12/03/2013 12:43 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2014

Our Relationship With Food

There's something about airplane food that seems more appealing than appalling to me -- maybe it's the cafeteria-like compartmentalization. Or its similarity to a bento box, a smaller version of a buffet line or Thanksgiving potluck. On a recent flight overseas, I wasn't hungry but took another bite of the cheesy gooeyness that was some sort of breakfast thing. If there were a mile-high fattie club, I could be a gold member.

We all fluctuate with our weight. Sometimes, it leads to stretch marks. But often, when you're consumed with your thoughts and feelings, you stop counting calories and minutes. So when is eating food just a necessary bodily function, and when does it represent something else -- comfort, excess, depression, control?

In the fourth grade, I weighed over 100 pounds. I remember playing hide-and-seek at a birthday party and decided to stop by the bathroom when I stepped myself onto a scale of shock. Then I grew taller, and wider again. When my mom would tell my teen self to stop eating so much, I would run to my neighbors house for bananas (literally) in rebellion. I still relish memories of all the 7-Eleven hot dogs for breakfasts, Sara Lee cheesecakes with my brother after-school and Burger King's fries before volleyball matches. Nothing like growing up with American fast food and pre-gaming a spike with ketchup.

On the flip side, I dropped a quick 20 pounds after my heart was broken for the first time in college. The dreaded "Freshman 15" was deeply negated by a cold winter in Philadelphia. It took a while to build an appetite again.

And in my single life, I have had to train myself not to look at every guy like a morsel of meat, or a piece of cake. Instead, on my own I've grown a sugar addiction.

During the holidays, we pile on the pounds at group gatherings and Christmas parties. We feel the love in the air as much as the growing merriness on our love handles.

My dad recently remarked to me: "Don't eat it all." Having listened to a grandmother who told me I shouldn't leave a single kernel of rice in the bowl, I'm realizing It's OK to take leftovers; it's just as fine not to take anything home.

Food is more formative in our memories than we think. We just have to learn when to stop chomping at the bit, and when to let go and enjoy -- not to give it too much meaning, but in any case, take a more balanced yet relaxed approach to eating.