Reflections

I’m not quite sure where my love affair with food began, but I find many of life’s memories, beginning with the earliest are tied in someway to food. Birthday parties, holidays, major events- all food related. If I try to recall some of my favorite places I’ve been, or things that I’ve done, all have food as a requisite part of the experience.

In some ways, I don’t think this is bad. For one thing, I have developed a true passion for cooking and creativity in the kitchen. I enjoy both cooking, and baking, and have even been blessed to make a side business out of my cakes and cupcakes. I have experienced fresh, delicious dishes from all over the world. Pizza Margareta in Rome, fish and chips in London, rack of lamb in Australia, fresh seafood on Saint Simon’s Island, fresh prawns from the coast of Sorrento. I am more fortunate than many for the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve experienced.

But at some point it developed from learning and experience and moderation to excess, and necessity and cravings. It went from fresh ingredients and exciting new experiences to food as the reason, the required. Every milestone marked with an excessive meal. I stopped taking the time to truly enjoy, experience, and be grateful for the food, and simply dependent upon it to move through life.

When I think of holidays at Grandma’s I think of the never-ending snack table. Cheese balls and crackers, shrimp and cocktail sauce, black olives, green olives, cheese and pepperoni, veggies and dip, chips and dip, bread and dip, and sodas on ice. All day until the highlight, the family dinner.

Grandma’s table is about 15 feet long and six feet wide, and my entire Italian family in all their glory gathered around year after year. Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year’s. Again for Easter. Family birthdays, anniversaries, just because. 15 feet of turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Rutabagas, Lima beans, sweet potatoes. Rolls, bread. Brown gravy, turkey gravy. Candied yams, parsnips, carrots. Corn, beans, and peas. Cranberry sauce with the can ridges still embedded in the soft, gelatinous velvet.

After the feast came the dessert. Cheesecake with cherries, cheesecake with blueberries. Pumpkin, apple, and banana creme pies. Brownies and cookies.

And let’s not forget turkey sandwiches before bed. Soft, white bread. A little bit of mayonnaise, salt, pepper…never complete without an ice cold glass of Pepsi. And yes, it has to be Pepsi.

I don’t remember ever gift I ever got, or ever story ever told. But I remember in clear, finite detail every morsel of food served at that table.

It’s the same with every major memory I recall. There is always a connected to food: Always connected to excess. Over the years, I stopped caring about the memories being made around the table, and focused only on the immediate satisfaction of too much, and disregarded the ramifications of that lifestyle. Vegetables spoiled in favor of McDonald’s. I stopped trying to learn about food and enjoy food, and simply kept on eating food.

I paid no mind to the things that I was putting into my body. The chemicals, the preservatives. The fat and cholesterol, the sodium. It’s time to take that back. It’s time to start getting back out of food the love and passion that I put into it. It’s time to turn the stove back on, and fill my body with beautiful, healthful things and let my body benefit from the things I create, not suffer from the fast food nation.

I think, ultimately, that’s what my weight loss journey means to me. Fixing the damage that I have caused to my body, and sustaining this beautiful life that I have begun. But beyond the food, 2012 is about getting rid of all of the artificial, the unhealthy, and the unnecessary from my life, and to fill it with  positive, uplifting, fulfilling things.

It’s time to sever the ties of dependence on food, and take back control of my life, and my body.

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