How many times have I described something I’ve eaten as “to die for”? A pumpkin cheesecake my oldest son made for Thanksgiving one year was to die for. A cinnamon streusel coffee cake made by my youngest son as homework for a home ec class was to die for. Cruising with my youngest daughter, an orange soufflé with warm vanilla sauce was to die for and, while dining with my oldest daughter and her kids at a small diner in Pennsboro, I had a bacon cheeseburger that was to die for.
When I graduated from high school, I weighed 114 pounds. I was skeletal. My friend, Kay, and I joked that we were on diets….to gain weight, not to lose it. I ate everything I wanted, when I wanted it. My first job, at Hickory Farms, was one I enjoyed. A lot! I successfully gained ten pounds that year and developed a life long love of all things cheese.
At 124 pounds, I started worrying about my weight in a different manner. I was afraid I would get fat. I could often be seen carrying around a can of Tab, the first calorie free cola I can ever remember drinking. My hectic life style while working my way through college wasn’t really conducive to healthy eating so I filled my body with chemicals instead of fruits and vegetables.
At 135 pounds, diet 7-Up became my beverage of choice. I was married, then pregnant and proud of the fact that I still weighed slightly less than 135 pounds after giving birth. It helped that my pregnancy had consisted of much barfing and was less than 7 months long. With a premie eating every two hours around the clock, I pretty much ate on the same schedule and my weight began to creep upward.
By the time I delivered baby number two, I weighed in at 145, which is actually a very good weight for someone as tall as I am. I joined Weight Watchers, though, because I thought I was fat. A few years later, I realized that if I wasn’t happy at 145 pounds, I’d never be happy with my weight and I stopped dieting. I was back to eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted it. Unlike some people, I knew that if I ever had to start eating healthy, I would. Piece of cake. Easy peasy, right?
Fast forward fifty pounds with an autoimmune disease, a steroid induced weight gain, diabetes, and a body that responds painfully to all processed sugar products. Unable to exercise, I lost muscle tone and I was too exhausted to care. I could hardly shower, let alone cook, so I ate all that was quick and easy. All that was fast and greasy. Technically, my diet became food that was to die from. Only after I went into remission, did I start thinking about healthier eating.
Now, I’ve lost 30 of those extra pounds but it’s been a tough battle. My diabetes is controlled and, while I still have days when fatigue rules, I am forcing myself to be more active. My beverages of choice these days are unsweetened tea, water, and the diet lemonade from Chick-Fil-A. Unfortunately, I also love their milkshakes. Because I’m just a few steps beyond normal, I usually order a gallon of diet lemonade and a calorie laden shake. This week, I had the new Autumn Spice flavored shake sans whipped cream. It was cold and sweet, and the blend of spices used was truly to die for. As I sucked it down, I started thinking about what I was doing. Was it to die for, or were my diet choices slowly killing me? It’s something to think about.