Like millions of you out there I have a serious love/hate relationship with a certain four letter "F" word.
Food has been my best friend, my boyfriend and my enemy since... like... birth.
I started drinking milkshakes from the soda fountain at Woolworth's at 3-months-old and it's been a battle ever since.
Too many milkshakes among other delectables unfortunately led to a lifelong fight with food.
I was never the girl who had a "fast metabolism" and could eat whatever I wanted -- my friend Susie could eat a bag of Cheetos for breakfast, cheeseburgers for lunch and half a pizza for dinner while snacking constantly throughout the day and stay thin as a rail. People would marvel, "Where does she put it all?" "She must have a hollow leg!" "Let her eat, she's a growing girl!"
I had to listen to all this while Susie ate her Good Humor Toasted Almond Bar as I sat next to her eating my miserable cup of "ice milk." Blech. Ice milk.
Another strike against me growing up was my complete and total lack of athleticism. I liked to attend Yankee games with my aunt because she bought me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. My dad coached a softball team and convinced me to try it out. I was good at standing in waaaay out in the outfield, looking around aimlessly, and I was really good at sneaking bites of my Reggie candy bar that I had tucked in my knee high sock. I needed energy, to stand there looking around, right? One-two-three strikes you're out at the old ball gaaaaame.
I also was and never will be the girl who "was so busy I forgot to eat." Who IS that girl? Here's how my brain operates: I will forget how old I am, what I did last night, how long I've been married, and what my children weighed when they were born but I will never, ever forget to eat my lunch -- that I can guarantee.
Many a diet has come into my life from the age of 7 (yes, seven) to 40-something. MANY.
Below are a few of the more ridiculous ones that will be ingrained in my head for eternity, each so healthy and nutritiously sound in their own way...you gotta wonder why they didn't work out for me.
Lose 10 Pounds in Three Days.
Why wouldn't I try this? I mean, the name of the diet says it all. Ten pounds? Three days? SOLD.
I did this diet several times growing up along with my mother and it almost ruined hot dogs for me. Mom kept the diet in a manila folder on a legal-sized sheet of paper. She used her secretarial skills to type it out, all professional-like. When I would put on a few pounds, I would see the sheet of paper sitting out on the kitchen counter, and I knew I better get all the Mr. Salty pretzel sticks in me that I could -- and fast -- because here is what the next three days had in store for me:
I choked down beets, wondered why I wasn't allowed to mix in any mayo with my tuna, and packed that measuring cup as full as I could get it with vanilla ice cream, pressing the metal spoon down hard into the metal measuring cup so I could get the most bang for my buck. My stomach growled at night as I lay in bed -- angry and hungry. What is this, like 500 calories a day? Good Lord.
Let's start by saying that the name of this diet was not the big selling point. Was it a diet? Some form of plant life? A furry, cute mammal? Who would know what this was?
There was a Med-Nutra Centre (That's Centre with "re" -- all European-like) in a strip mall next to a Kentucky Fried Chicken where I liked to stock up on those "Chicken Little" sandwiches. Remember those? They were like two-bites, all little with creamy mayo and one pickle slice?
Anyway... the Med-Nutra diet consisted of shakes for breakfast, pudding for lunch, and a sensible dinner. I would "doctor up" the shakes with a spoonful of peanut butter and a banana (at least I got a whole banana this time; not half like in the last diet.) But there was no doctoring up that pudding-lunch.
Dry, gritty, medicinal tasting, blech -- I choked down my lunch as quickly as I could. Wouldn't a salad have been better? This picture was taken after I hit my goal weight -- I think I wore this bathing suit like twice but I was all fired up to wear a two-piece like all of my girlfriends to the beach in Florida. But those Chicken Littles came a callin' and then, well, you know the rest of the story.
My Oprah Winfrey "Little Red Wagon Full of Fat" moment. Except I am standing in front of a lit fireplace in Tampa, FL. I think ten minutes after this photo was taken, the weight was back on.
Hello, 1-800-Jenny? Hi, yeah, my name is Lori and I am getting married in two months. Listen, I need to do two things fast -- drop a ton of weight and drop a ton of money. You can help me? GREAT!
My Jenny Craig consultant, whose name also happened to be Jenny ("No, I'm not that Jenny, isn't that a funny coincidence?!?) was baffled by me. After I lost all my weight and got thin I told her she better enjoy it now, because post-wedding it was probably coming back, baby.
After the wedding, as predicted, well, you know. It was like I had been let out of prison on my honeymoon. Chinese food -- I've missed you so! Pasta, I'm sorry I've neglected you. And cookie dough, how can I find the words?
And I still wore a girdle under this. Mid-reception it was ripped off and thrown somewhere. Never saw it again.
Today I'm happy to report that I am currently not on any sort of a diet. I eat a ton of fruit, try and squeeze in veggies, and as much as I loathe it I do exercise a few times a week. But I'm not as fanatical about the whole thing as I used to be. If I want cake, I eat cake. I eat ice cream instead of ice milk dammit, and I love it.
I did pull out that old "Lose Ten Pounds in Three Days" diet a few months back and seriously considered it. An easy, quick, albeit temporary fix. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't risk losing my love of hot dogs again.
It's summer, after all.
Lori's website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5-year-old draws the music hits of the 1980's. A version of this post originally appeared on Lori's blog, Once Upon a Product, where she writes about important things like food, beauty products and Mick Jagger.
Follow Lori Ferraro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Drawntothe80s