It Was So Simple Then...Food Was Just Food

It was so simple then. I moved, played, kicked and swam for the joy of it. I ate when my stomach asked for food...and the food tasted so good. There was no guilt attached.

There is a sense of freedom in the water. The dolphin dives down and up over and over again, holding my breath and swimming as far as I could from one dock to the other, cannon balls and head first dives off the raft, arms cutting through the smooth water surface in a rhythmical fashion, smiling the whole time. I loved Sunday mornings at Hoods Pond.

My father would call me up for breakfast, I had been swimming for 2 hours now, all by myself, it was just after 9am. Where did the time go?

I could smell the bacon as soon as I emerged from the water. MMM...bacon, eggs and my favorite…pancakes with syrup, cooked on the old Colman Grill. I would cover up in my Steelers sweatshirt (yes, I said Steelers) and a towel. I was hungry and ready to eat. The food tasted so good. I loved those pancakes. There was no thought about how many calories I was eating, how many carbs where in the pancakes, how much exercise I would have to do to burn it all off, what had I eaten the night before. It was so simple then.

By the age of 11, I was dieting, doing numerous sit-ups in my room every night. I remember it distinctly the proud moment I left the dinner table in such contro. I marched upstairs and did 20 sit-ups, then 20 more, more and more every day. I was always cold, I covered myself in layers, hid myself. I began to dread the trips to Hoods Pond. It was to cold there. I would sit in my oversized sweatshirt and watch others swim, worried about my body, thinking about eating pancakes and bacon, repulsed by my own thoughts.

Decades of overthinking food choices... I even built a career around moving (that way I could always exercise all the time) which gave me the permission to eat. I now sometimes still get a physical reaction to pancakes (one path in my brain saying too many carbs, another too many calories).

My eyes begin to tear up...wishing for the innocence of the past, when food tasted so good and had no underlying meaning, and swimming was joyful, not a calorie burning exercise where I get too cold. It was so simple then.

Letting go of getting my own permission to eat has been a journey for me. My newest mantra when it comes to food now, "I am hungry, its time to eat, it is so simple now." I think I will order the pancakes for breakfast.

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