Celebrating Life

December has arrived; the holiday and New Year season are upon us. My wife and I will be celebrating the Season, remembering the year that has past, and anticipating the year ahead. As we did last year, we will be traveling throughout Ohio and Michigan, visiting with family and friends, old and new. We will meet newborn babies, new boyfriends, and the recently betrothed, and we will celebrate with people we have known for over half a century.

For most visits, we will meet at the home of our host, while for others we will meet at a favorite bar or restaurant. Each of these visits will be as unique as the people involved. Ages will range from newborn to 87 years old, with lifestyles that vary from single to married with children to empty nesters. Our life histories are just as diverse and varied.

Last year we had a wonderful trip. We shared wonderful memories, told and retold stories, looked at photos, remembered people that have since left us, and reconnected in a way that made it feel like no time had passed since we last met. Truly a blessed trip.

Food and Fellowship

Interestingly, in each case, our celebrations occurred around meals. Isn’t it fascinating how sharing a meal can be so instrumental in helping us share, connect, and relate to each other? The simple act of sitting down together, over a meal, provides us comfort in finding common ground and at the same time provides us with a safe environment to celebrate our unique differences. I understand why the act of breaking bread together has such strong symbolism and invokes our spiritual senses.

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart. – Cesar Chavez

Our Daily Bread

For the weight loss surgery patient, this situation can present important issues that must be faced. In our lives, food has served several purposes. We must eat to live, that’s a fact. However, eating and eating well are two different things. It is very easy to be caught up in the celebration of friendship, family, and comradery that dining together facilitates. It is easy to lose control, become swept up in the euphoria of the moment, and to give into a ‘more is better’ approach that might have got us into trouble in the first place.

Control is a Blessing

I found my control over food by implementing two tactics. First, I waited five or even ten minutes after the food was served to begin eating. During that time, I focused on what this reunion meant to me, on how fortunate I am that I hadn’t eaten myself to an early grave and that Divine Providence had kept my friend or family member safe from harm and available to sit with Colleen and me on this day. Second, I pictured being allowed the gift of having this person as a guest at my house sometime in the future. This helped me remember to eat right so that I might remain healthy and fit for their visit. In these tactics, I found the ability to manage myself and control the urge to overeat.

Celebrate YOU

As the end of year holidays approach, and with them, the abundance of foods that are offered as we eat and dine together, remember to share fellowship, acknowledge the blessings, celebrate the pageantry and spirituality that these holidays bring, and reflect on the words of Anthony Bourdain when he says:

Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.

There will be food, and there will be You. You are the important element in that pairing. You.

About the Author

Bill Streetman is an eight year post-op RNY patient starting at 404 pounds and maintaining a weight loss of 200 pounds. WLS gave him the appropriate tool he needed to take control of his life and follow a path of health and fitness. Father of three sons, all married and spread across the globe. Married for 35 years to Colleen – his most wonderful support person, and life co-conspirator, as he navigates his WLS journey. He supports the WLS community as a frequent blogger, as a presenter at WLS conferences, as the creator of the Tour of Hope Bike ride, as the Male BariAthlete of the Year 2017, and as an elected member of the board of directors of the WLSFA. Life is Good – Living is Wonderful.

NOTE: The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America is a 501(c) 3 Nonprofit Organization. We have earned the Guide Stars Platinum Seal of Transparency. The WLSFA is a 100% Volunteer Organization with no paid executives or staff. We are fellow weight loss surgery patients, paying it forward since 2010.

Questions? Please contact the WLSFA at 415-234-9074 or email us at info@wlsfa.org

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