Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our Daily Bread... and Cookies... and Pies...


Food.  So many people have a love-hate relationship with our daily sustenance. 

A few, rare souls give very little emotional or mental energy to what they put in the systems because they have the metabolism of a chipmunk on a treadmill and can eat whatever they want. I admit, I don't get these folks at all. I have a complete lack of understanding or empathy for them, and maybe in my meaner moments, even dislike them a bit. But there is another category of eaters I envy—the ones who love and celebrate food and have made a peace with the role it has in their lives. I don’t profess to understand this group any more clearly than the previous, but it’s a concept that resonates with me, and I constantly strive to achieve.

I’ve never had a peace with food or my body. Ever. There have been periods throughout my life when I seem to have triumphed over the scale, but still many more when the scale raised its numerical fist with mighty numbers and triumphed over me. I fully confess, I don’t have a friendly relationship with this adversarial and esteem-crushing instrument.

This "weighty" topic (can I have a groan, please) is fresh in my mind as I both approach the holidays--a season of celebration in the form of delectable feasting--and a trip to Florida in February where I’m hoping the weather will invite the wearing of shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits by the ocean. Oh the conflicted bliss of both events!

I believe special celebrations of feasting are a God-ordained invitation. Throughout the Bible, and in most religions and regions of the world, celebrations are manifested in the form of breaking of fasts, abundant treats, family, friends and creative expression. And what screams creativity more than a plate full of gorgeous holiday cookies decorated with care, especially the kind with colorful little sprinkles or maybe a chocolate kiss in the middle…ahem, I digress. But my point is, holidays are a legitimate time to take joy in culinary treats and delight in those we love and share life with.

The problem, of course, isn’t in the day of feasting. It’s in the season of feasting—days, weeks and in the case of Thanksgiving and Christmas so close together, months of excessive and rich noshing. It’s in the non-celebratory, over-eating that I engage in year-round. It’s in having lost the distinction between joyful nourishment of my body with foods that are tasty and healthful, and eating to stuff my emotions and satiate my every taste desire. Therein lies the cycle of binge eating and dieting I get caught up in, the very one that beats up my self-esteem and makes me cringe if a camera is directed my way. Sad.

The other day I read an online article, Eat Like A Buddhist in 10 Easy Steps. The content isn't anything startling new, but it highlighted a contemplative, grateful and disciplined approach to the act of eating that struck me anew. And it reminded me of the category of people I mentioned above—the ones I wish I could truly emulate—those who have made peace with the delights of food and their body. It suggested savoring the tastes and textures of food, recognizing treats as exactly that—rare exceptions, and entering into a mindful quiet with my eating, which is, I admit, in direct contrast to my usual hasty and distracted snarfing.

Mostly, at least for me, it reminded me that eating is a communion with family and friends, a source of enjoyment in life, not a whipping post for my emotional insecurities and fears or a way to dull my inner pain. Of course, while my head grasps the concepts and my heart longs to be among those who have made their peace, actualizing it--putting it into practice in the face of ongoing temptations like pumpkin pies, gifts of baked goods and eggnog with rum--is the crux of the matter.  

I can use Florida as a sunny, warm catalyst for my motivation, but ultimately, I need to make a new emotional, mental and spiritual relationship with my daily bread (and maybe not so much emphasis on the bread). 

May our holidays be filled with the mindful and joyful celebration of family and friends and may our day of feasting be a break-- not the norm-- in our diets, a time to rejoice and be thankful for our abundance. And may the new year, full of healthy intentions, begin today. 



26 comments:

  1. I try not to worry about the whole food thing until after the holidays. Before Christmas, I just try to enjoy all the treats and delicious meals. I guess I make temporary peace with food.

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    1. Sounds like you have! I shall put you in the category I want to emulate. In the meantime, FL is just around the corner for me!

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  2. Hey just remember FL is a non judgemental state! What happens in FL stays in FL. Lol

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    1. I'm liking the sound of that! Can't wait for our girlie time!

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  3. A very thoughtful post, Julie, and full of wisdom. There's a delightful balance between receiving the abundance that the Lord has provided and overdoing the unhealthy style that the world says we can have. Your posting today captured it. Happy feasting, my friend. This is such a blessed season!

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    1. It IS such a happy season filled with so may delights-- I hate to drown them out with over doing it. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, as always.

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  4. The cookies with hersheys kisses in the middle? So much better if you use a mini peanut butter cup instead of a kiss. Just saying....

    It's a hard balance to find, but we can find it. I think taking a moment to be grateful for my food before I start to eat helps put me in a proper mindset. If I think about how much I have and how lucky I am to have it I tend to appreciate each bite more, rather than just scarfing down all I can reach.

