By: Shannon Ralph
Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with my weight. I have been a yo-yo dieter for most of my adult life. During my most recent stint with Weight Watchers, I believe I have discovered the root of my problem.
Kids’ food is like crack cocaine.
Seriously. What the hell do they put in that stuff? In my defense, before the Whole Foods zombies descend on me en masse, I do feed my children healthy food most of the time. We eat fruits. And vegetables. And lean chicken and turkey. But we do have a fairly decent amount of “kids’ food” in our house on any given day. How is any parent supposed to lose weight when that food is calling to them seductively from the cupboards?
I mean, have you ever tried Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal? Don’t even try to tell me that stuff isn’t enhanced in some way to make it as addictive as heroin. I can easily finish off an entire box while watching Phineas and Ferb on Netflix. And then lick all that sugary, cinnamony goodness off my hands with the same zeal that my dog displays while eating cracker crumbs off the kitchen floor.
And what about Teddy Grahams? Who doesn’t enjoy biting the head off an adorable little teddy bear while giggling maniacally? And they come in four flavors, each more delectable than the last. I do not know what sort of unnatural chemical is baked into those little bears, but whatever it is, it activates my brain’s pleasure centers in a way that is quite simply vulgar. When I stuff myself full of Teddy Grahams, I feel like I can skip my Celexa that night.
And Entenmann’s makes these little muffin packets that are melt-in-your-mouth heaven. Five mini muffins per pack. My kids eat them for afternoon snack sometimes. There are all of the flavors you would expect—banana, blueberry, chocolate chip—but then there is also snickerdoodle flavored muffins. Snickerdoodle! If I could melt them down and inject their yummy, snickery, doodly essence intravenously, I think you would find me in some back alley selling myself for my next hit. They are THAT good.
And then there are Fruit Roll-ups. I mean what kind of adult actually needs to ingest a Fruit Roll-up? I would venture to say that none of us do. Ever. But come on…they actually make tie-dyed Fruit Roll-ups! Don’t all the nutritionists tell us we should eat a rainbow? I have no problem in that department. I am drawn to bright primary colors and cartoonish packaging. Of course, I don’t eat Fruit Roll-ups in public because I am, after all, a professional adult. I prefer to eat my Fruit Roll-ups behind a locked door. While sitting on the toilet.
I know. I know. No need to berate me, Jillian Michaels. I know the answer is to simply NOT eat that stuff. But I am weak. I am a human being with impulse control issues and an addictive personality. I am a prisoner to my urges. Really, shouldn’t we be blaming General Mills and Kellogg’s and those damn little Keebler elves for marketing that stuff in such shiny packaging that someone like me—someone who undoubtedly has at least a minor case of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder—simply cannot stroll past in the grocery store?
Here’s the thing though. My skinny little kids can eat that crap up. They burn off twice as many calories as they eat most days by simply running around like circus clowns and climbing on the furniture and beating the hell out of one another. But when an adult eats like a child, they get fat. Then they get diabetes. Then they are found huddled in a corner somewhere in the fetal position with a blue Go-gurt mustache, covered in day glow orange Cheetos dust, mumbling something about Fun Dip. Then they die.
I don’t want to die covered in Cheetos dust. That’s not the way I want to leave this world. So I will continue to do Weight Watchers. I will hide the cereal boxes. I will resolve to discontinue my bathroom Fruit Roll-ups. I will eat real fruit. I will eat vegetables. I will eat lean proteins. I will even eat whole grains and healthy oils and take a daily multivitamin. I might even exercise a bit on occasion. I will be an adult.
But I will not like it.