I know, you’re thinking I mistyped the title, it should be food for thought. But no, I wrote exactly what I meant.
If you have read any of my blogs, you would know that I think too much. And it translates quite directly to my relationship with food, unfortunately. I have a terrible relationship with food, that I know began when I was very young. I do not starve myself and I do not binge, but that does not mean my relationship with food isn’t sucky. Because it is sucky. I cannot sit down and eat anything without thinking about what I’m eating, how much I’m eating, what it will mean for me later, and so-forth. I cannot enjoy a plate of food without thinking about the consequences of what I am ingesting. Oftentimes it leads to guilt, even when I do not eat a larger portion than I should. It does not seem to matter, every morsel of food that I eat, thinking about eating, don’t eat…it all gets analyzed.
I think about food pretty constantly. What am I going to eat next, when am I going to eat it, how much will I eat, how long will it take to make. I think about food when I’m hungry, I think about food when I’m not hungry. I think about what food I will be eating for dinner WHILE I’m eating lunch. I think about lunch the next day when I’m eating dinner. Even when I try to enjoy the food I’m presently eating–savor it–I am thinking of how much I’m eating, whether it’s a lot of carbs or a lot of sugar or a lot of fat. I’m thinking about whether or not I should be eating whatever it is I’m eating. When I’m done, I feel guilty or feel badly about what I’ve eaten. Even if the food isn’t necessarily bad for me, I still feel like I shouldn’t have eaten it.
I grew up in a family of four kids, with both my parents. I was the youngest, the only girl (as I’ve said before), and I was always the chubbiest. Well, one of my brothers was chubby for a while, but he was a boy so he was deemed “husky” and they chalked it up to him being a boy. But me being a girl, it was always bad for me to be chubby. Even as my mother attempted to contain what I ate, she also made sure we knew to always clean our plates. We were of that generation that you didn’t leave food on your plate. If you took the food, then you ate it, no matter how much there was or how full you were. You were not to waste food (we were also on the poorer side, money-wise, so waste was a huge issue). So I totally rebelled against my food being restricted. I can still remember the drawer that they kept the junk food in, and I remember sneaking the food out to my bedroom to eat. I snuck when my mom was at work, or when she was busy outside. I snuck at night when she was in night school, and I snuck when my brothers were outside playing. I’m sure I ate junk at school, or even if it wasn’t junk, I overate. I ate like I felt like I might not have food again–which was probably how I felt because of being restricted by my mother. My father? He was there, but it was like he wasn’t. My mother really did the parenting, unless one of the boys was bad and then my father stepped in. I don’t remember much interaction with my dad when I was growing up, unless it was in the company of my mother and then it was my mother who communicated with me.
As I got older, even my grandmother helped to restrict my food intake. She tried to get me to go to the gym with her (anyone remember Spa Lady? Yeah, she was like a lifetime member, I think), which I hated to do. Fat girl in a leotard? Yeah, no thanks. I remember going to Weight Watchers once with my mom, but I don’t think we wanted to afford the food, so they shamed us into not coming back if we weren’t going to “fully participate.” I think I’ve talked about fat camp? Have I talked about that? They sent me to fat camp as a pre-teen, which totally didn’t work. But of course that was food restriction. And all the diets I went on, with and without parental support, all restricted food. All actively thinking and re-thinking the food I put in my mouth.
With age came food intolerances and sensitivites and allergies. And paranoia over food reactions. Which made me even more hyper-sensitive about eating. And although I don’t really feel “cravings” like I think most people do, there are times when I want something specific. And if I really want something, I do eat it (if it isn’t listed under intolerance, allergy or sensitivity), with the attempt at eating a normal (or smaller) portion of it. For example, one of the snack foods I can eat is Cheetos Puffs…and I enjoy them. So if I want them, I eat them, with an eye for the right serving of them. If I want frozen gelato (my night-time sweet), I will eat a serving of it. Sometimes I am contented with just taking a spoonful to satiate my taste for it. So these days, I try really hard not to restrict my eating. But none of that helps me get past the fact that I am ever thoughtful and diligent about the food that I eat. About food, altogether.
And it sucks. I certainly do not want to gain weight, and I’d like very much to get rid of the 10 pounds I put on these last two months since Butthead arrived. But more importantly, I really would like to have a normal freaking relationship with food. I’d like to not have to think about food so much, or about how much I’m eating or what it’s going to do to me. And I’d like to not feel guilty when I eat something that I don’t necessarily “need” to eat. It’s a layover from all the food sneaking I did as a child, where I know I felt guilty for stealing the food and eating it without permission. I know it, I just don’t know how to get rid of it.