13 January 2009

Food, Hunger, Eating, etc.

My girls and I had an interesting conversation the other night. We got on the subject of food and eating because my youngest (Catherine) was on her 6th chocolate chip cookie, and my oldest (Carley) accused her of having a sugar addiction. (She doesn't have a sugar addiction, but she does have a sweet tooth).

So anyway we started talking about our eating habits. I first need to start with my DH's eating habits. Ever since I have known him, he hasn't been much of an eater. He does eat more now than 10 years ago, but I still consider him to be a light eater. Sometimes it will be four in the afternoon and he will just realize he hasn't eaten all day. Carley is like that. She sleeps late, so that's probably part of it. But if I don't mention eating breakfast to her, she will often skip it. Some days, if I have gone out in the morning, I will come home around 2 or 3pm and ask her what she's eaten that day. More often than not the answer will be "nothing". She just doesn't think about food 1/2 the time. Certainly not a trait she inherited from me.

I grew up in a very food dysfunctional home. My mom had really severe food issues. She was either gorging or starving herself depending on the week. She was overweight my entire life, except for when she went on this liquid protein diet in the 1970's. It made her really thin for a while, but it also made her really sick and eventually when she started eating again, she gained all the weight back. Then in the early 1980's she had her stomach stapled. The precursor to what is now gastric bypass. She lost a bit of weight afterward, certainly not what she thought she would. The worst side effect was that she threw up after almost every meal. Until she discovered she could keep down booze and ice cream, but that's another post.

So with that background, you can see I didn't exactly have a good food role model growing up. My dad was OK, he tried to eat healthy, although butter was one of his favorite foods. But my dad always maintained a healthy weight, and if he gained a few pounds, he would eat salad for a week or two to get back to where he wanted to be. Sure wish I had inherited that gene.

I have struggled with my weight most of my life. I was chubby as child, from about age 9-13. Then I thinned out for high school. Of course I didn't think I was thin even though I was a size 8-10. At 5'6" that seems healthy to me. Unfortunately I was surrounded by very tiny girls in high school. I spent most of my teens and early twenties dieting, watching what I ate very closely, exercising regularly ( I ran and did aerobics) or doing drugs to lose weight. At one point I was 120lbs, but I had to do cocaine to stay there. I hurt my back in 1992, I became quite sedentary and depressed, so what happens when I am sedentary and depressed? I eat and gain weight. So I have been struggling with my weight pretty steadily now since 1992. A pregnancy in 1995 and another in 1997 did nothing to help the situation.

I did manage to lose 50lbs in 2003 on the Atkins diet. But as soon as I added carbs back in, it all came back. I went on Wellbutrin a little over a year ago, and that helped me lose 22lbs. I have managed keep it off, but I am still on the Wellbutrin. I don't know if it would come back if I went off it.

So back to the conversation with my girls. Carley was saying how she just doesn't think about food much. She eats when her body tells her it's hungry. She's a bit of a sedentary girl, likes to read and be on the computer. So I am guessing her body doesn't need much to survive, LOL. She will eat when she is hungry, so I like to leave her alone and let her decide when to eat. That's hard for some people to understand. If you grew up in house where you had to sit down to 3 square meals a day, at set times, it's hard to understand not forcing your child to eat. I have enough problems with food and eating, I don't want to inflict that on my children. I am happy that they can hear their bodies calls and answer them accordingly. Catherine my youngest tends to graze all day. But she is still such a skinny thing, so obviously that works for her.

I feel like I am finally at a place where I am comfortable in my own skin. I do still need to lose about 40lbs., but I don't stress about it all the time or even think about it all the time. I try to move my body in some way everyday, I try to watch what I eat. But if I want a dish of ice cream, I don't freak out about it. I try to show my girls how to eat well, I keep fruit in the house and I really love salads, so they do see me eat them a lot. But I am not afraid to have cookies or chips or soda in the house and I don't restrict what my kids can eat. Making certain foods off limits makes them more enticing, as I have witnessed first hand through some of my children's friends who have severe food restrictions in their homes. I really do believe everything in moderation is the key. And if we don't mess our kids up in their youth, hopefully they can live healthfully as adults. Might be too late for me, but I am working on it.

All sorrows are less with bread.
~Miguel de Cervantes~
Don Quixote


Stephanie said...

Bravo Donna!!!!!!
Great post :)

unschoolermom said...

This is a great post! I have had a lot of weight issues also. Still have a lot of weight to lose!