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    1. Oooo I love little Reeses too-- good idea. (Or bad, LOL)

      I need to do exactly that: slow down and be grateful. I think you'r exactly right about the mindset. Good advice-- thank you.

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  5. Great thoughts on this life time problem we call food... I have to say since May I have really look at food differently in a good way. I do allow my chocolate moments and enjoy every bite, but as far as over eating, I really don't struggle with this anymore and can say no to certain foods. I thank God for this and well my insides don't like certain foods anymore :)

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    1. Stephhh--- first, thanks for stopping by and commenting. So what did you start doing differently in May? I still struggle with all this crud in my life, which is probably why the article struck me anew. Hugs my friend. Miss you.

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  6. Now I'm just hungry - can I blame you for heading to the fridge again? ;-) I'm curious about the article you mention. I'll have to check it out. I would love to not only avoid adding weight this season, but to LOSE at least ten pounds.

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    1. I'm with you, Sylvia on that goal. But I know "diets" rarely work for me long term. I think that's, in part, why this article gave me (wait for it...) "food for thought". (Couldn't resist).

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  7. I've had to drastically change my diet over the past two years, from eating jalapeno peppers and all of the spices I love, to eliminating these and other foods because of severe indigestion. I miss my spicy foods but still enjoy my chocolate. It's a struggle to eat healthy in a world full of over processed, chemical laden foods.

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    1. Boy do I find that true as well! I wish I could remember how much better I feel when I'm eating less and choosing healthier. My energy, digestion- the whole package just runs more smoothly.

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  8. Cupla things...how come this is the first I've heard about a trip to FL in Feb? I had to read it on the world wide web!

    Second...anything in moderation. Easier said than done, but true. I've not had a problem with weight (shoot me now), but I'm one of those rare, high metabolism folks that merely look at people exercising and lose the pounds.

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    1. Good thing I already know I like you... that's all I have to say about that! ;)

      As for Florida, yessss, we talked about it. I'll be at St Petes for a couple of days and then will be hanging out with my long-time BFF in Tampa for a week (she opened the invitation and man, I didn't let her off the hook!). I'm very, very and may I say again, very excited and ready for some warm sunshine, the sound of the ocean and a few drinks at a Tiki hut.

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    2. The GULF! It will be the Gulf of Mexico that you will hear. Do I have to learn you everything? Sheesh...landlubbers. ;)

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    3. Technically, doesn't the gulf receive it's water supply from the ocean? It's OK, we call you all Flatlanders and roll our eyes at how y'all use your brakes on the mountains and have no idea what a 14er is. I get it.

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    4. LOL! I use my brakes going UPhill and get dizzy at 30 feet. ;) Merry Christmas, my friend.

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  9. I have also had many of your problems. For I can just think about eating certain foods and gain five pounds. My brother, on the other hand, can eat 5-6 full meals a day and lose weight while not exerting himself anymore than I do while thinking about food and gaining weight!

    As my over-all health has steadily declined, I have ate less and less, and I now to the point of not being able to eat more than a cup full of anything at a time because my stomach shrinking. Oh, but that has not brought about all that much weight lose. Around a year ago, I lost around a hundred pounds without making any changes to my diet, and I have gained some of it back without eating more. Sigh.

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    1. Jerry- I'm sorry for your health issues-- that is not a good way to lose and/or gain weight at all. :( In which case, worrying about the scale is probably not the main issue.Prayers for full healing and recovery.

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    2. Jerry- I'm sorry for your health issues-- that is not a good way to lose and/or gain weight at all. :( In which case, worrying about the scale is probably not the main issue.Prayers for full healing and recovery.

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  10. It's too hard to diet around the holidays, so maybe it would help if you just ate smaller portions of your favorite foods. It also helps to move around more, and drink lots of water. Try not to worry, and I'm sure that you'll have a wonderful time in Florida.

    Julie

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  11. Oh Julie, I so feel this. There really are times that i am so all over this food thing. Meaning, I've got it all figured out. I have treats sometimes and not even a lot when I do, etc. All the good ways to eat. And there are times when I'm more black and white about things--good days and bad days. Which is NOT the way to go. Better to enjoy a little when I want and not make a federal case out of it. Those of us who have ever abused food and still can on occasion have it hard. Food is everywhere and part of every gathering.

    Really appreciated your thoughts on all this. As you can see--I relate 100%

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    1. Nina, I'm so glad you commented-- it's nice to know someone can relate to all these feelings. I am working very hard on being happy with who I am and as you suggested, keep my emotions and my eating moderate!

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