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A Food-Centric Life

Every vacation, my family spends most of the day planning for a meal: when will we have lunch? Who's ready for dinner? Did you make reservations? What's the plan for breakfast? Is that too early? Too late? Too much?

It's exhausting. It's not, however, all that different from how I live my life day-to-day. If I don't have meals prepped for the week, I spend a lot of my time driving through restaurants or picking up take-out or scrounging snacks from the pantry. Sometimes, I indulge in gas station food. I'm partial to that chemical cheese that comes in a jar and can be found on the same aisle as chips. I also have a soft spot for Sheetz and Wawa is beginning to grow on me.

I think about food constantly. What will I eat? What have I eaten? When will I eat? What's nearby to eat? Have I eaten enough/properly/recently? My whole life has been preoccupied with food and eating. My favorite thing to do while traveling is to eat the local fare: in Texas, you've gotta have some Whataburger; in Kentucky, it's Pal's; California will be In n Out. I live in Maryland and regularly have a hankering for fries from Roy Rogers. I love Tex Mex, pizza, pasta, shrimp and grits (a must when in South Carolina and/or Georgia), french fries (always), and sweets of nearly any variety. I still have a very clear and vivid memory of my first visit to a French patisserie in Paris when I was 16. My first bite into a pear and almond tart was absolutely a life-changing moment for me. So, yeah, food. Always food.

Being food-centric isn't necessarily the problem, though. Lots of people have a healthy respect for food and seek out exciting/fresh/new food experiences all the time. My relationship with food isn't a good one. I love it, sure, but I also resent it. I resent that the food I love makes me sluggish, unhappy, stressed. I hate that no matter how much I learn to love myself, I'll never look the way I've always dreamed of looking. I blame food for this. I blame my love of food for this. I have a broken relationship with food. I'm pretty sure my whole family does. Growing up, food was always a source of stress.

I recently had a glimpse at life without always thinking about food. It was brief but satisfying. I could fill up all that time thinking about other things! Accomplishing tasks! Feeling fulfilled! It would be a relief, honestly, not to feel so occupied by food and eating. Maybe some day soon, I'll be able to find some relief from this lifelong preoccupation. And maybe I never will...but, either way, I am hopeful about repairing what is broken between me and food. In the past, I thought that would mean that I wouldn't be able to enjoy food anymore. I don't believe that's true anymore. I think I can repair this relationship without destroying what I love most about food. And, in the meantime, I'm avoiding fast food for a while. Keep me in your prayers!

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