I thought I could control myself, but I couldn’t. I thought that this was behind me, but I was wrong.
I think about you all the time. You occupy my mind all hours of the day. When I’m at the park with Ellie, I think about how we can be together. When I’m driving, you dictate which route I take so I can see you. I wonder if anyone can tell. Can they see my wandering eyes? Do they notice our unspoken bond? Did I get rid of the evidence in time? I yearn to be with you. I ache for you. Actually my stomach aches. Yes, you guessed it. I’m having an affair, a food affair.
This is not my first food affair. I had one last fall and I really thought I worked through it. I thought I was strong enough to say: “No, enough is enough! I don’t need you!” But I wasn’t. It turns out I am weak. Extremely weak.
It seems different people react differently under stress. Some smoke, some drink. Some don’t eat, and some eat. Well, I eat. And I eat bad things. It’s like a big secret. I eat a simple healthy breakfast, and I cook a healthy meal for dinner. But sometime between breakfast and dinner, I can’t always account for what happens. The stress of raising a toddler can get to me, break me down and make me give in to the devil on my shoulder. “Do it,” he whispers into my ear.
It all started after we had our garage sale. I never carry cash. But after our garage sale, we had a shoebox that was like an ATM! If I was going to go for a walk, take Ellie to swim class or going out for any other reason, I’d grab a dollar or two. And most often I’d spend it, on food. Junk food. I bless and curse the invention of the fast food dollar menu. Ellie’s swim class was very stressful for me, so sometimes I’d stop and get donuts on the way home. And if I was ever out and about in the morning and near a McDonald’s, watch out. Here I come breakfast dollar menu. Those breakfast sandwiches are a major weakness for me. They remind me of being on vacation as a kid, and lately I’ve been dreaming of going on vacation. Eh, actually, I’m lying. I just love them. Do I need a reason?
That garage sale we had was at the beginning of May, and it’s almost the middle of July now. That’s a long time, and now my ATM has run dry. But I still have a credit card. It’s amazing, and horrible, that you can charge a dollar at fast food places.
At the end of every week, I always say, “Next week, I’ll be better next week.” And then next week comes and for some reason I justify my food lust. The other day at the grocery store, they had those Little Debbie snack cakes on sale, three boxes for $5.Three boxes? $5?! To be honest, I don’t even know if that’s a good deal, but I went for it, and here was my justification. My brother loves those cakes, too, and it was his birthday. I could get three boxes on sale and give him two and keep one for me. I mean, give him one and keep two for me. Two? One? Two? One? One, he’ll get one. I opened one of the boxes and ate two cakes on the way home. I live five minutes away. I’m so weak.
If I go to a party, the first thing I notice is the food. I went to a wedding party recently for a friend I hadn’t seen since 1998. When Ellie and I walked out on the back deck, the first thing I noticed was a plate of cookies. Cookies! But oh yeah, friends. Yeah, good to see you, too.
Recently, we were at a kid’s birthday party and we were offered chocolate dipped rice crispy treats. Whoa, chocolate dipped. I didn’t want to come off as desperate though, so I passed. But when no one was looking, I gobbled one up before we went back outside. Nobody had to know. Then we had to leave before they served the cake. Really? We have to leave? Now? I wasn’t so much concerned that we wouldn’t get to see the little tyke open the gift we got her. I was bummed I wouldn’t get to eat cake. Luckily, we saw the same friends a day later and were offered leftovers. Yes!
The other thing I can’t be trusted with is peanut butter. A jar of peanut butter doesn’t last long in my house. I love it on bread or crackers or dipping chocolate candy bars in it. I’ve tried rationing it by not having anything on hand to spread it on, but I end up getting a spoon and eating it right out of the jar like a bear. PEANUT BUTTER! I put a ban on peanut butter in the house to try to be strong. But every time I go grocery shopping, I go down that aisle and stare at it. Do I? Yes, no, yes, no. I’m waiting for the jar to talk to me. “Take me, please! We need each other.”
The whole thing about having a food affair is making it seem like I’m not having one. Going grocery shopping is a perfect place to try to sneak in those forbidden items. One donut in a major shopping trip can get lost in the mix without anyone noticing. I can stare at the baked goods without judgment. So if you see me at the grocery store and you think I’m gawking and drooling over you, get over yourself. It’s not you. It’s the half-off baked goods behind you.
So, to my wife, I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sorry you had to find out this way. How about I take you out for ice cream to make it up to you? Mmmm, ice cream.