I have a little bookmark made of paper. It is yellow with brightly colored, markered words on it and a piece of yarn laced through the hole punched in the top. My son made it for me when he was six. It says, "I love you Mom" on it, and has little red hearts and a rainbow drawn on it.
It means a lot to me, that little yellow bookmark. It takes me back to the treasured days when my grown sons were little, still wanted to hold my hand and sit on my lap and have stories with me every night. That son is grown now, 21 in fact, and is away at college. I miss him.
The little yellow bookmark has a lot of emotions attached to it, because of who made it and what it stands for. But deconstruct the bookmark, and it is just paper and yarn. A practically worthless, old, faded piece of construction paper that no one would bother to save. It has no *real* value. I couldn't sell it in a yard sale or on eBay or to a paper collector. But to me, it has a lot of meaning and emotion.
Think about it. In reality, things are THINGS. Just objects, standing alone. They only have value and meaning if we *give* it to them. I have created in my own mind the emotion and reaction I have to that paper.
It's the same with food. Take cupcakes, for example. Cupcakes are crazily popular right now. there are cupcake boutiques and cupcake specialists at every turn. Why? Because they're cute. They seem fancy and indulgent and happy. We, people, have given cupcakes an emotional attachment. That's why when I walk past a bakery case and I see a variety of cupcakes, I want them. They are little and compact and have beautiful swirls of colorful frosting on them. Sometimes they have sprinkles or candies or sauce on top. They cost way more than a cake would, per serving, if you go to a cupcake shop. There's a place nearby that charges $3.50 per cupcake, and people flock to pay it. There's just something about a cupcake.
Sometimes it is a special food from our childhood that has an emotional attachment. For me, Reuben sandwiches make me feel close to my father. He is dead, and I never ate a Reuben sandwich when he was alive. But suddenly when he was gone they had an intense appeal. I still crave them sometimes, when really I am craving my father.
Take a second look at that food you are having an emotional reaction to. A cupcake is just flour, sugar, fat. A bunch of colors and flavors. It's nothing magical. It's just packaged to make you think it is. And a Reuben is just fatty meat and cheese and stuff on bread. Not anything emotional there. Just a dead cow and a bunch of stuff to clog your arteries. Really. If you take the time to deconstruct what you're craving, it sort of loses its magic, sometimes. The trick is remembering to turn your brain on and deconstruct before putting it in your body on an emotional whim.
I try very hard to think about what I am putting in my mouth. I want to see my food for what it is. It is fuel, first and foremost. Now, I have never been a "food is just fuel" person. Food is *way* more than fuel to me. And there is nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. We are meant to enjoy what we eat. And it is even okay to have the memories of grandma when you eat a slice of peach pie, or have a flashback to childhood when you eat macaroni and cheese. Just like there's nothing wrong with my emotional attachment to that little scrap of yellow paper. But THINK. Would I run into a burning building to save that bookmark? No! It is just paper! Same with food. Make an informed choice. Deconstruct it, and *decide* whether you actually want the food in front of you... the cupcake or the Reuben or the pie... or is the emotional attachment clouding your judgement? Just think first.
There is a book I read some time ago that got me started on deconstructing my food. I forgot about it for awhile, and just recently started paying more attention again. The book is called Twinkie, Deconstructed and it is just what it sounds like: a look at each ingredient that goes into making a Twinkie. Fascinating. (By the way, if you have a Kindle, you can download the first chapter of this book for free on Amazon.) It really makes a difference when you start to think logically about what is in front of you, rather than going on emotion.
Today I did my physical therapy and it was *less* painful than it was on Monday. It still hurts but wasn't excruciating. The best thing about PT is how quickly you see results if you stick with it. I am also biking 10 minutes every day, which I did yesterday and today already. I go 2.25 miles in that 10 minutes.
That's all for today. I'm going to eat my steak salad now!
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