The Most I Ever Ate
I Don't Know What Got into Me. Oh, Yeah, Food
When I was much younger, I could eat whatever I wanted. I could eat a ginormous ice cream cone every night, and I would not gain a single pound. Now, I think I put on a few ounces each time I have an illicit thought of scarfing down a king-size Butterfinger or eating only the icing off of the top of a piece of cake.
Back in my youth, I loved going out to eat. Also, back in my youth, you could go out to eat.
I have always loved Italian food. One of my favorite places to eat back then was called the Italian Oven. It was a chain Italian restaurant, a little bit like the Olive Garden, only not quite as "fancy," and without the annoying commercials. The food was better, but I didn't feel like family when I was there. I just felt like a customer at a restaurant.
One evening, when I was about 17, my then-boyfriend and I went on a date. He loved eating Italian food as much as I did, so we were well matched for this date. We went to the Italian Oven, and then we went to see a movie.
Early that day, I decided, for reasons that are still unclear to me, that I would eat as much as I possibly could that night. I knew my boyfriend would be on board because that was always his way of thinking! When we got to the restaurant, we went all out. First, we ordered mozzarella sticks, salad, and bread. We gobbled up the cheese sticks faster than I would leave a Nickelback concert. I am sure we ate all the bread, too.
I probably ate some salad, but only after dumping an entire container of "shaky cheese" on top. Shaky cheese is what I call the parmesan you get at Italian restaurants—you know the stuff in the little shakers.
Then, our entrees came. I don't remember what my boyfriend got, but I know I got chicken parmesan. This was before I became a vegetarian. I remember being full when my entree arrived. Still, I was determined to have a multi-course meal and finish everything, for whatever reason.
Later, when I was in my early twenties, I developed the same do-or-die mentality about water consumption. One day, I had already drunk several 64-ounce containers of water. I decided to weigh myself to see if I'd gained any weight after drinking all that water. I weighed about three pounds more than usual. Fueled by the same bizarre energy that motivated the Italian Oven eating binge, I tried to make myself gain ten pounds by merely drinking water.
I downed 64-ounce container after 64-ounce container of water, and eventually, I weighed ten pounds more than I had that morning. However, I felt so sick and so sloshy that I had to lie down for the remainder of the day. I did have to get up often to go to the bathroom, but, for the most part, I just lay there like a beached whale. Who knows why I do these things? I sure don't!
Anyway, that night at the Italian Oven, I was not hungry at all when my entrée came, but I pushed through it like a champ, finishing the entire thing. My boyfriend and I were sitting there, in deep food comas, when the waiter came sidling up to the table with the dessert menu.
By then, I think we both felt like that guy who was forced to eat all the spaghetti in the movie Seven. You know, the guy who represented gluttony. But, keeping with the many-course meal theme, we ordered tiramisu. When it arrived, we looked at it disdainfully. We didn't want it, but we had to eat it. Somehow, we found room for the dessert, like we were cows with four-part stomachs, one of which held only dessert. Then, we paid the check and, like two oversized Weebles, tottered out to the car.
After that, we met some friends for a free prerelease screening of the Hugh Grant film Nine Months. I remember what movie it was, and also that it was free because of how sick I felt when we got there and how I just wanted to go home.
The theater was so crowded we had to sit on the floor in the back. Why I wanted to see the movie that badly, I don't know. Because pregnancy is typically not a very pleasant thought to a 17-year-old girl, and my stomach was so full, I already resembled a pregnant lady. I think I probably had a crush on Hugh Grant, which explains it.
I think this must have been before the whole arrest-with-a-prostitute scandal because I doubt I would have found that very attractive, even at age 17. I remember the movie hazily, but mostly I remember clutching my stomach and wanting to go home and sleep
After the movie, my boyfriend and I went back to his house. His room was in the basement, and the rest of the family lived upstairs. We lay down on his bed, uncomfortable beyond belief, and proceeded to have the least romantic night in the history of the world.
When you are a teenager, dates often conclude with some good old-fashioned necking in your parents' house or your date's parents' house. But, oh no, not that night. Many teenagers would love to have access to a private downstairs bedroom after a date, and we were no different. But in our case, it was because no one could hear our moans of pain as we attempted to keep our stomachs from exploding Italian food all over the ceiling.
We both felt so sick that we didn't want to be anywhere near each other. I remember wanting to go home but feeling too ill to get up and leave. I stayed there like I was waiting for an alcoholic buzz to wear off before driving home.
When I finally got home, I still felt awful. I had to take a shower because when I eat fried stuff like mozzarella sticks, my face feels oily, and washing it at the sink was not going to cut it. I took a shower and rolled into bed, sleeping like a rock until the next morning. When I woke up, I was still really full, and I did not develop an appetite until the middle of the next day.
Today I often wish I could eat whatever I want and not gain weight, but I am unlikely to ever eat as much as I ate that night, even if that wish came true.
Now I never gorge myself, except occasionally eating a whole bag of Cheetos or devouring a bag of fun-sized Snickers in one sitting. You know, on Halloween. The good thing about most people's relationship with food is that there is always room for improvement. I have nowhere to go but up, just like my food almost did on that fateful, Italian-Oven night!