10,000 Calorie per Day Relationship

Everything is good as a sandwich.

          Our relationship with food defines who we are. It is directly linked to our self esteem, our social life, and our health. Anyone who tries to pretend like it is just about eating is fibbing to you. Luckily, you have CoupleDumb to set you straight. So, grab a donut in each hand and enjoy your Thursday while we talk some more about food.

          Paul says: To understand my relationship with food, I need to tell you a little story. When I was a younger man in my late teens, my brother and I went on a weight gaining diet. I was rail thin at six feet tall and 128 pounds and my brother had an unhealthy body fat less than 5%. So, for six months I ate 10,000 calories per day. To eat that many calories required about a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon (I wasn’t worried about cholesterol), a protein shake, and then more food two hours later. Basically, I would eat constantly. At night I would go to bed bloated from my pre-slumber shake, hoping that I did not vomit in my sleep. My brother and I did this every day for six months and, at the end, I gained a whopping two pounds. Oh, my brother gained nothing.

          People hate this story. That they hate the story is ok. They like to tell me how much they hate that story and that is not ok. During my formative teen years, I despised the way I looked. When girls liked meaty coordinated boys, I had gangly and bony going at full throttle. At least that is what I thought girls liked. As I get older I realize the girls are just as clueless as boys but that insight was not granted to me until well after it was useful. So when I made myself sick in hopes that it would make me more attractive socially and sexually, I was greeted with a very verbal dislike. Please actually said the words, ‘I hate you’ to my face. These were friends that would say the words with a jocular cadence and ire in their eyes.

          That is what helped create my relationship with food. It mirrors the responses I got for my eating habits. I love food and I hate food. I will eat almost anything. I do not like salmon or coconut. Beyond that, everything is fair game. I can be a vegetarian because I love vegetables or I can be a strict carnivore because meat is yummy. Add garlic and everything is delicious. At a point in my life, I embraced that I was naturally thin and developed my most unhealthy eating habits. Once I figured out that I can eat whatever I wanted without the risk of weight gain, I did just that. A half sheet of cake for breakfast or gallons of ice cream before bed are just alright with me. Then I turned 40 and began gaining weight. Fuck you, genetics!

          So this whole story is my way of illustrating that food is a central relationship, not an ancillary one. Take a look at your relationship with food and you will see your relationship with almost everything else. I’m going to go make oatmeal now because I have a lifetime of habits to break. Fuck you, genetics!

          Lee says: As his partner for the last 22 years, I can tell you this is not the same man I married. Wait, he still eats the same but the physique is quite different. That’s not true. When we met, his food could not touch. There was a lot of it but his food was not allowed to co-mingle. My mother, and I’d like to think a little sex and loosening up, fixed all that up. Paul likes to think that he has always been this easy going guy but where food was concerned, he had a love/rigid relationship. He could eat anything but it was just so. Food was enjoyable and probably after the 10,000 calorie a day diet, it became a means to an end that genetics ultimately took care of 20 years later.

          A good example is when we were dating. We had gone on our first weekend getaway together (sharing a room- OMG!). I was a wreck. We met our great friend, Steve, in Palo Alto and drove to Berkeley for some sightseeing and dinner. While we ate our scrumptious Italian meal, I had the audacity to take a piece of my garlic bread and dip into my marinara (on my plate). Paul leaned over and Mr. Mild Mannered whispered, ‘What are you doing?’ I was surprised but answered, ‘I’m dipping my bread.’ He then looked at me and said ‘That’s disgusting!’ I was mortified. Of course, I had no idea that he was uptight about food.

          Now, I have to stop him from dipping anything and everything. Sure, occasionally I’ll give him the stink eye and say how disgusting that is. He doesn’t care. I’m like a food Pygmalion and he is my Galatea. O.K. , my Galatea is a little plumper and dips his bread into everything but he’s still mine.

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