I love food. I think that it’s about time that I admit it. I love its taste. I love its color. I love its texture. I love its smell, and the warm memories that often go with that smell. I love the experience of eating. Yet I find myself at war with my body. I was a good soldier in this war. Each day I check my POWs, measured in terms of pounds lost. I take stock of the enemy’s forces by counting carbs. Waging military campaigns with names like “Atkins” or “South Beach”, I reconnoiter territory, setting some foods as off limits. And I close out the day by inflicting on the troops a boot camp regimen of exercise.

Okay, I’m too lazy to count anything before I eat, but I don’t want to get trapped in the tyranny of a (perpetual) diet. We make ourselves miserable, turning one of life’s simple pleasures into an ascetic torture. We remove the joy from eating.

So obvious fasting is one of those spiritual disciplines that’s not in the cards for me. As spiritual disciplines go, this was the one that always annoyed me. There is something about it that almost required you to proclaim “stand back, for I am holy, and I am fasting” (or maybe that was just me). However, this does remind me that there is a spiritual aspect to food.
Think of the fellowship that often surrounds the act of eating, be it with family or with friends, even co-workers. Think of how much more food is enjoyed when done in the company of people you love. Think of the religious ceremonies–communion, the Holy Feasts of ancient cultures, Ramadan, Kwanzaa–built around food.

My goal is to walk the line between gluttony and being a slave to a diet. Right now my “diet” mostly consists of me drinking water as my beverage of choice and having smaller portions of what I eat. Sure, I have a 0% muscle index and when I flex, nothing moves. And when my kids draw me, I am a bald face circle on top of another circle. Daddy the snowman figure. I’ve at least got to do something about that.