Weighty Matters

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Holiday Eating – License to Ill?

on April 8, 2012

Happy Easter to all who celebrate the day.  A belated Happy Passover to my Jewish family members and friends.

It’s a quiet, sunny, lovely day on the harbor at my home.  Unfortunately, it’s too windy to take out my now repaired boat, but that’s okay.  I have a lot to accomplish today before I go away next week.

I didn’t make big plans for the holiday.  In recent years, I cooked dinner and invited friends over for the meal.  Not doing that today had less to do with my new way of eating and more to do with the above mentioned “lot to accomplish”.  I am, however, going to cook much more of a meal than I have in more than three months.  A good friend is caring for a terminally ill loved one.   I remember from when my mother was terminally ill how much I appreciated when someone offered to make dinner for us.  It was a relief to not have to figure out and prepare a meal.

I’ve been thinking a lot about family holidays the way we celebrated them when I was growing up.  No matter what the holiday, dinner was always a big deal — whether Christmas or Easter with a big sit-down meal planned or a 4th of July barbecue.  Food, food and more food.

Holidays were also days when I felt like I gained a reprieve from lectures about how much or what I chose to eat.  If family members still watched and catalogued what I put on my plate and in my mouth, they kept their opinions to themselves.  It was like I had a license to eat on those days, even if I could consume enough to make me sick.  License to Ill for sure.   I looked forward to those meals all day long — and not just because my mother was a world class cook.  Even if we were going to one of my grandmothers (Italian feasts at one house or a succulent roast at the other) the food was always going to be something that I loved and I relished being able to eat.

I never really thought twice about any negative implications of what we put on the table until one fall when my brother was in college.  He went away to school and came back a vegetarian and health food fan who was suddenly shopping for clothes at the Salvation Army and making his own granola and yogurt.  While he lost his liking for meat products, he didn’t lose his cutting wit.  (We both have a healthy vein of smart assedness running through us even now.)  I remember him looking at the Thanksgiving table with all of the various dishes and exclaiming with scorn, “Is anybody planning to eat anything other than Starch?”

Looking back, he was right.  It probably is overkill to have bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and candied sweet potatoes at one meal.  If we’re going to be truly honest, green bean casserole technically has vegetables  in it, but it isn’t one of those healthy concoctions.  Ditto on creamed corn.

One year I was on my restrictive, medically-supervised, 9 ounces of protein a day and that’s it, diet on which I lost over 100 pounds.  It was so difficult to chew on my six ounces of turkey meat while the sight and scent of all of the other dishes tortured me.  I freely admit that I sneaked bites of everything away from everyone else while I helped clear the table after the meal.

So this is my first holiday, post- weight loss surgery.  The only focus I’m devoting to food, other than meeting my nutritional needs today, is the meal I’ll assemble for my friend.  I’m going to keep a very small portion of it out for my own dinner.

I don’t need to pile up a plate and overfill my stomach in order to celebrate.  My holiday today is about treating myself well, acknowledging all of the things for which I am grateful today, and celebrating a good and happy life.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday.

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2 responses to “Holiday Eating – License to Ill?

  1. Judie says:

    Hope your Easter was happy.
    We kept it simple this year. There was a little candy, just ’cause — well, yeah old traditions. But the eggs had money in them and breakfast was just hard boilded eggs instead of usual carbo / fat / sugar load we used to eat.

    That was nice to help out a friend. I know it was always apprecitated when my dad was having rough times.

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