Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chips & Drink, the perfect unbalanced meal

One of the combos that drove me toward a diet – and that I most miss, being on a diet – is having chips (pita chips, sesame sticks, anything starchy and salty) and wine for dinner. I never quench my hunger or thirst with this combo and I keep wanting more. That’s mostly in the past tense…mostly. Tonight I have had 2 (make it 3, 4) almonds, 6 (6-plus) pieces of turkey pepperoni…and “some” wine” so far. (And I still might eat a real dinner. You never know.)

In an earlier cycle of overdrinking and being overweight, 2006 version, my favorite chips were one of those snack mixes – wheat Sun Chips, little cheesy bits, I forget what else. Back then Miller Lite was my beverage. Slurp, snack, repeated a million times…again, never got full, finally got drunk, definitely got bloated from the salt. When I realized in 06 that my blood pressure was up, I stopped buying that kind of snack mix.

(That was a funny end of paragraph above, but true. I did some other good things, but not great things to improve my lifestyle. I am still on blood pressure meds. There wasn’t a nice long PS to “stopped buying that kind of snack mix.” The stopping of the buying of that particular poison was pretty much a standalone thing.)

Yes, I have had chips since – and after the beer years, the wine years came – and that food & drink combo still sounds so good when I get home from work. Is it the self-indulgence, the naughtiness? Maybe just the salt…maybe whatever feel-good chemicals come from giving into a food addiction. Or obsession, compulsion…what’s more acceptable to say, what’s more realistic. I usually say addiction because it feels right – self-critical, but right. Not very compassionate, but I don’t waste my best compassion on myself, haha.

Can I for the rest of my life blame my junk food love on my deprived childhood? And some definitions are needed – I don’t love all junk food, but the kinds I do get a deep and guilty love – something that feels illicit, almost sexual? (Maybe for a Libra food is the sexiest thing, at least consciously – LOL – we Libras have deep layers.) My childhood wasn’t deprived of food by any means – we always had plenty to eat and the cookie jar was full of homemade stuff. And we also got certain junk food items, like Oreos, Hershey bars, greasy hamburgers – for special occasions. (Mother added the cheese at home, why pay an extra 10 cents…you know there is a novella in there somewhere!) Now, what kind of message does that send, processed food being a treat!

Well, I know the message it sent me…I am a special person and I want every day to be special. (I think we know where that kind of thinking leads. Serial killers would be one end of that spectrum...)

My first real paycheck was from a summer job when I was 17. My stepmom suggested I write down everything I spent it on. In a new spiral notebook, I wrote down 3 magazines, 2 candy bars…looked at the page and thought, Uh no, this documentation thing is not for me.

And I am still paycheck-to-paycheck in 2010, still prefer to forget everything I just spent money on.

Around that same teen age, I discovered a prehistoric version of what became today’s Chips & Wine. I would get an order of fries from the Tomball Sonic, with a medium or large Coke. (I don’t think Diet Coke had even been invented yet…but I wouldn’t have ordered that because this wasn’t really a diet meal.) My theory was that since I was not getting a hamburger or hot dog, I was cutting calories. I remember feeling virtuous as I ate! I thought this combo was an advanced version of the tip my older cousin (and guru in all womanly things including the art of the diet) had said years before, “You don’t have to eat all the Thanksgiving dishes – just focus on the ones you really like.” Eureka! So I could have just dressing, beans, mashed potatoes and 2 kinds of pie at Thanksgiving. (No turkey, cranberries, salad, sweet potatoes – belatedly I see I was skipping the healthy parts. Oh well!) And at the Sonic I could have fries and a soda.

My eating life has had cycles of binging and cycles of dieting, and French fries have been woven into all of the above. I remember baking frozen French fries on a little pan and tearing dainty pieces of one slice of cheese to anoint the fries. Someone else in the room with me (some stupid man, a family friend circa the 1970s) said, You can’t eat that on a diet. He was wrong! I knew exactly how many calories I was preparing, and it wasn’t many. (And it wasn’t filling. And it didn’t have vitamins. But I was young so my body manufactured vitamins out of the humid Tomball air.)

Here I am, out of Tomball but still in the state of Texas, summer 2010. Still craving the wrong foods. Still spending my paycheck on the wrong foods! Just another cog in the state’s economic machine, I guess.

Actually, I don't feel quite so freakish during State Fair time of year...chocolate covered bacon, Krispy Kreme cheeseburgers...those and more nasty recipes are part of this year's pre-Fair hype. Why, I am relatively mainstream in my appetites!


Showing up for the Muse said...

I am a secret french fry and potato chip junkie... for a while I made "ransom" notes saying "tempted" with the remains of my empty cartons and bags... the crime scene of sorts.
And you just reminded me- TOMORROW I will finally join the gym. Unless I actually do pick up the weights laying about the bedroom floor threatening to jam my toes upon passing!

SarahBowie said...

When we had the foster puppy, he got hold of my arm weights - I like to pretend they were 5 pounders but really they were 2.5 pounds. He lovingly chewed so much plastic coating off one that the sand inside started pouring out. Who would have thought that was in there, or that a puppy would want to get at it. My limited workouts didn't seem worth spending more money on "5 pound" weights so I just wrapped up the ripped one in a plastic bag. It works for my 20 reps, LOL.