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I Will Not Treat Myself Like a Garbage Can

Monday, October 29, 2012

I was truly inspired by a post on a message board. It was posted on August 14, 2012 by SJKRACH. This entry really made me think and I wanted to share it with my TOPS group as the program for tonight. I had a devil of a time tracking it down because I thought it had been posted as a blog instead of a message board. Here is the post:

"Garbage Can Body?

Over the last few days I've realized that if it's in the kitchen, I will eat it. Additionally, during a binge, I treat my body as if it were a garbage can.

Last night I went through an episode where I went to the cupboard over and over again and ate things that I no longer want in the house because they are some of my triggers (seriously, that is how I rationalized it... I wanted them finished and gone, but did not simply throw them in the trash. I had to consume them.)

Some of the junk I ate was old and not even particularly palatable (a dollar store chocolate bar from Christmas!) Some items were healthy enough if part of a nutrition plan and eaten in appropriate portions (pistachios and vitatop muffins). But I was on a mission to "finish" them.

At one point last night as I was following my sweet, salty, sweet pattern (truly can't say I was having cravings as it was not that strong of a bodily driven desire), I realized that I was treating my body as if it were a garbage can. As if I were a garbage can! At that moment, this awareness still was not enough to stop me. I don't know what the psychology is behind what I was doing (addiction? emotional? boredom?), but this isn't the first time I've done this. It is a pattern I recognize in myself and experience time and time again throughout my life.

Today, being a new day and my Spark renewed, the idea of treating my body and therefore myself as a garbage can is a more disgusting concept and motivating visual. My body is not a garbage can and I will not treat it as if it were. My body is an amazing work that responds fairly quickly and positively to care and nourishment. I am not trash and I won't trash myself."

I was stunned when I read this at first. It was a real slap in the face because I can relate to it so well. There has always been the "clean your plate" mentality growing up in our house.In my own home I've caught myself cleaning up by eating left overs off plates completely automatically and unaware that I was doing it. Whether that food goes in the trash or down my gullet it stays trash, whether in the can or around my butt.

This behavior is destructive and deeply ingrained. It's been passed down to us through our families from times where your next meal might be very uncertain. Back then in season and local produce weren't choices, they were the norm. I'm not saying I haven't gone through periods like that. There have been times when my husband and I lived almost exclusively on ramen, macaroni and cheese, hotdogs and popcorn. Most of my weight is due to literally poor eating habits.

My dear mother grew up on a farm. Grandpa was a coal miner and also managed the farm. He had a wife and three girls to help him. They carried 100lb. cylinders of milk from the dairy barn to the truck and slung 80lb. bales of hay up into the loft and down to the cows. They worked hard and ate a pretty simple diet high in starch and fat. They needed the calories.

Mom learned to cook from her mother. Things were very different for us though. We didn't have to start a chicken dinner by chasing it down. We could drive to the grocer to get anything we wanted. We always had a vegetable with dinner, but other than that we ate what she cooked and she cooked like her mother did when she lived on a working farm. Mom and Dad are I guess what you would call foodies. As we grew older and more things were available and affordable, Mom did get adventurous and do tacos and stir fry. We also made homemade pizza and rainbow colored bread like I still do with my kids. However, she cooked to please dad and he likes it fried or covered in gravy.

Money was always tight, and food was not to be wasted. My parents grew up in homes with parents who lived through the Great Depression were this lesson was drummed into them. For my sisters and I there were always starving kids in China or Ethiopia that didn't get enough to eat. We were more fortunate so we had to clean our plates, as if the food we stuffed down would somehow magically transfer to those empty stomachs half way across the globe.

I look at these examples of how children have patterned themselves after parent for generations and I realize that many things we did as kids weren't appropriate for the times we lived in. I’ve decided I don't want my children to learn these habits that are unhealthy in this day and age.

I still make homemade pizza about once a week and make all of our baked goods myself. However I've swapped out at least a third of the white flour for whole wheat in most of recipes. I also try to serve veggies and rotate types of protein and starches. I keep fruit cups around for snacks. I do insist my kids eat some of their veggies, but I don't ask them to clean their plates and try not to overload them in the first place. We have one junk food night a week, but don't go overboard with it and I try very hard to teach them about portions for those snacks and soft drinks. I hope that when my children grow up to raise their own, they will take some of these healthy habits with them.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    How absolutley brilliant!! I, too, resemble that can! You're right: the starving children in Ethiopia wouldn't leave their food on that plate. My question, when I was finally old enough to think about it was: "How is my finishing this food going to help them?"
    I guess that I don'task that question of myself often enough these days.....

    1968 days ago
    Oh lord, I can so relate. I've been there so many times. We get pretty good at abusing ourselves without even thinking about it, huh? Hang in there friend!
    1968 days ago
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