I think about food all the time. Here’s an example. The anniversary of my marriage to my wonderful and ornery husband was a couple of weekends ago. To celebrate we went to the beach – not to sit with our toes in the sand or stroll hand in hand listening to the ocean waves. No, my husband wanted to go away from the beach and drive two hours on twisty, gravel, muddy logging roads so we could hike two miles to see waterfalls and wildlife and such. 

And see them we did. But the whole time, all I could think about was lunch. We left our motel around 8 in the morning, drove forever then started our hike. By 10:30 I was checking my watch – an hour and a half until I could eat. An hour later I checked my watch again. 10:48. What??? This went on at regular intervals, until around 11:30, when I started checking every couple minutes. Then I said, “I’m going to have lunch.”

“Must be 12 o’clock,” my husband said.

It was. I fight eating until the noon hour, and then until dinnertime because I want to eat all day long. Someone I worked with once told me they put out a cigarette on their break and immediately craved the next one, miserable because they’d have to wait until the next break to have it. That’s the way I am with food. Even when I proclaim, in misery, “I’m stuffed,” I still want a little something sweet; a little something salty. I’ve been told by lots of people that I eat more than anyone they’ve ever known.

I have to do three things to stay within the normal range of my body mass index (BMI). (1) I only eat at mealtimes – three times a day, and (2) I only eat healthy food (there are occasional exceptions to these two – I am human, after all). (3) is the one I don’t ever break: I never buy the next size up. Otherwise, with my appetite, I would always be the star of “The Biggest Loser.”

At straight-up noon I unzipped my fanny pack and ate my pumpkin seeds (for protein), a bunch of carrots (for Vitamin A), a lot of celery (for some crunch and filler), and two small mandarin oranges (for dessert). It was a lot of food, but all of it served my body’s needs for nutrition. I figure my mouth is like a car’s gas tank. I want to put the stuff in there that will my body run well. Good food is good fuel. I want my belly’s gas tank to give me a body that can get out of a chair without struggling.

Because of my three eating rules, I can eat like a horse and still wear the size 8-10 I’ve been wearing for decades. When I get above my ideal weight (always at Christmas because of sweets and party foods), my jeans get tight and uncomfortable (no stretchy pants for me – I need good old-fashioned Levis that let me know I’m not eating healthy). After those extra pounds slowly (way too slowly) melt off, I’ll be able to eat a few more fun things every now and then, like chips – man oh man I do love salt and vinegar potato chips. I hardly ever buy them, otherwise they’d be scarfed on the drive home from the grocery store.

Yeah I love those wonderful snack and comfort foods, who doesn’t, but I’ve acquired a taste for healthy food, so I fight eating them because I don’t want my body wearing cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, fudge, brownies, cookies, donuts, deep fried Twinkies, bacon, beer, gravy, bread and butter, French fries, sweet tea, and potato chips. I prefer the way carrots, apples, salmon, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and green leafy salads look on me – these foods make my body happy even if my mouth would rather have that other stuff. Also I don’t want to spend my time in doctors’ offices because of diabetes and heart disease or in hospitals having knee, back, hip, and foot surgeries because of worthless food. It’s as addictive as drugs and alcohol. I’d rather be doing fun things like walking, chasing my son’s dog in the backyard, swimming or hiking with my husband – things that make my me strong and healthy.

Our anniversary was lovely, our hikes were all painfully pleasant – the pain being in our lungs and legs, the joy coming from passing through huge old growth Douglas firs big around as three barrels lashed together, breathing in the forest smells of sap, evergreen needles and cedar, and sleeping like logs at night, worn out and happy (no need for sleeping pills!).

On our second day of hiking at noon I said, “It’s time to eat.” My husband said, “Don’t let me get in your way, I know better than that.” He’s a funny guy. Happy Anniversary, honeycake!