The Relationship

Mel 7

Mel 9

Mel 21



I’ve been overweight for the past 13 years. Of course my weight did the obligatory yo-yoing, but I haven’t been within a healthy weight range since the Clinton administration.  Literally.  I never had a real weight struggle, and I thought that with time, the weight would just melt off.  It didn’t. Gaining weight didn’t really have an impact on my family, social or dating life, so losing weight didn’t seem like an imperative to me.  I’m not diabetic.  My blood pressure is slightly below normal.  My knees are a little worse for wear, but that was going to happen at 35 anyway, right?

Except, this New Year’s Eve, I spent twice as long in the mall than I should have, and spent twice as much as a thinner woman might have.  And if that weren’t enough, my relationship with food is not normal.  I’m from the South, arguably from a food Mecca, so a good meal borders on artistic expression.  It’s how we show love and give comfort.  That’s not new to me.  I always enjoyed pastries and good meals.  Just now, it seems to be more of a compulsion.

I want to go back. My relationship with food has to change.  I’d like my relationship with food to NOT be dramatically referred to as “my relationship with food.”  I think the way we gain weight is a disorder, but the obsession that this country has with losing weight is equally dysfunctional.  Because it has so little to do with the actual losing of weight, and EVERYTHING to do with how the people surrounding you perceive you and how you perceive yourself.

If you look at daytime television, particularly channels geared toward women, it’s commercial after commercial for diets, “lifestyle changes,” diet products and anything else you can think of, and it’s slightly overkill.  How do we find a happy medium, where food does not have to be the difference between victory or defeat?  Have we gone so far, that we can’t just see how normal it is to enjoy a good meal, then stop after we have enjoyed a normal sized portion?

Year after year, I’ve come up with a plan of attack on my weight, and year after year, I’ve watched myself get larger and larger.  I talk myself right into failure sometimes.  “Well, I want to be smaller, but not AS small as I was.”  It leads to me not pushing myself, and falling deeper into this dysfunctional relationship I have with my dinner plate.

So I’m trying a new strategy, where I begin to incorporate meals as normal parts of my day, rather than the parts of my day that I live for, then regret 20 minutes later.  I’m also exploring what activities I should take up that I can enjoy without relying on the gym. When I was younger, though I did spend time at the gym, I also had a lot of activities that didn’t involve going to the gym at all.  Simply put, I want my life back. And I’m gonna get it too.


2 responses to “The Relationship

  1. Man I feel you, Mel. I look at old pics of me and remember being that dude, but don’t remember how I got to where I am. My sedintary jobs have killed my waistline, and my health is starting to reflect it. I MUST lose some of this weight if I still wanna be around for my little man. I’m letting that be my motivation.

  2. I think your approach is a good one. We have to eat to live, not live to eat as they say. I still struggle psychologically with this “relationship to food”. I still feel the emotional tugging that makes me wanna grab some good grub, whether I’m happy or I’m sad or I’m celebratory or I’m indignant. My connection to food is intertwined like DNA strands. When I recognized that I needed more than just good old fashioned will power (as fat ppl are often shamed about not having), I made some drastic moves to get the help I needed. What works for me won’t work for everyone, but I had to stop thinking that one singular approach would somehow make me some super hero goddess woman. F that. I’m not here to put on a show for the masses abt how I “did it on my own” and therefor I’m more special than others. I tried that. For years. I had to own up to my limitations and realize that I could NOT do it the “traditional” way.

    Get it how you can because you don’t wanna die. And that is the bottom line. None of us wants to die. In our 30s, were setting the tone for the rest of our lives and if we don’t get it together now, we’re going to struggle even more later. My relationship with food is still evolving. My fitness level is the one I’m most proud of. I’ve gotten very heavily into being physically active and it has turned out to be the best part of my day. Moving my body, working up a sweat, and having fun are all I need these days.

    Kudos to you for reflecting on “the relationship” and taking a sane approach to making the changes you need to make to improve yourself.

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