December 26 Soul Food
What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?
The person who asked this question had no idea what she was in for.
It doesn't matter what I ate. I ate a lot of things. The size of my bottom reflects that. What matters is how food "touched my soul".
To some, that might be a good thing. I understand a lot of people have positive associations between their food and home life with family, or friends, or whatever. It's incredibly common for a flavor to bring memories flooding to the surface, and that's fine for most people.
I, however, am not most people.
Food only "touches my soul" in the sense that I use it to soothe emotions I should deal with in other ways. I want to STOP this. I need to change the way I view food. Mim told me a story once about how she used to love Moon Pies. She used to go get them with her family, and they were dirt poor so it was a very special (and rare) treat. Over the years she got Moon Pies all the time, and I'm sure they brought back awesome memories of good times with her family as a kid. But as she has been working on her eating and such, she's tried Moon Pies, and other foods she associates with good times, and realized that she doesn't even like the taste. And once she told me that story, I started thinking about my food memories. It turns out I don't even like pumpkin pie (if Mim knew that she'd swear I was adopted or something), but when we had Thanksgiving together as a family, and Dad was actually being pleasant and we had a good conversation, and I had pumpkin pie, I just felt like we were a real family and that felt really good. Years later, surprise surprise, I tried some pumpkin pie and realized that it just isn't that good to me.
I have a lot of foods that I only eat because of the memories. I don't even necessarily do it consciously. When I'm upset (or bored, or depressed, or lonely, or tired, or...) and all I want to do is stuff my face, I go back to those foods.
What I need to do is change the way I think about food. What is food to me now? Comfort. An excuse to gather together. Traditions. There are so many things food is to me that have nothing to do with keeping me alive. I'm not saying it's bad for someone to get together and have dinner with family or friends. I'm not saying that food traditions are bad, either. In fact, I think they can be wonderful. Because of several stupid little things, Christmas Eve cheeseburgers didn't happen this year. That's something we do every year, and I was really disappointed. And that's ok.
But I need to change the way I think, overall, about food. I need food to survive. Can that food be delicious? Absolutely. I really hope it is! But it needs to be healthy and limited. I don't need more than one serving. If I'm upset (or bored, or depressed, or...you know) I need to talk it out. If I'm angry, I've found in the past that going and getting some exercise helps me calm down (and I tend to get a very intense workout, too!). Think of how healthy my heart would be if instead of grabbing candy or baked goods (my kryptonite) when I need comfort, I would go get some exercise. My hips would thank me, too. The day I found out Dad was getting married, I was upset so I went to the gym and did six miles, and it felt amazing and empowering, and I had time to think all my angry thoughts and get it all out of my system (notice I called him Dad. He got me a very nice present for Christmas, and I've had time to cool down, so my heart's a bit softer today) (progress!).
It's a long journey, and it sucks most of the time, but I'll get there eventually.