“Every day, Seth and I argue about what to have for dinner,” said Liz, 49, a business consultant and mother of Sam, 17, and David, 13. “If we don’t settle the menu in the morning, we’ll bicker by phone all day long. Often the easiest solution is to eat out. But then we fight about the restaurant.”
“Seth is a steak-and-potatoes guy who tolerates the occasional chicken breast or bowl of pasta. I, on the other hand, will eat anything — and it shows. During our 23-year marriage, I have gained 85 pounds and with one exception have never stuck to a diet. But Seth bears some of the blame — he sabotages my dieting!
“He won’t cook unless he’s grilling outdoors. And if I prepare a healthy dinner, he’ll push the food around his plate and sulk. The boys have picked up on our bad habits. From Seth they’ve learned to be picky, and from me they’ve learned to equate food with comfort — to the point where they both have weight problems, too.
“My love affair with food dates back to childhood, when my parents used food as a reward for every occasion. If there was something to celebrate, we’d have cake; if one of us four kids was sad, an ice-cream cone would chase the blues away. As a girl I wasn’t quite fat, but I was never really thin, either. I always got that classic line, ‘You have such a pretty face — if only you’d lose a few pounds.’
“My late father worked in purchasing for a department store; Mom was a homemaker but worked part time. She always drove herself hard and expected no less of us. When we didn’t meet her exacting standards, she’d guilt-trip us. Even now, at 74, she prepares a daily to-do list and gets upset if, say, bad weather keeps her from pruning her rosebushes.