If I were to suddenly find myself in a boxing ring with a big, juicy package of original flavor Skittles, I know the Skittles would win. There I'd be, with my back flat on the mat after having been bounced off the ropes into a karate chop to the neck and a Stooge-like jab to the eyes, punch to the gut and box to the ears.
My complete submission to all things sweet, creamy, nutty, salty, greasy, chocolaty, chunky, milky, gooey, chewy and fruity (in a number 2 red, fruit flavor kind of way) has been going on for a long time. It's a wonder I never got pregnant. But all my bingeing on candies, cookies, cakes, chips, pizza, french fries and other wonders of the unnatural world has come to an end in an effort to lose weight so I can look like the women in those magazines who do nothing but sit on the beach with their flawless hair, makeup and complexions in their designer clothing with their GQ-worthy men while sipping their Veuve Clicquot Brut Carte Jaune. They are wonderfully, endlessly, rapturously in love, and they are wonderfully, endlessly, rapturously - almost painfully - loved back.
Life is good for the thin and rich. If I can't be rich, I might as well be 15 pounds thinner.
My addiction to food that expands waistlines when greedily ingested can be traced to a rebellion against my militaristic upbringing that included strict rules where food was concerned. Every day, the same routine. Breakfast: none. Lunch: cafeteria food. Afternoon snack: apple. Dinner: 6:30 p.m., one meat, two veggies, milk or water. Nighttime snack: 9 p.m., two scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup. Soda or other sugary beverages: never. Candy, cakes, cookies and other pastries or assorted junk food: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I'm not completely whining about the rules. After all, my diet back then is undoubtedly what made me grow into the strikingly bodacious 5-foot-9 beast I am today who has unbreakable bones, healthy teeth and a hearty constitution and immune system. I never get sick, and I'm sure my eating habits as a child have something to do with it.
But as my teen years crept closer, I started hanging out more and more at the homes of friends, fantasy lands containing cupboards stuffed with Nutty Buddies, Swiss Cake Rolls, big soft chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, sweet and chewy fruit snacks and individual cups of smooth and creamy pudding - in chocolate and vanilla! Jill had the best goods, and she became my best friend. Months later, her parents figured out who had been eating all the damn snacks, and I wasn't invited over nearly as often anymore. Lacking money, I began to steal.
Local convenience store. Girl, age 11 or 12, enters. She is thin and sweaty and dressed in grungy shorts, a striped sleeveless top and flip flops. She is wearing thick glasses. Her long dishwater brown hair is pulled back in a ponytail with the kind of rubber band that snags and stings when snapped against one's leg. She is carrying a purse with a broken zipper and is walking up and down the aisles in search of prey. She finds it in the form of Kit Kats and Rolos and grabs a handful of each, at least 10 candy bars in all, and stuffs them in the purse. She disappears, laughing and tingly all over at the thought of spreading her loot out around her and gorging until her stomach hurts.
I became a thief to procure my drug of choice and quit stealing Astropops, Sweet Tarts, Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, 3 Muskateers, Laffy Taffys, Gummi Bears, Fig Newtons, Sprees, Necco Wafers and other assorted goodies only after I was caught and banned from the store.
On the day of my 16th birthday, I began working as a cashier at a grocery store where I gained ready access to a paycheck and more candy, baked goods, frozen foods and fried chicken than I could ever possibly handle.