If I were a problem drinker, last night would have been a bender — my first since last fall. But I’m a problem eater which means I started with too many (unsalted at least) cashews, moved onto ice cream, cheese and cookies and this morning probably feel almost as lousy as if I had been drinking.

Also, the scales are up 6 pounds from a week ago. (My sister’s upset because she has put on 4 pounds since her last annual physical. Amateur!)

I didn’t enjoy the experience nearly as much as I enjoy feeling slimmer and in control of my eating. So why the heck did I do it?

It starts with fatigue. I was exhausted from driving nearly 1,000 miles in 5 days,  sleeping in three different beds and letting my exercise slide during those days. Like a drunk, I started and slid right down the slippery slope. Why is it so much harder to stop after one misstep? Why keep on eating through the evening as though bedtime is some sort of real divider between time to binge and time to pull up my socks and fall back in line?

I had few problems while we traveled and ate out, ordering appetizers and salads in restaurants, sharing desserts, drinking one elf-sized  Corona in the entire 120-some hours away from my obsessive-compulsive calorie counting in

But last night, alone in a house I’m so ready to move away from, far from my children, I must have felt unnurtured and uncared for and what better way to care for myself than to eat a couple thousand calories? It’s a life habit and a dreadful one that, I hope, just had to rear its ugly head once again before I climb back on the daunting diet wagon this morning.

So as I told our youngest daughter in a weekend cliche-fest addressed to all our challenges, life is a matter of repeatedly  picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and starting all over again. And as my friend Dannye R.P. says wisely, it’s not how you handle yourself when things are going well that determines the person you are……Sigh. As that youngest daughter adds, “Being a grownup sucks!” Indeed, but it is the only way to navigate successfully over the long, long-term.

Being a grownup today will mean for me cooking something healthy with the summer squash tsunami that occurred in our absence. Something like this lovely melange from the March issue of Southern Living magazine.

Sauteed baby squash and leeks

1-1/2 pounds assorted squash babies, halved lengthwise

1 cup prepared baby leeks**

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (reduced-fat if you, too, have gone astray)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Saute squash and leeks in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste; sprinkle with cheese and basil. Serves 6.

**To prepare leeks, which likely  have grit trapped between the layers of stem sheaths, cut off and discard all but white and light green parts. Halve length-wise, slice halves very thinly and wash in bowl of clean water. Leeks will float to top  — lift off and drain. Grit will sink; discard with dirty water.


3 responses to “Bender”

  1. [from JoAnn’s sister] Wow, we are so alike in our food issues! And I too had a food bender last night (to celebrate a good medical report). A long time ago I decided that as an addictive person I could handle alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc. by just never picking one up (nothing gets past me!). But with food that’s impossible. Instead of shoving it aside this is something we have to deal with several times a day. Much tougher than managing a substance that can be totally banned. All we food addicts can do is pick ourselves up the next morning and try again …..


  2. I love you! And even if being a grownup sucks sometimes, it’s pretty cool most of the time =)


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