If I’m as successful at eating as I am at sleeping this should be spectacular. 🙄
From my earliest memory, my eating was controlled to an insane level.
Though I wasn’t diagnosed with IBS as a child, I had severe digestive problems. The doctor recommended a brief stint on the BRAT diet, Banana, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. It worked. I ate normally, and the problem returned. NM put me back on the diet without consulting the doctor. I was kept on the diet for over a year. The only reason I was taken off the diet is because I lied. I want to say five years old, but I honestly can’t remember. I think it was before I was in first grade. I knew the only way off the BRAT diet was to lie, so I did. My digestive problems returned, but I told the adults in my life I was fine.
I wasn’t allowed to snack, even as my brothers did. “They’re growing boys.”
Food was a constant, daily battle. What I could eat, what I couldn’t, how much, when. Several years ago, I read a romance novel in which the son grabbed the ice cream container and ate from it, while the daughter snagged the bag of chips. I was totally baffled by the concept of them being able to simply take what they wanted from the family supplies. Growing up, I spent my dollar allowance on candy so I could have something when I wanted. I went to the store alone or with my sister and made my purchase while she was looking at other things. No one could know.
Even as a child, I noticed patterns. I’d eat at someone else’s home and not have stomach problems. I came to recognize a correlation between whole wheat bread and white bread. I didn’t have stomach problems when I ate white bread. I was informed that I would not be treated special, that white bread was rat poison, that if I didn’t want what the family was eating I could go without. Going without meant a scolding for not appreciating all the hard work and effort. “Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.”
I learned to steal food. It’s difficult to track the disappearance of crackers and marshmallows. Yes, I’ve eaten out of the garbage can.
The few times I attempted to eat outside the specified parameters, eating leftovers in the fridge, I was accused of stealing food out of the mouths of the other members of the family. The little container I’d eaten was going to be used with other leftovers to make dinner. I stopped. I watched little containers mold and be thrown out. More times than I could count.
As a high schooler, I was not given money for lunches. I could bring lunch from home. Whole wheat bread. I was promised money for work done that I more often than not never saw. I wasn’t allowed to go out and find a job because school was my job. The insanity of it all is mind-boggling. Breakfast was a glass of milk. I skipped lunch, unless one of my friends took pity on me. I came home after school and had another glass or two of milk. Milk is filling. I was scolded for drinking too much milk. I ate what I could of dinner. NM decided to go uber-healthy, all whole grains. Even pizza and spaghetti was made with whole wheat.
I was in Junior Miss. Really. One of the gifts were little recipe books filled with recipes from past Junior Miss winners. One was a BBQ chicken dinner. I learned to do it well. In college, I took a gourmet cooking class and excelled. I wanted to pursue the culinary arts, but “women can’t make money as cooks.” Never mind Julia Childs. I volunteered to make dinner for the family. I’d be able to eat. I was complimented by everyone eating. Suddenly, my meals weren’t healthy enough. I was banned from cooking dinner for the family.
I was 20 when I worked in Yellowstone. It was the first time in my life when I had control over my eating. I remember looking in the mirror in my dorm room and being able to count ribs. I was fat.
Short note on clothes, something I don’t think about often: I was dressed in provocative clothes, mini dresses so short they barely covered my backside, as a young tween and teen. In my late teens, clothes bought for me had shifted from formfitting to boxy. I spent my own money, when I was paid, on clothes. It wasn’t an extensive wardrobe, a few slacks, jeans, blouses. For the odd twist, I was given Gunny Sack dresses for Sunday. I often felt like I was a dress-up doll.
In Thailand, I learned to say, “No, I’m sorry, but I can’t eat that.” I had companions who were obsessive about weight. They were petite. Thais are small. I’m not. I felt like an elephant.
I went to Europe. BAM! I was encouraged to eat. People loved to feed me. They took my allergies and restrictions into account and catered to what I could eat. I was their American Princess. I was pampered. I didn’t know what to do with it. I endeavored to be gracious. I discovered a wide variety of food I could eat and thoroughly enjoyed.
Returning home, I couldn’t go back to the old expectations. I began hoarding food, a loaf of white bread, a box of crackers. Buying my own food was the first thing I did when I started working. I was in control of my food, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I’ve made some good choices. All the things I should have learned growing up, I didn’t. I’m having to learn it now. Add in the ever-changing guidelines… it’s like NM runs the government food council. So, yes, I ignore it. I’ve watched the tennis match regarding eggs, for decades. Perfect food; worst food on the planet. I’m allergic to them, so it doesn’t matter. Food has been both reward and punishment.
NM still exercises an insane amount of control regarding my eating. I’m supposed to have a little time in the kitchen, free of the watchdogs. The only time I’m certain is mine is if they’re gone. It’s sad. I haven’t cooked a gourmet meal in years.
I’m learning to live within the insane parameters set for me. Fast and easy usually isn’t healthy, but I’m working to discover options. I can’t change them. I can change me. I will learn to eat better for me.
What is my 3,000-7,000 times a day?
I don’t want to think of food as simply fuel. I enjoy it too much. Maybe I can think of it as yummy fuel. Food is a gift from God for my good. It’s meant to be enjoyed… I don’t enjoy it when I abuse it… Hmmm… something to think about.
Since I started this rethinking process, I am eating better.
At the suggestion of ntexas99, I bought chicken and crackers, and they’re in the cupboard. I also found pre-made tuna salad I can keep in the cupboard. I keep my matzoh in my room, along with pecans and dried fruit. I have some dark chocolate covered pomegranate and Dove Promises. Here’s a shocker: I have my chocolate sandwich cookies in my room, and I only have them after a meal. An open box is not an empty box, even though I like them better than Oreos. I am improving.
I will learn to enjoy food without abusing it.
*UPDATE on Night Three. I listened to the CD going to sleep. I woke at 3:00 a.m., too warm to sleep. I opened my bedroom door, cooled off my room, and went back to sleep. No dreams that I remember. I woke up after seven hours, with my radio alarm, feeling… different. Not rested but like I’d slept. Don’t know if that makes any sense. I almost felt like I’d taken an allergy pill, but I didn’t. I felt kind of different all day. Not sure what to think. I’m using the CD again for Night Four.