Weighty Matters

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Food Isn’t An Event

on July 9, 2013

I received a long, wonderful, “catch up” email from a dear friend today.  She had weight loss surgery last fall and both knees replaced last month.  We’ve known each other for almost 20 years.  Of all of my friends, she most understands my food issues and struggles with the eating disease.

It was great to hear from her and learn how she’s doing with her recovery and rehab.  I’m so proud of her and excited for her future.  In her email she said something that really got me thinking.  In a nutshell she said that food cannot be her friend and it can’t be an event.   That has stayed with me ever since I read it.  I realize how often I made food an event even though I didn’t realize it.  It wasn’t enough for food to be part of a celebration or holiday.  It often became my focal point.  Sort of like, “Oh, great.  It’s Christmas.  Mom’s making Beef Wellington” or that the whole point of the birthday was the license it gave to eat cake and ice cream.

Those were just the big things.  There have been countless other times when food took on much greater relevance, when it surpassed the event to become the event itself.

It’s sort of a thin tightrope to walk.  Whether it’s a date, or a celebration, we’re big on the practice of marking such things with a fine meal. Whether we prepare it ourselves at home, or go for the entire ritual of dinner out, we give food this powerful quality.   It’s really difficult to sort it out emotionally.  How can I relish the reason for the celebration and make celebrating at all the reward without elevating food and eating to star status for the occasion?

So much of my focus is still on food these days.  In order to successfully proceed with my journey, I honestly need to think a lot about my food, what and how I’m going to eat.  Again, there’s a tightrope — to balance between not making food and eating an event, but giving enough thought and consideration to my planning and the way that I consume.

The pre-planning helps.  I’ve done well with putting together lunch and my snacks the night before.  It’s like once I’m prepared, I can forget about the food.  I don’t have to think about it anymore once everything’s packed up and ready to go.

For the rest of it, I think I need to work even more on the awareness factor.  I love the social aspects of going out with friends or family to eat.  I think it’s okay to roll in enjoyment of a tasty meal that someone else created, as long as that’s not the priority.  So, before I go out, I guess I’ll need to remind myself that the point of the evening is the socializing and company.   Food is the accessory.  An important one, for nutrition’s sake, but an accessory just the same.

There’s more here for me to delve into.  I’m not quite at the root, but it’s a start.  I need to think, consider, and process this some more.

 

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One response to “Food Isn’t An Event

  1. Skye says:

    Those are really great thoughts. I’d never really thought about them like that before, but sometimes the food really IS the event, such as birthday cake or Thanksgiving turkey. And it probably isn’t good for anybody to treat food like the event, even if they don’t have an eating disease.

    You are right: Awareness is key. It’s the key to most things, I think, including depression and anxiety and exercise and driving and relationships and so on.

    I look forward to your processing. I will ponder this myself. Thank you!

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