Deep inside, I am totally a fat kid.
As a kid, as far back as I can remember, there was always candy hidden in several locations around my room. I’ve been known to drink caramel sauce right out of the squeeze bottle like it was Gatorade. And I will do things for soft cheese that shame my family. I’m totally an emotional eater, and I find the process of both preparing and eating food to be both soothing and enjoyable.
Which is how one finds oneself a little on the pudgy side.
Not fat, mind you, just a little on the squishy side; enough that when getting out of the shower, I do that “glaze your eyes over when you pass by the mirror so you don’t actually have to look at your naked body,” thing. And I’m tired of it. So lately, I’ve been trying to take this whole “eating healthy” thing a little more seriously. Baby steps. Eating veggies with my dinner that haven’t been cooked in butter. Laying off the beer. Not continuing to eat after I’m full. Watching my calorie count when we eat out. Not feeling entitled to a candy bar every time I successfully complete my grocery shopping. Baby steps.
Those baby steps and others, combined with an hour of Wii Fit in the morning and 2-5 miles of walking in the evening, are actually working. Albeit, veeeeery sloooowly, but that’s okay. The point is, it’s getting easier and easier to resist the temptation to go nuts on junk food, because I’m starting to see the fruits of my labor. Before, the combination of deprivation and a bad day might drive me to sit in front of the fridge and gorge myself on bologna and handfuls of shredded cheese. But now, I’m strong enough to resist a lot of the crap, because I don’t want to undo all the hard work I’ve put in.
With one exception. My kryptonite: free after-gig food.
After-gig food is a powerful weapon to begin with, because it plays on my emotional eating. After-gig food is similar to fourth meal or drunk food, in that it is only eaten late at night and usually comes in the form of something fried or in a taco shell, and slathered in cheese. What makes after-gig food different however, is the feeling that one is entitled to it because it comes after a long day. It is eaten almost in defiance. I’ve just finished packing a 24′ semi-truck at the end of a 16-hour day. I spent most of those 16 hours working as a bitch for the most incompetent jackass ever to walk in my space, who’s lack of knowledge was directly proportional to his over-inflated ego, and who’s continuous mistakes forced me to spend the day literally running all over the theater. I may have cried. I am emotionally and physically exhausted, I smell like I’ve been sleeping in my gym clothes, and I NEED JUNK FOOD. I deserve it, and it’s the only way that I could possibly justify the terribly shitty day I just finished.
But regular old gig-food is resistible. Back when we were in Atlanta, every gig was immediately followed by a trip to Taco Bell. (As were evenings at Dave and Buster’s, trips to the grocery store, successful days of work…) But that came to a stop without too much effort, especially now that the Taco Bell is no longer right around the corner from our apartment.
It’s free after-gig food that I’m helpless to resist.
A wise old stagehand once gave me this advice: “Never turn down free food, because you never know when it’s the last time you’ll get to eat.” Whether he meant that you may fall off a ladder and die so you might as well enjoy your food now, or you never know when you’ll find yourself without enough money to eat, I do no know, but the advice came with a piece of pizza, and I took them both. On general principle, if there has been free food available, I would take it, especially if it was at work. Free food is surprisingly prevalent at work; very often if there is catering left over after the talent has left, it’s offered up to the crew rather than be thrown away. We’ll get thrown things like water, fruits and veggies, leftover hot meals, desserts, yogurt, juice, sandwiches, and everything in between, and we snap up everything that’s not nailed down. Again, we feel that we deserve it; it’s almost by taking that hoagie we’ll be able to make up for the hard work, long day, and tiny piece of our soul that was eaten by the gig.
And it’s this food that I have the hardest time resisting. Food, delicious food, that is literally sitting there for me to take, right when I’m my most emotionally vulnerable. The perfect balm for my tattered ego in the form of little chocolate cheesecake squares, begging to be eaten. Even the strongest resolve crumbles in the presence of free after-gig food, especially when it comes in the form of a delectable chocolate raspberry cake.
So what’s a girl to do? Try to ignore the yummies that are up for grabs? Go all Weight Watchers Food Nazi and throw it all away, saving myself but denying anyone else from having any of the yummies? Or maybe, knowing that I’ve been working hard on my feet all day, give myself a break and allow myself to have a yummy or two?
I suppose it’s better than sitting on the floor, crying and stuffing brownies in my mouth.