She is my constant companion, my eating partner, my other self. She smiles at me encouragingly when we pass the bagel and cream cheese platter in the break room. When I want some dark chocolate, we nudge each other and giggle. "Yes, let's!" she says. She nods sagely when I want a cheeseburger and fries saying, "Of course you need it. Today only." Sometimes we argue. I counter her advice with my reasoning. That actually, I don't need those things. I'm eating vegetables and fruit instead. When I am strong enough, she usually listens to me. And with pride I watch my portions, I plan meals and feel good. Then there is that one week of the month, when I'm in the shadow, and she's in the lead. She strides through the food court skillfully choosing the saltiest and most satisfying potato chips. At night she helps herself to the old portion size we used to take regularly. It still isn't enough. After dinner she opens and closes the cupboard and refrigerator doors in search of more, more and more. And I'm behind her silently willing her to stop, but feeling powerless, sometimes even justified. It's a period thing, it's unavoidable, it's only one week, and I'll go to the gym tomorrow excuses flutter around my brain while I'm searching for more to eat.
When we go clothes shopping, she is sheepish and embarrassed that she encouraged me all those times. And I remind myself that she isn't in control. I am. And the only way to smaller numbers on the scale is to eat healthfully. And keep my so called friend in the light, in perspective, not hidden away like a demon. I can only challenge her to stay with me on the long road ahead.