For some reason, the posts where I detail my dietary digressions or explain the embarrassing seem to stimulate the most feedback. Fast Food Slaytons and Potty Talk are 2 of these posts. In fact, after reading Potty Talk, a friend at a cocktail party said to me “I think of you every day you know” wink wink. And so something happened Monday night that I could easily overlook but after writing about Maca and green juices I feel I have to paint a full picture and get off my “healthy horse”.
I don’t write much about my family here and definitely not too much about my mother. When I talk about what I do for a living , my mother is still confused that people pay to talk about their food and weight loss. So while she doesn’t come up, you’ll need a little background information to set the scene here. My mother and I have always been close. She’s always been solid and straddled that line between being relaxed (no bedtimes or curfews growing up) and still parental (nobody gives better advice). Last June, my mother became a widow as my dad passed away after a long illness. We worried about my mother tremendously. We were of course grieving too but had our families to turn to. My mother was alone…but not for long.
In the fall my mother met someone at a photography class she enrolled in. Watching a parent date was new territory but we welcomed it and joked about it, that is, until it got serious. Suddenly my mother was cancelling plans with grandchildren, constantly checking her phone and texting her new beau. Roles radically reversed as I held my ears from TMI and declarations of love. As my sister Diana put it “nobody wants to hear about 71 year old sex!” While I joke, this has been difficult and my mom and I have drifted. We communicate via email and through my nanny most of the time. Monday night, at work, I got a call from my nanny that my mother was over. She was taking my boys out to dinner and sleeping over (cocktail please). After doing as much paperwork as I could justify, I left the office at 8pm.
I walked in to the apartment. My mother sat in the living room. My 6 year old was playing piano for her and she had a huge grin on her face. She told me they had been at Five Napkin Burger, that the boys were so easy, they ate so well and are so smart and handsome and loving and…anything else she could in an effort to butter me up. I was more in the mood to be bitter than buttered and excused myself to cook dinner in the kitchen. “Oh and Weston didn’t finish his onion rings so I brought them home, they’re on the counter.”
I feel we all have our food weaknesses. You can dangle a doughnut in front of my lips and I’m not tempted. I don’t have the urge to taste the cake at birthdays and if I never have a gummy anything for the rest of my life, I’ll survive. I like fried foods. I said it. My name is Lauren, I’m a nutritionist and I like, OK LOVE, fried foods. I like fried calamari and French fries, fried artichokes and fried clams. My son Myles covers his French Fries because though I may order the salad, I tend to sneak a few fries. I even have a no fries for July rule in place because fries, even 3, and bathing suits don’t go well together.
Back to Monday, I headed into the kitchen to make my shrimp stir fry and the cardboard box of onion rings said “hello Lauren.” I looked at the box and opened it. Two gargantuan onion rings sat overlapping, like Olympic rings. I didn’t think I should close the box and make my dinner, I didn’t think to cut off a small piece or any of the other mindful, nutritionisty things I normally would have. I didn’t think at all. I picked up ring #1 and ate it. I wasn’t thinking but if I was I would have noted that it was cold, semi-hard and not that tasty. After all, the woman who taught me “if it’s not delicious don’t eat it” was sitting on my couch probably sexting her boyfriend. I ate all of ring #1 while carefully measuring a tablespoon of expeller pressed canola oil for the stir fry. And as my shrimp sizzled, I returned to the kitchen island and the box. It occurred to me that I didn’t really want the other ring, I somehow remembered the first one not being all that great and with that picked up ring #2 and ate it anyway. So they were gone and not worth it and consumed in semi-violation of my no fry in July rule.
I could say my onion ring eating was because I was hungry and it was 8:30pm, I could say it was because they were sitting on my counter talking to me, I could do what I’ve never had reason to do and blame my mother but I will not make any onion ring excuses. I ate them and still had my mother in my living room. And so I did, what I tell clients to do (after having done exactly the opposite) and made the next meal on track. I enjoyed the shrimp stir fry and tucked my mother into the bottom bunk bed and went to sleep.
Do you like fried foods, what’s your food vice? Have you ever emotionally eaten and been completely aware of it? Do the 2 rings violate my no fry in July rule? Are your parents dating?
I think that part of why these kinds of posts kick up responses is that it's a relief to hear someone as beautiful and slim and together as you has the same reactions the rest of us do sometimes!
I can definitely identify with everything you wrote here (except the parents dating thing, mine are both with us and together and yuck/yay still having sex!) Emotional/mindless eating is something so many of us can relate to. And no, it doesn't solve the problem we're trying to 'eat away' but it distracts from it and that's probably why we do it.
Glad to hear what you do after you make that step into onion ring land. It will serve as a reminder to me next time!
Hi, my name is also Lauren and I LOVE cake — particularly birthday party cake. And with two young children, it's pretty much a temptation year round. I can't wait for them to be old enough for drop off parties!
My food vices are fried and cheese. Strangely, I don't like fried cheese.
For a long time, I thought that emotions were the primary reason to eat. This is has been a huge and ongoing issue in my life. When I'm out of control, which is thankfully rare now, I'm completely aware of why and what I'm doing, I just can't stop. Fortunately those moments are few and far between now, but it's a fight.
You recommended the book Women, Food and God. Would you recommend it to someone who isn't into God?
Finally, the "parent in major life change" thing is so challenging and confusing for me. Our dads passed away around the same time last year. My mom is no where close to dating, but she's applying for the Peace Corp and other overseas volunteer groups. Completely unexpected. Your post reminds me of this horrible situation I had with my mom a few months ago. We were on a long car ride together, and I asked mom if she's ever consider dating. She said, "I'd consider dating, but the man will have to understand that I'm not going to put out." And then she went on about her past and potential sex life for about an hour. I promise you that a large pizza was used later to deal with that trauma. If memory serves, it was a veggie pie at least.