On July 2nd, 1776, the forefathers of the often defiant and rarely apologetic United States of America declared independence from Britain. While the resulting holiday of Independence Day was from the onset celebrated two days later on the 4th, the patriotic nature of the day has not been lost 234 years later.

Thick hamburgers slathered with mustard and ketchup. Hot dogs in buns filled to the brim with relish. Freshly prepared coleslaw. July 4th “eats” alone would provide enough food-related fodder for months to come.

But it is not coleslaw and grill food that I wish to discuss today, but rather the very kernel of what it is we celebrate every 4th with fireworks and friends– independence.

The independence I will celebrate this fourth is not emancipation from England, but from obsessive thinking about food and body.

On this day four years ago, I was gearing up to embark on a reducing regime that would eliminate a quarter of my body weight, as well as my energy and sense of stability.

Anxious about the impending start of my college career, I counted calories and miles logged, dodging the messy emotions that defined my 18-year-old self.

Today, I am gearing up for my final year at Smith, where, between studying for biochemistry and anatomy and physiology, I will be applying for graduate programs in nutrition.

I am not entirely free of the anxieties that plagued me at 18, but I have defined for myself a life free of the restrictions that were characteristic of my eating disorder.

On this fourth of July, I celebrate independence.

On this fourth of July, I celebrate my future.

Photo credit: Bostonherald.com