Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where I've Been...

Each new year begins with verve and the determination to tackle the world. In setting new goals for the year, I always have an earnest desire to write/play/cook/exercise/blog/ photograph/organize more. And eat more vegetables. I’m consistent in my goals, if nothing else.

I’ve been good with practicing and exercising consistently and I am eating more vegetables than ever, but I’ve had a hard time blogging in recent months. Perhaps you’ve noticed, if you’re someone who regularly checks this blog. Part of it is that life exploded after the big “60 Minutes: Endless Memory” story came out in December, and it’s taken me this many weeks to regain my equilibrium and discover what my new “normal” is as I’m being stretched in all sorts of different directions these days.

The other factor in my non-blogging is that much of my energy has been devoted to riding a major health&fitness kick the past few months, growing stronger and more confident while losing nearly fifty pounds in the process. I feel more comfortable in my skin than ever before, easily able to run five miles at a stretch or bound up the dozen flights of stairs to my apartment if I feel like it. I’m thrilled beyond belief that I can finally fit into clothes that have hung in my closet, unworn, since I was in my late twenties. I’m sitting on a plane while writing this, thinking how strange it was to haul my 48-pound suitcase onto the scale this morning, tangibly grasping the exact amount of extra weight I had been lugging around for far too long.

(Photo from a rooftop party last summer, at an all-time high weight. Let's just say that it was not my finest moment…)

People deal with pain in different ways, but throughout my life I always turned to food to comfort me. I know people who’ve dealt with professional disappointments and personal heartache in any number of unhealthy ways, whether it’s with chemical substances, workaholic tendencies or other addictions. My response to such challenges was always to raid the refrigerator as a form of self-medication. When the sting of rejection was particularly harsh, I dealt with it by starting my own chocolate truffle business to lift my spirits while satisfying my friends’ taste buds as well as my own. And when cranking out four thousand truffles in the space of a month wasn’t enough to drown out the pain, I eventually began Kitchen Fiddler, thinking that I could make myself feel better by writing about food as well.

Not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying one’s food, or writing about it or creating it for others.  However, I was definitely out of balance, using food as a way of placating and sometimes punishing myself. I know that I don’t need to do that anymore, but it’s been a real challenge to redefine my relationship to food in these last recent months. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching as well as a lot of hard physical work over these past seven months, but thanks to Weight Watchers and some divine intervention, I’m feeling better than ever. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

(Spontaneous photo taken last night while I was packing and trying on clothes for my trip. I didn’t even bother to reapply lipstick, I was so happy that I could fit into this favorite skirt for the first time in eight years!)

I will always be someone who derives great pleasure from the art of eating, from the act of preparing it to enjoying the food itself, especially when it is a meal shared with others. I have genuinely missed writing about my kitchen discoveries in recent months, but as I discover what my new NORMAL is in this area of life too, I’m gradually finding a better balance in all things.  Thank you all for hanging in there with me, and I look forward to sharing new kitchen adventures with you again in just a matter of time.


Kristen said...

Well, you have always been gorgeous in my eyes! But congratulations on your amazing success in health and fitness! You look like a million bucks and you must feel great. Your smile says it all!

louise said...

You are too kind, Kristen! I'd almost forgotten what it felt like to feel strong and energetic, but I'm grateful to have recaptured that again. Thanks for your encouraging words!

charis said...

ummmm......JUST got to reading this - YOU. LOOK. AMAZING. wow, girl. WAY TO GO - i am completely flashing back to Lucile Roberts of old ~ color me inspired!!! miss you - love - charis

Maria said...

I'm late to the comments party, but I hadn't checked in on your blog for a while. Wow, congrats on finding a new place of balance between enjoying food and using food in less healthy ways... I've definitely not found the sweet balance spot yet.
PS I think you look good in both photos, but you look happier now, and I can totally relate to feeling stronger and fitter!