When I was in 8th grade, my friend Sarah gave me a box of homemade chocolate fudge around Christmastime. Which is, you know, so great and festive and nice. And even more exciting, because for whatever cosmic reason, I didn't have much fudge-eating experience. But I did know that eating it would be great, and I was excited to eat it all by myself and not share any of it with my family.
So I brought the box of fudge with me in my backpack to babysit my little cousins, to eat after they went to bed while I did my homework.
I had been a champion over-eater and seasoned food-hoarder for years. I was very talented. This was largely in reaction to my household's food being annoyingly healthy. Lots of Whole Foods shopping and all these different weird diets my mom went on: phases of macrobiotic and the Blood Type Diet, etc. Aduki Beans and Brown Rice, Ezekiel Bread, Almond Butter, no dairy, Kale before it was popular, and "quinoa pasta" before quinoa was a thing. It didn't matter to me that my dad made me normal french toast on Saturday mornings with processed ingredients while my mom was still asleep. That wasn't enough for my addled brain.
So I became a gifted rebellion eater. I was very skilled at eating as much junk food as I possibly could whenever the opportunity struck- and I was very good at keeping junk food top of the mind as my #1 priority. I was also a stick-figure all through childhood, so my eating obsession seemed more just like a weird quirk to anyone else. All I did at friend's houses was eat their gushers and cheez wiz and fruity pebbles, because I literally felt it was "now or never". It did not go completely unnoticed. Once when my mom was picking me up from a playdate, the other mother asked her if she starved me.
So food was my drug of choice from age 2 to about 23. But I still didn't know much about fudge or its density- and that it's basically just hardened butter and sugar. I guess I had spent all my olympic rebellion-eating on cookies and snickers and pecan sandies. Fudge was a specialty food which I didn't understand.
So that night in 2002, once my little cousins had fallen asleep and the dogs stopped barking at the ghost in the corner of the room, I tried a piece of fudge, and it was great. So naturally, I ate the whole box.
I felt sick, but that was normal. Just another day in the life. This was probably the first year I started realizing that my olympic eating might start to have some repercussions, but drug addictions are hard to kick.
I went home that night feeling sick and full. Sort of sicker than usual. But whatever, it would pass.
When I woke up early in the morning, the room was spinning and I threw up three times in the toilet. Woops.
When I casually told Sarah that her fudge was great and I ate the whole box and then woke up and threw it all up, she looked at me like I was out of my mind. I thought it was just a pretty amusing and dramatic bodily reaction to a normal activity of mine: eating a hell of a lot. But then she told me that I probably put my body into some kind of diabetic shock because I basically just ate a whole bag of sugar and whole box of butter.
You'd think this could have been a wake-up call to stop my careless ways, but it wasn't.