Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's the love equivalent of the Freshman 15?

Conventional wisdom states that when kids move away to college, the access to copious amounts of already paid for dormitory cafeteria food causes most new freshman to pack on a few pounds. With unlimited exposure to soft serve ice cream, all you can eat Lucky Charms, french fries at every meal and delicacies like “Turkey Americana” (a hideous concoction of processed cheese and thinly sliced ham sandwiched between two large slices of deli turkey, then battered and deep fried into Frisbee sized discs of deliciousness that I haven’t eaten in nearly 20 years but I’m fairly certain I would knock over a four year old to get to if presented with the opportunity in the next five minutes), it doesn’t surprise me that many new college students pack on the ubiquitous “Freshman 15” as a result. Not me, of course. I put on the “Freshman 32”. But hey, I’m an overachiever.
Apparently there’s another rite of passage that is notorious for packing on the pounds. Turns out they don’t call them “love handles” for nothing.

As I mentioned last week, there’s a new man in my life. As I’ve also mentioned on several occasions, I am committed to keeping this blog on-topic. Because I reveal so much of myself through what I write here about food, weight loss & obesity issues, I purposely don’t write much about the rest of my life, preferring to hold those things as private. But in this case, my weight loss and non-weight loss worlds are colliding, so a little discussion of the phenomenon seems appropriate. But if you’re expecting juicy details, you’ll be disappointed because I NEVER kiss and tell.

(Which is a lie straight from the pit of hell, because I TOTALLY kiss and tell…just not on my blog.) ;)

According to several credible sources (The New York Times, Prevention, Seventeen magazine, my friend Michelle, and a stranger I was talking to in the drug store the other night) it turns out that love can indeed make you fat. This doesn’t surprise me, particularly, since the generic date usually includes a meal of some kind, a little shared buttered popcorn and finishes with a cup of coffee or a pomegranate margarita (or two, even). Even when the butterflies that have taken up residence in your tummy won’t allow you wolf down the entire #1 combo platter while sitting across from him at your favorite Mexican restaurant, it turns out that eating even HALF of that monstrosity is more food than any normal human being should eat in one sitting (or two, even). Add in that he’s a classically trained foodie and also spends 40+ hours a week running a huge restaurant specializing in the production sauced up chicken parts in every conceivable iteration and you’ve got a foolproof recipe for packing on the pounds if you’re not careful.

But if you’re very lucky, the special someone you’ve found will share your commitment to eating well. If they’ve, say, lost 40 pounds themselves this last year and want to take off 20 more then it makes it easier to put on the brakes when the food starts getting out of control…but it’s still not as easy as it sounds. The giddy, giggly, hearts-and-flowers nature of new love often has the same kind of intoxicating effect on our decision making process as frat party keg beer has on a new freshman (for proof of which I offer the sporadically written in but nonetheless scandalous account of my 18 year old self preserved in diary form). So a little frank discussion is in order, about where you’ve been and what your goals are—and just how important not letting the food get out of control again is to you. And that, my friends, isn’t the easiest conversation on earth to have.

This little patch of the web has been the strangest of phenomena for me. It’s the place where I’m the most open I’ve ever been about my weight and what it takes to fight the fat every day. Nearly everyone I know (and countless people I don’t) knows about this site, and I’ve revealed details of my life and my experiences that are more intimate than I ever dreamed I’d share publicly. But I had to give some real thought as to when I’d be ready to share it with a new significant other. I want to share my life with someone again, and the things I write about here are a big part of that life.

So I dropped hints about it, mentioned I was a blogger and that my website was important to me. I told him that one day I’d give him the address and he could read all about me and my special brand of food-crazy. I waited to see when I’d be ready, and wondered what he’d think about what he sees here. Would he see my starting pictures and cringe? Would he read what I wrote and realize he’d bitten off more than he could chew? Would it bother him that the internet saw me in my underwear before he did? And after he saw it all, would he still like me?

I guess we’ll find out…