Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pancakes...and the smell of bacon

As I sit here on a rock looking out onto Lake Winnipesaukee in NH, I realize that I am drawn to water, I always have a kid, I would spend hours swimming at Hoods Pond in Topsfield in the summer.  

My favorite memories are of early Sunday Morning breakfasts.  We would arrive, the family and usually an extra kid or two, at about 7am.  No one was there,it was still, quiet, peaceful. I would break the silence almost immediately as I ran into the glass like water with a splash. Watching the ripples of my entry stream outward 360 degrees around me, smiling the whole time.

The freedom of 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 and back, cannon balls and head first dives off the raft, arms cutting through the smooth water surface in a rhythmical fashion.  

My father would call me in for breakfast, it would already be after 9.  Where did the time go?  I could smell the bacon as soon as I emerged from the water.  MMM...bacon, eggs and pancakes with syrup cooked on the old Colman Grill.  I would cover up in my Steelers (yes, at the time...) sweatshirt and towel, hungry and ready to eat.  The food tasted so good.  There was no thought to 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.  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...

By the age of 11 I was dieting, doing numerous sit-ups in my room.  I remember it distinctly the proud moment I left the dinner table in such control...I marched upstairs and did 20 sit-ups, then 20 more, then of course another 10 to round it out to 50....little did I know that by the end of that month I would be multiplying that 50 by 10...

I lost weight, I was always cold, I covered myself in layers, hid myself...Hoods Pond became a place dreaded, it was to cold, 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, built a career around moving (that way I could always exercise) that gave me the freedomto eat.  Deep built in messages to eat, you have to eat, why don't you just eat, your so stubborn, its not hard, what are you stupid?  

To this day I get a physical reaction to pancakes(one path in my brain saying too many carbs, and another one saying WOOHOOO Pancakes...)

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 calorie burning exercise where I get too cold.

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