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To eat or not to eat?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

This week in my Bible study we are taking a hard look at our lineage and the habits, behaviors, and beliefs that are carried down from generation to generation. Particularly those that have wrapped us up in all kinds of bondage, whether knowingly or unknowingly. I had a hard time going through the lesson yesterday, thinking of things that have been passed down. And then tonight, I had a bit of an epiphany. One of the things that has me chained up is my eating habits (which I've written about quite frequently on here). And I began to trace some of the eating habits that I've been taught (either directly or indirectly) by my family.

Here are some of the things that have been passed down to me:
1) You must eat on a schedule, regardless of whether or not you are hungry.
This was a standard in my mom's household when she was growing up. Her mother (my grandmother) is diabetic (Type I) and so, in order to help keep her blood sugar levels, has to eat on a regular basis. The way that she chooses to do this is to keep to the same eating schedule each day.

My mom, for whatever reason, found that this is something that she didn't really want to practice in her life. To her it was too regimented and helped contribute to weight gain. She saw what that thought pattern was doing to my brother and I--we were both developing some pretty unhealthy habits when it came to eating. So, she chose to go to another extreme

2) You must eat only when hungry
Definitely the right idea, but it didn't work out so well in reality. You see, as well-intentioned as it was, I ended up taking this one a bit too far and would wait until the point where my stomach was growling, I was light-headed and incapable of making a wise decision about what to eat. This extreme hunger often led to overeating/bingeing and created other problems.

Meanwhile, my dad led by a different example:

3) Graze, graze, graze.
Dad tended to (and still does) graze quite a bit while we were growing up. He would often reach for snack foods and nibble on them while doing other things. This type of behavior was okay, until taken to the extreme. I would often eat while watching TV, reading, etc... and then, even though I wasn't really hungry, when dinner would roll around, I'd be eating again. I often ate out of boredom, because eating was something that you did to keep yourself busy (or at least the appearance of being busy).

So, what method is "right"?

Truth be told, I don't really know. I think this is one of the more confusing things I've had to deal with so far on this journey. Honestly, I'm not looking for more opinions--there are plenty of those out there. I'm just trying to identify some things that have helped shape some of the behaviors I have had. That way, I can begin working through them.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    In our house, it was "clean up your plate." Yesterday we went to Shari's and the waiter complimented us because we had "eaten it all." I didn't feel bad since it was a bowl of oatmeal, but it could have been a Platter and he'd have been just as happy.

    Your journey of self-discovery is a good one. You can sit back and figure out what you want to do after analyzing where your beliefs came from.
    3419 days ago
    Erin - This is exactly where I've been the last 6 months. I like the book we are reading because she does say that sometimes you'll eat when you're not hungry and that it's a choice, but at the same time I can't get it out of my head (because I'm such a black/white person) to be rule-based. This is right and this is wrong. So, I don't know how to shake that off, and be able to take the good parts of eating when hungry and planning to eat healthfully, and make it all work on somewhat of a schedule..such as dinnertime with the family each night.

    It's a dance...that's for sure. Just keep searching, and I will too...
    3419 days ago
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