comfort food

The holiday season is upon us! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I didn’t go crazy on Thanksgiving, but I didn’t count my points. I ate potatoes. I had champagne. I ate dessert. It’s what the Pilgrims would have wanted.

Our culture is largely centered around celebrating with food. The majority of our culture is also overweight or obese. One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, does a very funny (and very accurate) bit about the holiday tradition of overeating. A good way to sum it up is “well, I don’t normally eat a burger, a brat, and a steak, but… it is the Fourth of July… it’s what the founding fathers would want.”

There’s a celebratory component to food. When you do a good job at work, your boss rewards the team with a pizza party or baked goods. Co-workers bring donuts in on the weekend. (I pretty much stay away from the break room. No good can come from it.) The holidays go hand-in-hand with feasts.Β It’s not a birthday without cake. Food = happiness. This is an idea that’s been ever present for most of us from a very early age.

There is an undeniable emotional component to eating. Eating makes us feel good. This happens on a chemical level: serotonin is a chemical in the brain that is released to alleviate physical and emotional pain. An imbalance or malfunction of the release of serotonin is a major cause of depression. When we eat refined sugars (CARBS!), our bodies manufacture and release serotonin. Quite literally, eating makes us happy.

We want to be happy. Eating makes us happy. Then we eat some more, and overeating makes us fat. And unhappy. So we eat more to become happy. And so on…

Once each month or so, the ladies have it worse than the men. We become emotionally-charged garbage disposals whose fuel is a combination of chocolate, fried food, and tears. Scary times.

This is something that I admittedly struggle with. This diet project has been successful so far, but the last few weeks have been rough. Stress at work. Holidays. Monthly cravings. I’m teetering around the same 2-3 pound window that will propel me into the home stretch, but I haven’t really been able to get past it. At this point in many past dieting attempts, I would go into “I’ve earned it” mode, or “this isn’t working, there is no point in doing this anymore” mode. Probably with some sort of carb a la mode. Ha ha…

I’ve been doing really well. I’ve also indulged a few times, and it’s slowed me down. Still, I’m discovering new things about myself and my complex relationship with food. I feel great to have finally named the blog, and I’m looking forward to a few months from now when I can post the before and after photos. The end is definitely in sight — I just have to keep it up. I’m getting back on track… tomorrow. Tonight, I am enjoying a glass of red wine. A large glass. πŸ˜‰

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the Freewheeling Foodographer

I’m really excited about this post.

A few weeks ago, I put a call out to my friends and readers in hopes that you’d help me name the blog. There were a lot of great names. I really latched on to a few, only to discover that they already existed. I’m happy to say that I’ve decided on a name: the Freewheeling Foodographer.

I put this name together with the help and inspiration of two people: Jade Sylvan and Tony Memmel. Jade’s submission was “Home-Cooked Wheels,” which inspired the wheel element. Tony suggested “Foodographic Memory” (which I loved!), and I took the Foodographer element from that.

This name really sums it all up. Freewheeling: wheels, driving, travel… but the real definition has to do with being carefree. Once the official diet is over, I hope to switch gears and be more carefree, or freewheelin’, when it comes to eating. But not carefree enough to drop the G at the end of freewheeling.

Foodographer. This combines everything: food, photography, cartography, geography… Anything that has to do with exploring and documenting new territory, whether it be on the road, or in the kitchen.

I’m very excited for Jade and Tony to guest blog in the future. Jade is a multi-talented author/poet/singer-songwriter based out of Cambridge, MA. Tony is my husband, and a very talented singer-songwriter. He is also my official taste-tester and road trip buddy. A priceless combination.

Thanks so much for reading!

Cheers,
Lesleigh

P.S…. 29 pounds. πŸ™‚

Election day: drown your sorrows, or celebrate

I have to say, I received a lot of good input for the blog-naming endeavor. Some were really great. Unfortunately, Eat Pray Love is already a book. And a movie.

I’m very close to naming the blog. A few combinations of suggestions have been awesome, but like Eat Pray Love, they already exist. Back to the drawing board.

Today is the big election, so I feel that almost anything I post on here will be lost in the shuffle. Donkeys and elephants aside, I’m still here writing about what’s for dinner. Probably some homemade mushroom soup.

Just a bit of exciting news: Not only am I down 25 pounds, but I am back in familiar territory. I’ve had to put away some clothes that are now “too big,” a phrase that I haven’t used in quite some time. I’ve accomplished a mini milestone: that old pair of jeans. The jeans that required every ounce of strength to zip, admit that “just because it zips, doesn’t mean it fits,” and then ultimately decide to put them away because “I’ll wear these again eventually.” Three years later, eventually is now. πŸ™‚

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Thanks for reading. All food and frivolity aside, please vote today. We all feel small and might wonder how our one vote could make a difference. We question if anything will ever really change, even if our candidate is elected. No matter what, whether we re-elect our current president, or choose a new one, today is an important day. Make an informed choice, go vote, and then go drown your sorrows or go celebrate with some good food and drink.

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