My first love .. a break-up story

10:06 AM

Those closest to me know I have for many, many years now been in a super serious relationship.. and now I'm that about to turn 30 this year, I'm finally willing to admit that the object of my affection may be an unhealthy one. I think it's finally time to break it off with my dinner plate.

This won't be an easy task. We've been together since I was little. Food really gets me. I'm not an emotional eater, as in tubs of ice cream after an actual break up or hidden snacks in the pantry. In fact, I don't snack. I don't like ice cream, chocolate, or candy. My vices are far worse.
I like medium rare steak, hard cheeses, and anything that can be topped with a sauce that ends in -aise. Oh, and then there's the matter of wine to accompany these meals.

One of the Hippo's many glorious bread pudding concoctions.
I thought I would download an app to help me track the expense of calories earlier this week, just to learn how I've been eating thus far. In order to meet my fitness goals, it's recommended that a woman my size and age should be consuming between 1100 to 1300  calories a day. That's roughly 400 a meal, if we're talking breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It didn't help anything that I started off the New Year with the Keg & Barrel's amazing buffet-- fried chicken, cabbage, greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, collards & black-eyed peas (for luck, of course), and my other vice, mac & cheese! FYI.. that meal tallied to 1,121 calories. So pack it up, that was my recommended daily intake in roughly an hour. I didn't even bother to look up the calorie cost of my Bloody Mary. Regardless, I stand by my decision.
That meal was worth every sit up it will cost me later.

John Neal's temptations aside, it turns out that my much more normally portioned dinners and lunches are averaging around 500 calories a meal. At that rate, it's no wonder that I can spend an hour in the gym 2 days a week plus an hour of yoga 2 days a week and see virtually no weight loss. In fact, with all the holiday eating between family gatherings, Christmas parties and a slew of gifted snack foods, I've gained an extra 5 lbs. since November.

The really elusive thing is that my goal weight is less than 10 lbs away from me. If anyone has been on a massive journey to lose serious body fat and has seen a transformation after months (or years of hard work), first of all, I applaud you for your dedication. But you can attest that it's not the first few pounds that are difficult to shed. It's the last 50, or 20 away from your goal weight. The closer you get to your goal, the more complex your plan of attack must be. And by complex, I mean different than the lifestyle that got you the extra pounds to begin with. And likewise, any setbacks to this goal can easily send you down a rabbit hole of excuses, delayed starts and poor decisions until you are nearly back where you started or worse.

What I've realized about the pursuit of health is that it has to start in the head. For me personally, I'll require a written, strategic plan of action regarding my diet and time spent in the gym. But I'm referring to the psychological element of motivating yourself to accomplish any goal. The juice has to be worth the squeeze. And what your neighbor or peers consider worth it may not have much bearing on what you consider worth it.

Timing is everything. Six years ago when I needed to lose a few pounds, I wouldn't have had the motivation to do what it took. Because I was 23 at the time, those lbs fell off with little to no effort, thank you metabolism. But that special gift is now wearing off, and probably at some sort of exponential rate. In other words, I have the present to get it together and take charge of my body, or I'll have a lot more work to do in the future.

Why food is such an important part of my life is a long story, but the 50 cent version is this. I grew up in a household where every meal was a small celebration, or a way for our family to come together and talk. My mother is a great cook. My grandmother was a great cook. This might ring familiar for many growing up in the south. But there was an added level of pressure to clean my plate. My mother immigrated to America in the 70's from a very poor country. She was one of 10 children. To not eat the meal that was provided would not only have been insulting. It was downright foolish. And she passed the same deep appreciation for meal time on to me. As a result, there is very little food I don't like. (Anchovies, I don't like anchovies.) And therein lies the problem too.. there is very little food I don't like.

And so, Dinner, I'm breaking up with you. We can't see each other same way we have in the past. I've allowed myself to become obsessed with you. Thinking about you when you aren't around, wondering when I'll get to see you next.

As with any break-up, there will be inevitable slips. I'll forget myself and indulge in a tomato pie slice from Gratefull Soul. Or damn if the chefs at Hippo don't put an unrequested but totally gorgeous hunk of salted caramel bread pudding on my table this week. (It really was amazing and if you can handle moderation better than me, I recommend it.)

Look here, Food. I know you and I both were once sure we belonged together 4EVER. But we can't be as involved, not like this.

Can we just be friends?

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  1. Jackstar, you are such a talented writer. As much as it pains me, I can def. relate to this topic. Wish you best of luck with your goals & look forward to reading about your successes -- and struggles.


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