Sunday, February 17, 2013
Ever since I can remember, my family used food as a reward. Being that my dad is a school teacher, and it was his salary alone that supported 7 people (my mom's a home maker), we were always taken care of, but it was like the only way we were ever rewarded was with food.
I remember my dad bribing me to do a talent show with soda. If we were good at church, we got to go to McDonald's for lunch-though we never each got meals, it would just be a burger, or a burrito at Taco bell. After band concerts, or piano recitals, we got ice cream afterwards-and that actually happened a lot because myself and three out of four of my siblings were in band, and holiday concerts usually happened within days of each other.
I remember my mom drinking her mid-morning 32-ounce coffee, which was loaded with lots of cream and sugar, and eating four slices of plain white bread, or sometimes pastries, or sandwich cookies. To this day, my ultimate weakness are non-oreo sandwich cookies either lemon flavor, or the black and white ones....I could easily eat 12 of those and a cup of milk no problem. Those were part of our lunches quite often. Sometimes she wouldn't finish her coffee and it would get cold on the counter. I would drink the rest of it when she wasn't looking because it was that delicious. My grandmother did-and still does, what just about any grandmother would-spoil us with food. Even when I go to my Grandmother's house now, she still pushes food on us. We didn't have soda very often at home. My parents would buy a 2-liter every once in a while, and actually hide it. But when we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house, they had (and still have) this little refrigerator dedicated to the sweet stuff-unlimited! That, and ice cream. My grandpa had a HUGE sweet tooth, and it was seriously like heaven when we'd visit for days at a time during the summer. We'd eat ourselves to the point of stomach aches after a swim at the lake, then lay around and watch movies into the evening. My other weakness is ice cream... Of course I'm not saying that that's all we did, but my primary memories of family involves food.
I also have not so good memories with family. I remember when I was bigger, I wanted to go on a morning hike with my aunt, uncle, and dad. My aunt told me that I probably coudldn't do it, and said that she even had a hard time doing it. What made it worse was the fact that this same aunt has a bad back, and is obviously older than myself. No DUH she'd have a hard time doing it herself. My dad made it worse, and agreed with her, not realizing that he was seriously damaging any self esteem that I had. I never told him that, and even if I did, he'd deny doing any damage-as though he has the right to tell me how I am affected by other people's actions....I remember that same aunt back when I was in middle school. She bought her two sons a swing set, and she said "the weight limit is one hundred pounds". Acknowledging I was too OLD for it, I said "Well, I don't really want to play on it anyway" (because I was too old for it, not because I was too big for it, but at that time, I was about 109 pounds), and she said "Lizzie! You're OVER 100 pounds!?" In this way that just sounded like she couldn't believe it-even though I was quite tall for my age. Family has a way of doing screwed up things. She was the only family member that ever said anything hurtful to me about my weight. It's funny actually. I didn't HAVE a weight problem, until my family decided to bring it up. Then the low self esteem happened, and then I really did get fat...I started living up to their expectation that I was overweight. I'm glad she herself didn't have any daughters. She would have destroyed any self worth they would have had.
Anyway...food, family, screwed up, sucks.Damn.
Today, I ate crap-a ton of it. I'm feeling it now. My head hurts, my stomach aches, and I'm pretty sure my jaw is sore because it got tired of chewing. I know deep down that the other part of fixing this is breaking the ties I have with food. I was reflecting on this, and I really do want to just give it all up. I know I could just eat it in moderation, but it's like saying "sure, I'll eat rat poison, but only in moderation". I think about how all the crappy food is just that-stomach ache causing crap. It turns to gunk in the stomach, and doesn't provide much as far as nutrients are concerned. It's not truly useful, so why the heck would I eat it? Why does it deserve a place in my system if it isn't doing anything to help me? I'm just lucky I never bought into the whole girl scout cookie thing...they were selling them today when I went on my bike ride to the High school pharmacy...They've just never appealed to me.
I'm afraid to give up those terrible foods because it's like I'm saying good bye to a friend-an easily accessible, delicious, cheap friend. I know over time, I won't like it anymore, but that's exactly what I'm afraid of. I know if I just take that plunge, over time, I won't even miss it as I fill my body with delicious foods-real foods. Gosh...I wonder if an alcoholic feels that way, feeling like they're losing a familiar friend...I worry that my family is going to think I'm snobby or something. On the other hand, my health is worth being picky about. No one has to accommodate me. I know that I shouldn't think of this in terms of 'all or nothing', but when it comes to an emotional addiction to food....I kind of have to get to that point. It seems as though there is no 'middle of the road' for me, and I shouldn't have to eat poison in moderation.
I've been eating the same crap for the last 26 years of my life. I already know what all of that tastes like. It's not like I eat expensive stuff. Sure, there's the occasional cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, but in reality, the ingredients for any of the delicious terrible-for-you foods are basically the same-sugar, fat, and salt. I pretty much could 'taste' in my mind every donut, sugary cereal, and cookie tastes like. I've eaten so many chips, sodas, fried chicken, french fries and hamburgers. I know deep down that I wouldn't be missing anything because I already know what all of that crap tastes like. To be honest, I build it up in my mind that it's going to taste SO good, but it never does. In philosophy, there's a theory that everything ever created is modeled after the 'ideal' of whatever that item is, and that's how we know what we expect it to look like, or something along those lines. I guess when it comes to food, the same goes for flavor. I have this idea in my mind of what it's supposed to taste like, and when I eat the physical item, it's always slightly off. It's either too salty, or has too much of a chemical taste, or there's too much fat coating the roof of my mouth....yet I still eat it hoping that the next bite will be better, but it actually has the opposite effect. It's always slightly worse, until pretty soon, the only sensation I'm feeling is the movement of my jaw chewing. Yet I still eat it. I eat it because it's there, and I eat it because I'm bored.
Today's eating was because Adam was up all night with a panic attack and insomnia. He slept all day until about 6. I was bored and lonely. Another familiar feeling...
Growing up, we ate cheap, and the only time we ate together at the table was at holidays. Dinner would be done around 5:00, and it was up to us to plate our own meals...which as one could imagine, it led to larger than normal portions. Every time I wanted to learn how to cook, my mom would just have me do an odd job like peeling the potatoes. She never let me learn how to be responsible for the meal itself. Maybe she worried I was going to take her job something. Lol. I'm not sure....
I know that there are recipes I could look up, and there are ways that I could really learn how to cook, but I just feel like I don't know where to begin. I bought quinoa, and I don't even know how to cook it. I have cans of low sodium chicken broth, rice, various herbs and spices, cans of garbanzo beans, dried beans, and even some frozen stir fry veggies. I just feel like I don't really know how to get started. I never had a chance to learn how to be healthy, and for that, I kind of resent that....and yet, in spite of the fact that my four siblings and myself all grew up in this same situation with the same circumstances, I was the only one that got fat. I think that pisses me off the most.
Well, tomorrow is a new day. I'm not upset anymore. I refuse to stay angry at the one person I have to live the rest of my life with-me. I will use tomorrow as a chance to make a change for the better. Maybe I'll just experiment in the kitchen and see if I can come up with something. I also get anxious about wasting food. I hate wasting food. It's only as of recent that I've been able to say 'no' to other people's left overs, and watch as they throw it away. I've even taken the left overs, and changed my mind and thrown it away.
I feel a lot better. I know I've been journaling a lot lately. To be honest, it's helped a lot. I'm slowly peeling back all of the feelings and emotions that led me to where I am. I'm learning a lot about myself, and I think that's the most important part of changing my life.