Part 1: My Grandmothers
Eat, eat mammele. Ess upp. Groise oigen. Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Kugel and cholent and challah and sugar cookies. Pizza and fries. Studying for high school finals with a can of Coke and a bag of mesquite potato chips in my room above the garage. Every time. Effortless and guileless.
Part 2: Post-partum
Too big, how long will it take to lose the baby weight? “You look great, like you never had a baby!” Maybe this is the “dieting thing” they were always talking about. But who’s the bad guy? Carbs? Sugar? Fat? Man, dieting is confusing. This mental conversation, happening in my post-partum mind. In the hospital room. Exercise, maybe. But I’m getting older. So maybe it just won’t ever be the same. Maybe. And there will be more babies. I hope. And more baby weight. Sigh.
Part 3: Fighting Acceptance
It’s just a matter of accepting the fact that I’m older. I’m older! I’m not 17 anymore, OK? Maybe 30-year-olds were just never intended to look like 17-year-olds (except I know some who do). When did I start second guessing every stupid morsel I put in my mouth? And this religion is full of food! Challah, latkes, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, engagements, fundraising dinners, Shabbat. And only six fast days. These are depressing ratios.
Part 4: Fad Diets
You know. There are people, unlike you, who are remarkably self-disciplined. They avoid meat and poultry. Fish. Dairy. Eggs. Sugar and flour and oil and wine and caffeine and FOOD COLORING AND ANYTHING YOU CAN’T PRONOUNCE AND SOMETIMES ALL OF THE ABOVE. While you eat three pieces of challah followed by a full-scale violation of all of the above. They are healthy and fit and in control. You are lazy and unmotivated and sporadic. Just sayin’.
Part 5: Love
You are a beautiful human being. You are a child of G-d. You have a miraculous body that breathes and digests and hugs and has even birthed children – incredible, autonomous human beings. Your body is a gift. Your body is a treasure. Your body is a vessel for your soul. It will never look like someone else’s, nor should it. It deserves respect and trust. Listen to its whispers. When it’s hungry, feed it. When it’s full, stop. Exercise and clean it and walk it and love it like a beloved pet, not for punishment. Celebrate and enjoy your food for the gift it is. The colors, the flavors, the nourishment. The bonding with friends and family over a delicious meal, devoid of angst and guilt. A miracle.
Part 6: Thank You
Thank you, G-d, for this gift of acceptance. It’s been a long journey of discovery. I’m glad I’m home. I suspect the journey isn’t over, but when you encounter certain truths, you just feel it in your kishkes. And this is one of them.