My relationship with food: Full of food (part one)

This part is very long, please pardon me. I will split it into two sections and publish the next one tomorrow. As always, dear friends, your comments and life experiences are welcomed, and appreciated. Thank you for letting me share this with you all.

I have already divulged that I was a chubby child, and in those early years genetics played the largest part in my weight-height disagreement. When I entered high school I became more conscious of my weight, but I didn’t really do anything radical about it. As I grew up some of the weight took care of itself, and when I reached my final year of high school before I had my school formal (prom for my across-the-Pacific friends) I started actively trying to lose some weight. I bought a cheap exercise bike from the local newspaper and rode it every night for at least an hour. When I got a stress fracture in my foot I rode on, and I was so happy with myself when I walked into my formal in a backless dress feeling like a movie star.

I started university. I was studying (ironically I suppose) nutrition and dietetics and exercise physiology. I really loved the first few years; I met my best friend Casey, I explored the city I grew up in, I joined a gym with Casey, I explored food and found new tastes that I loved, and I travelled overseas for the first time.

Casey and me in an Empire State of mind

In 2008, Casey and I took our savings and our tastebuds and set off to explore the USA for four wonderful weeks. We were both 21 and neither of us had been overseas before. We saw the sites, we shopped, we sipped, we ate – oh how we ate! I still have memories of the food we discovered on that trip. The grilled chicken panini on Rodeo Drive on the day we saw Zsa Zsa Gabor, the perfect Caprese salad in the dingiest-looking Italian restaurant in San Francisco, the tub of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food that we demolished in one sitting because we didn’t have a freezer, a raspberry and rose macaroon sandwiched wit crème patisserie and fresh raspberries, a bar of Lindt chili chocolate that we doled out square-by-square while we relaxed in the smallest hostel room legal in New York, the caramel pecan ice cream from the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory while we watched twenty couples celebrate their weddings altogether, the molten chocolate lava cake from the Charter House restaurant in Boston, and the perfect fresh peach that dribbled summer juices down my chin while we walked down Broadway.

Me on Rodeo Drive (lady in the red hat is Zsa Zsa Gabor – google her)

A wonderful trip. A life-changing holiday. I didn’t want to come home.

But home we had to come, and along with my suitcase I brought about seven extra kilograms and a nasty case of I-don’t-wanna-be-here-anymore that turned into a mild depression.

The next two years were challenging both personally and academically. I had struggled with my choice of university degree even before I had graduated high school. It seems lovely to think that when all the doors are open to you, and that if you have an interested mind it would be easy to walk right through the perfect one. Not my experience.

Dietetics and exercise physiology always seemed an unlikely fit for a girl who hated sport and was known more for her baking skills and lunch times in the library. Perhaps I chose my major in spite of what people expected me to study, and then I stuck with it out of sheer determination and a stubborn streak a mile wide.

I do not regret those five years. They gave me so much, namely, Casey and the gift of an education that could help people.

But the last two years, those final years of studying and interning, they sucked my soul dry. I had tasted (pardon the pun) the larger world and I felt a growing uncertainty for my career after I had graduated.

Uncertainty over my future, added to extra weight from my holiday that wouldn’t shift, plus the realisation that I’m an adult with decisions to make all added up to a toxic internal environment.

The start of my abuse of food.

(to be continued…)

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