What if I told you that I ate my first Dorito when I was 9 years old?
It was magical.
The proof of the power in that little chip lies in my memory of the moment.
My memory, in general, is worthless. It’s embarrassing. (I was in a car crash at 16 and had a severe concussion, among other injuries—I blame that head injury for my terrible recall; however, I’ll admit it’s as likely that sometimes I just don’t pay attention enough to commit things to the ‘ol lock vault.)
The point is that if I remember something vividly, then it was the shiz.
It must have rocked my world when it happened—were talking fireworks, gallons of endorphins and a parking spot on planet Happiness.
That particular day I was with my best friend and we were on a mission: to pet a cow.
We were hoping to get close enough to pet one of the giant Brahmans (I think that’s what they were but I was 9 so don’t hold me to it) in the pasture about a ¼ mile from her house.
She grabbed a snack for us as we ran out the door. (I’m sure she had no idea she would ultimately be responsible for helping me lose my Dorito virginity. It was fate.)
I’d seen Doritos, of course. But I’d never actually tasted one. I’m pretty sure my eyes lit up when she grabbed that Family size bag.
Screw the freakin’ petting zoo. This had just turned into something else altogether.
I offered to carry the bag. Nacho flavor.
I’ll never forget the smell of processed cheese, the orange dusting that I literally sucked off every crevice of my fingers, and the incredible nacho-ey goodness of my first crunchy bite.
Did I pet a cow? I don’t remember.
But if it’s possible to get plastered on Doritos, then I was totally trashed that day.
*Brief Interlude to explain something…Ahem, this post is NOT a diatribe on how anyone should parent or guide their children in matters of nutrition or self-image. This article is merely an attempt (possibly not a successful one) to explain the foundation for my personal beliefs and experiences regarding nutrition and fitness while hopefully providing you with a small amount of entertainment at my expense.
Why? And who cares?
Now, I know what you’re thinking. WTF? Why had my poor 9-year-old self never had a Dorito? And who cares?
Hold up. Before you pick your side of this thing—big deal vs. not a big deal (that me and my sisters were not allowed foods like Doritos when we were kids)—I need to tell you a little bit more.
Other tastes I’d never experienced at that time: Oreos, cereal with marshmallows, soda, or wafer cookies.
*There were a lot of other foods, too, but I remember these specifically because we’d beg for them when we went to the store. I’d probably have gut-punched another little girl for a bowl of Lucky Charms at that time. I was kind of ruthless back then.
Who cares about this, you ask? Most likely only me (and possibly my 3 sisters)—but my point is that food (and a person’s relationship with it) is a common (and very personal) conundrum.
I’m (kind of) a home fitness expert (and a real medical professional), so people naturally think I can deal out nutrition advice as readily (and expertly) as I can recommend what dumbbells you should go buy.
It’s not that easy.
There’s more to my story…
The F Word (and the D Word)
As we got older (I would have been around 11) there was a word said around the house that quite possibly added a layer to my developing (and complicated) relationship with food.
The naughty word that could occasionally be heard (almost always in the kitchen) usually popped up in a redundant question, ‘You’re going to eat more? Do you want to get FAT?’ *Gasp!* I know.
The ‘F’ word is painful. And, of course, no one wants to experience that particular ‘F’ word.
Full disclosure-That particular line of questioning was mostly directed at my sisters. I was a competitive gymnast up until I was 13 and ate everything that wasn’t nailed down (when no one was looking, of course) but I vividly remember hearing the ‘F’ word spit out like a nasty virus.
And then there was the D word. Divorce? Diet? Nope and nope.
The D word was diabetes.
My mom has always feared that disease like you might fear being hit by a train or struck by lightning. (I’m sure there’s a perfectly respectable reason for her fears but that’s for another post.)
Honestly, I commend her sincere and valiant intentions to instill good health (and a good education) into our pretty (thick) little heads.
As a parent, now I get it. You do the best with what you know. She might not win any parenting awards in today’s world, but neither would I.
*Ironically, I now head the food police in my house. I’ve considered erecting a plaque for the kitchen wall that says, ‘Make a healthy choice, please,’ so that I can just point to it rather than keep saying it over and over.
The Wide Load
In my teen years, my parents divorced, and one of my sisters and I moved in with my dad. No more gymnastics. No more food watchdog (AKA, Mom). You can see where this is heading…
HELLO Lucky Charms and Oreos! And SO. MANY. DORITOS.
My dad wasn’t prone to any kind of ‘beating around the bush’ (or compliments, hugs, or praise—he was old school and showed love through discipline (and buying whatever food we wanted)—which is to say, based on the number of whoopings I had growing up that I was deeply adored).
Within 6 months of moving in, my sister and I had blossomed (in more ways than one).
My dad didn’t use the ‘F’ word.
He’d just say ‘Wide Load coming through’ under his breath. Or, ‘Large and in charge’, and then laugh for ten minutes. He thought he was very funny. (Maybe that’s where I get it.)
Needless to say, being a teenage girl sucks ass. It was long and hard and I’m glad it’s over.
The Cold Hard Facts
At some point I figured it all out in a way that I could (and do) live with.
Listen Up. Here comes my point.
No Excuses, Girls
Every. Single. Person. Has had their own experiences that ultimately shaped the way they feel about food, fitness and life in general.
The things I shared with you are but a speck of the vast amount of Heavy Duty Life that was shoveled on my head like a bucket of rocks as I was growing up (which continued well into my mid 20’s and for which I take full responsibility).
I have SO MANY REASONS for which I could justifiably go a few rounds with a therapist.
But, hey, don’t we all?
We’ve all had shit happen.
Today’s world gives us the liberty to wuss out too easily.
Take all your juicy life adventures and own them. Claim them. Love on them. Analyze the shit out of them. But don’t use them as an excuse to hold yourself back.
Climb into your big girl pants and take charge. Grab life by the ears and shake it. Scream at it, “I’m in charge around here!” Then go and kick some ass.
Don’t let your baggage hold you back. Take charge of your health and life will follow.
I’ll close with the nutrition advice I give my patients and fitness friends. All things IN MODERATION. So simple. And it works.
*Obviously that shiny nugget of input MUST be paired with a good (consistent) exercise plan. But you knew that or you wouldn’t be on my blog, anyway. And if this is your first time here–Welcome! Look around. Get comfy. Find a fitness post that inspires you.
What about you? Do you have any vivid memories about food or fitness that shaped your life? What did you learn from them?
Thanks for reading. You’re awesome!