Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February's Perfect Storm

This year, both "Fat Tuesday" and Valentine's day fall in the same week. Traditionally, both of these holidays have nothing to do with each other. The former is a celebration--dare I say a final binge (alcohol, sweets like King Cake, and pancakes)--before the season of Lent begins during which we refrain from these "temptations" so that we can completely focus our relationship with God (Please note that I am turning this into a religious post. I am just giving you a refresher on the roots of Fat Tuesday beyond the Mardi Gras celebrations, beads, Bourbon Street, and Girls Gone Wild Part XXX. For clarity, I am not very religious at all to be honest but I will discuss that tomorrow). The latter holiday, which I talked about yesterday, was created as a way to celebrate and recognize our loved ones and what they mean to us in honor of St. Valentine who was martyred for performing marriages (leave it to Halmark to dig up some esoteric saint and make millions off him). While both these holidays have Christian origins, they currenetly share the practice of major indulgence. On both days, we celebrate with lots of sweets, alcohol, and processed carbohydrates.

Ironically, in the midst of both these binge fests, we added another "holiday" into the mix, National Eating Disorder Awareness Month. These three events all seem to conflict with each other. On the one side we have two holidays marked by massive eating of pancakes and chocolate and on the other a recognition of the disease of anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and overall people's problem with body image and its relationship to eating. I, however, think all three go perfectly together in a sweet and spicy way.

Having gone through two separate bouts of the eating disorders (see my 110lb journey tab for a more detailed story), it's hard for me to look at a box of chocolate or a stack of pancakes without feeling guilty. I do not even have to eat one and the pangs of anxiety come back that leave me reaching for my gym card and looking at my body in the mirror. Even though I would say that my ED (Eating Disorder not erectile dysfunction) is in remission, old habits die hard. I struggle therefore with holidays like Fat Tuesday and Valentines Day where food seems to be the center of attention.

Take it off!!!
This year, in light of National Eating Disorder Awareness Month, I am approaching both these holidays though from a new, healthful perspective. I am looking at Fat Tuesday as it was historically (without the religious undertones per se). Like it was back in the middle century pre-Bourbon street (I personally think there was always a Bourbon street), it is a holiday of introspection and self cleaning. I am looking at what in my life is distracting me from a closer relationship to others and to myself and asking myself what in my life I need to put back into balance. Is there anything in particular that I am overindulging in? For some this may indeed be fat and sugar. For others it maybe Facebook and Twitter. I am still thinking where the "fat" that I need to trim in my life. Chances are though it will not be on my body.

I am approaching Valentine's Day in a similar way. The roots of the holiday, away from the weeds of Halmark and Hershey's, are fairly strong. It is a day to celebrate the person you love. This year, therefore, since I have no girlfriend or valentine (Ladies, there is still time), my body is going to be my Valentine. I am going to wake up on Thursday and give myself a big hug then I am going to make it a nourishing breakfast in bed to thank it for all that it does for me. I may neglect it sometimes and not give it the recognition it deserves, but on this Valentine's day I am really going to treat it the way it deserves (Note though that breaking it down in a killer workout is NOT considered abuse). Even if I do indulge in one chocolate, it will not kill my body. In fact that one piece maybe a good thing but thats just my two watts.

Tomorrow I will discuss Lent and how my what my secular Lenten disciplines will be, so stayed tuned!  

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