Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Fat Memories

on August 27, 2012

Editor’s Note: I’ve been sitting on this post for about 2 months. It’s sad for me to admit, so it was harder to post than I thought it would be. Please be kind with your comments.


You know how you can replay a memory in your head and remember what you wore or exactly what the other person said? Well I can literally look back at all my memories and tell you what I was eating. It’s kinda scary actually! I was joking with my brother and my mom that all my memories from childhood are tied to food (trips to Canobie Lake with ham and cheese calzones for lunch and hotdogs/french fries with malt vinegar for dinner), day trips to NH and stopping for lunch at this place called Neil’s (OMG the best peanut butter pie ever, sometimes I dream about it). I remember all my birthday cakes (or graduation cakes ~ like the “Snow Queen” cake from Rosie’s Bakery in Somerville I had when I graduated college in 2003. Golden butter cake layered with raspberry preserves and vanilla butter cream and frosted on the outside with vanilla butter cream Mmmmmm!).  I remember all the special meals I’ve shared with friends and I can literally tell you exactly what I ate and where before I can tell you how I felt, what was going on in my life etc.

You know where you were when JFK got shot? I know exactly what I was eating on my 29th birthday ~ right down to the chocolate layer cake with ganache.

Is that creepy?  (Don’t feel bad if you’re shaking your head yes.). 🙂

Looking back I think around age 8 or 9  I turned to food to soothe my unhappiness about being chubby….which in turn made me chubbier. It was a vicious cycle. I can’t say “oh food was only friend”. No, I always had friends. I was always “happy” but I feel like in hindsight something was always missing and I filled that void with food. I still don’t know what that was. I can’t tell you why I chose to overeat, why I chose food over activities or food over friendship – but I did and it really makes me sad to not only recognize but to admit out loud.

I guess if I was perfectly honest with myself….I was (am?) a food addict. I blogged about the topic once before and I thought I would have some clarity by now. But I don’t. I’m still puzzled.

I joke that I am a fat kid at heart, but I think it’s more than that.

I liked food. I loved food (sometimes I still do). I turned to it in order to mask the emotions I was feeling. I used food as my drug to subdue the negativity of being a teenager in limbo like all teenagers are (or a twenty-something still unclear about her path in life).  Oh wow, there we go … that’s progress. Some people mask their emotions with sarcasm (I do that too – but not as much as I used to), drinking (negative. Enjoy a cocktail with dinner, never had a drinking problem and never drank to mask emotions) or drugs (big no)….but I did it with food. I ate when I was happy, I ate when I was sad, I ate when I was angry….(you get the idea).

Food was a universal constant in my life.

That universal constant is now embedded in my memories. Like when you hear a song and suddenly you’re flooded with a rush of emotions and images of somebody that you used to know (or love). You are literally stopped dead in your tracks, reliving a time that has long since passed in a way so tangible you can almost feel it.

That’s how I feel about food.

I drove by a carnival in LA last week. The sights, sounds and smells hit me at once and I was struck my the memory of being 14 eating funnel cake/cotton candy until I could barely walk – with my best friend whom I swore I’d never lose touch with. Now she isn’t even a blip on my radar but I still have the fat memories to relive.

Sometimes I wonder if these memories will be with me forever, like stretch marks. Will I always associate food with events? Will I always remember what I ate before I remember details of the evening I shared with people I love? Will food always be my #1 even when I reach my goal weight? Can I somehow overcome this weird bond?

I honestly don’t know.

Even today, with healthier choices and only the occasional splurge I can reflect on everything I ate  before I can tell you about the conversations had. I don’t like this about myself ~ but I’m also not sure how to change it. How do you re-associate memories? Can you?



12 responses to “Fat Memories

  1. Curt says:

    I know exactly what you’re feeling, the food court at the mall is my trigger. I have some powerful memories from there. Sheesh, I get all sweaty and red just writing about it here… I haven’t been able to eat in the food court at the mall in years, it makes me feel like I’m an 8 year old fat kid there with my mom stuffing my face with french fries.

  2. I can’t say I understand this but from what I have learned from others with addictions is those feelings are a commonality, regradless of the substance abused. I would imagine that food must be an incredibly difficult challenge. Thank you for being brave enough to share that. Wishing you continued strength, courage and good health.

  3. Timmy says:

    People forget that food makes us feel good. We ultimately do things to feel good. We need to accept that we eat bad foods because it makes use feel good and learn to eat healthy foods that taste good so we can still be happy.

  4. jobo says:

    On a smaller level, I realized I had an emotional tie to food too, for the past few years, and it didn’t really dawn on me until I started the 60 day challenge. It is an incredibly difficult tie to break and a mindshift into food for fuel, rather than fun. Yes, food can be tasty, yes, we should enjoy it, but it shouldn’t be the be-all-end-all either. So I can definitely definitely relate to this and it has taken me a year, really, to break the tie. To shift into mindful eating more than anything. You are making huge strides here, Sam, and while you may still feel that tie to food sometimes for joy more than fuel, know that with consistency, it will improve and you will suddenly have that lightbulb moment. Thank you for sharing this post, it took courage and bravery. XO

  5. Jemileh says:

    I wrote a long response and then decided not to post it. You are wonderful. You are a lovely person who is working hard towards her goals. There will be times it hurts, but it’s growth, baby.

    And yeah, anyone with an addiction to anything can relate on what you wrote, it’s part of the process of healing.

  6. Lil says:

    I could have written this.

  7. paperskirt006 says:

    really well said entry. I applaud you for being so willing to work on yourself; for all the hard work and focus you put into getting to your goal.

    I feel like i can totally relate to what your saying. maybe not to the same degree, because i don’t necessarily trust all my memories because i’m not as exacting as i wish i could be (srsly. it’s like i don’t WANT to hold onto the food memories and it’s only when i bite into the food and taste all the flavors that things flood back), but food IS and has been one of the big constants in my life as well. I’m not a foodie, don’t get me wrong. I’m not sophisticated like that. but i think i too will always think about food and hunger and putting toxic fillers into my body to accomplish something when i think i need it–and i usually don’t. i know different now and i’ve been given tools to help me think about food differently. but it’s still there…. food moments; memories; consumable priorities; hunger, etc…

  8. Sharona says:

    Hmmm…i have the same affliction but not with food…but with music. It’s so strong though that sometimes I’ll be crying in my car because i’ll hear a song that reminds me of a breakup or i’ll get mad at a friend from an argument i forgot years ago because a song will bring me back. Actually, because of this strong association, i studied to pop songs and when i took a test, i would sing the song in my head and would instantly remember what i was reading. Enough of me (this inspired my next blog post!) i applaud you for talking about this and i think its kinda cool actually…at least you remember your memories even if its through food. I’m sure there’s a way you can flip it to make itan advantage and not a disadvantage.

    • Oh I have it with songs too. Oh god do I. The bad (breakups, friends you don’t have anymore, times you wish you could relive) and the good (friends you miss but still see, happy memories etc). When I hear Jimmy Eat World I always think of you. Aimless driving in our cars on lunch when we were in tech support together! I also always think of you when I hear “Mad World”.

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