Being overweight is something I have struggled with both physically and mentally ever since I can remember.
It started (mentally) way back in Kindergarten where, even though I wasn’t overweight at the time, I was simply bigger and taller than every other kid and always received a lot of comments about it and instantly became self-conscious that I was fat. It continued (physically) last Saturday where, for the 500th time in a row, after losing 5lbs from Monday-Friday, I couldn’t maintain the diet I started on Monday simply because it was a Saturday. Saturday is a day of celebration where I’m not working and nothing says celebrate to Big Dane like stuffing 5 pieces of extra pepperoni pizza and birthday cake down my fat gullet. I ain’t asking for a pity party people, as I’m sure many of you reading this can relate, but they say the first step in solving addiction is admitting you have a problem.
Here’s how it all began.
It started freshman year in high school. I’m standing with one of my classmates in the lunch line and it’s crispy chicken sandwich day at school. Now, the crispy chicken sandwich at school was a very polarizing option when it came to lunch choices. Much like the upcoming Presidential election, you loved the sandwich and could not understand people who hated it or you hated it and couldn’t understand people that loved it. I, of course, loved it which isn’t saying much because I would love a half-eaten moldy McDouble that a homeless man just threw in a pile of garbage. Anyways, a guy in front of me gets the chicken sandwich but then proceeds to do something that absolutely blew my mind. He asked for an extra sandwich from the lunch lady. I knew you could add an a la carte item, like Veryfine juice, or an ice cream sandwich, or cookie or whatever but it never occurred to me that I could add a second main dish at an additional cost.
I know what you’re thinking. “Big deal? Fat guy starts to get second lunches at school. Been there done that.” The problem is that it gets so much worse. As a result of them realizing my school lunch now becoming a 2nd mortgage, my parents put the clamps down on the amount of money they were putting in the lunch account to the point where I had just enough to get a regular lunch each week and that was it. After a few days of trying to adjust back to one lunch, I decided I’d enough. It was chicken nugget day and I was going to get extra chicken nuggets, even if it killed me (it will at 48, at least I hope I have that long).
There was a 6-7 person gap from the time that you picked your main dish from one lunch lady to actually paying for the food at the register. I asked the first woman for extra chicken nuggets knowing damn well that I did not have available funds to pay for them. I knew I didn’t have the money because I had to go through the embarrassment of holding up the entire lunch line while the woman at the register took the 2nd main dish away in front of all my peers because there wasn’t enough money in my account. This wasn’t enough to stop me though. In between getting the extra chicken nuggets and actually paying for them, I decide to stuff the chicken nuggets in my pant pockets and pretend I just had a regular lunch. I can still feel the warmth of them on my thigh. Once I got to the lunch table, I would take the nuggets out of my pocket and put them on my tray to quickly destroy them with no one ever noticing.
This was the first lesson that taught me the food, not my self-control, will always win. Not only was I fat, but now I was a fat thief who’d rather carry the uncomfortable burden and guilt of chicken nugget crumbs in my pants for three more classes during the day than to just stop eating. I proceeded to do this move for the next couple of years for any lunches that basically would ensure there was no sauce in my pants. The nuggets, the chicken sandwich, the dry-ass cheeseburger, popcorn shrimp, all leaving a crumby, sometimes oily mess in my pocket that no one knew about but me. In fact, I remember a time in Social Studies (which was a period or two after lunch) that I realized I had accidentally left a single nugget in my pocket, and we all know what happened next.
I had a couple more “fat” stories, but telling this one alone has led me to a deep depression and to an “Order Now” button online I am contemplating pushing for 10 wings and a side of onion rings for lunch instead of eating the grilled chicken breast, brown rice, and broccoli my wife made me. Except the decision was made for me a long time ago…when I decided to put chicken nuggets in my pants.