism, I struggled to maintain mine. Over the decades, I’d yo-yo from a size sixteen to a record high twenty-four and then back down again. Rather than enjoying food, it became my nemesis, and with it my self-esteem plummeted. It would take me moving to South Korea to deal with my weight, and then a second move to Thailand six years later, before I started taking steps in the right direction to improve my health.

As for my self-esteem, I finally learned to love myself in my mid-thirties and now that I am on the brink of a new decade, I can proudly admit that I love who I have become inside and out. I’m hovering at a size eighteen, eat mostly vegetarian (I still love a good piece of homemade lasagna now and again) and make time for yoga and meditation. It has made all the difference in my quality of life.

 

Any grammar and mechanical issues are the responsibility of the author, and even though she’s an English teacher and does proofread, there may be additional edits to be made.

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