Dude is on fire. He wakes up and it's on. We are running up and down the hallway behind a truck. We are picking up books and wanting them read to us instantly and then another one. We are grabbing the drawer handles and pulling and seeing what's in there and taking things out. Even though he's sweet and funny and we go on awesome walks and trips to the park, mama is tired at the end of the day.
So, on to the topic. FOOD.
I have a love hate relationship with food. Love in that I love it. Very much. And hate in that I love it, maybe too much.
Food is the one luxury I feel I can give myself all the time. I don't make enough for extravagant things. I mean, I live a decent life and I have it better than a lot of people. For one thing, I'm blogging right now, not searching for safe drinkable water. I mean, I am on top of the world in that regard. But you know, I buy most of my clothes at Target and I do it fairly rarely. We don't go on vacations and when we do we feel super guilty for a two day trip to Vegas for like the rest of the year. Almost everything of Jack's is a hand-me-down or a gift from friends or family. I own a lot of beat up handbags and shoes that need inserts in order to be comfortable. Almost all of my jewelry is costume jewelry. I suppose I could have fewer things that are of higher quality. I suppose.
Anyway, the one place in my life where I feel like I should have an overabundance and the highest quality is food. Food has chemical properties that can increase dopamine and serotonin levels, so I know it can literally make you feel rewarded and happy. But besides the biological, there are cultural rewards as well. Food offers me the opportunity to be creative, to feel enjoyment, and to provide for other people. It's like my favorite thing. I enjoy trying different flavors, and I love working on recipes to get them to the most pleasing taste and appearance. I have great food memories and as a Cuban American, great food experiences going back to childhood. I think food can make you all kinds of happy. That's obviously a red flag.
|I make amazing Turkey Andouille Chili that is only 3 Weight Watchers Points.|
Food can make people happy. That's a good thing. You can't always afford a gift, but you can make a great tasting meal that is pleasing and enjoyable. But using food as a route to happiness can lead to trouble. I mean, emotional hunger doesn't stop just because you're full. You eat because you are trying to get that reward feeling, that satisfaction, not because you're particularly hungry. I find myself saying (internally) things like, "I deserve this big serving of pasta, I've had a bad day." Or, "you know what, screw this diet, I shouldn't have to be deprived all the time." It can be a slippery slope once you make that choice.
I have struggled with weight for, oh about 8 years. A lot less than people who've been husky their whole lives. Before then, up to my early 20s, I ate whatever I wanted and stayed the same 125 lbs. I think I'm bitter that age changes things and I can't live like I did before. I am totally mad that my body led me all the way through 26 years of food abundance only to one day just decide to turn off whatever metabolism switch is in there without notice. I watch what I eat more now than ever, and I can't even see a time when I'll weigh 125 lbs again. There are days when I relapse and enjoy cheese steak sandwiches, or fast food burgers. It creates a cycle of guilt and shame that makes it very difficult to look at food without all the emotional baggage. I love vegetables and fruits and all sorts of things that are good for me, but you know, I also really love bechamel based sauces. I enjoy a croissant sandwich, the most secretly decadent of sandwiches. A devil's food cupcake with buttercream frosting is a beautiful thing.
A beautiful thing. And it can be a horrible thing if you feel guilty about having it after a big dinner. Or if you think you don't deserve it because you've been lazy about getting to the gym. I make batches of cupcakes like the one above, take out four of them for us, and send the rest with M. to work.
I'm on Weight Watchers again, just to have some semblance of control over my portions. After a while you forget how much food "costs" and you don't think about how many chips you're eating. The WW plan at least makes me feel accountable. I'm working out at the gym on campus the two days a week I teach. It's a hard road, but I'm feeling optimistic. I'm also, you know, feeling hungry.
So that's my issue with food. Next time: Places!