BDS: Day 29 - Resist Food Pushers
Thursday, March 29, 2018
This is falling on the start of yet another holiday weekend that celebrates life after death as well as life with food and ample, abundant food as well.
This will be the time where family and friends get together and share their favorite recipes with their loved ones. It will also be a time for the little ones to enjoy Easter egg hunting, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans in brightly colored woven baskets. It is a joyous time for many reasons: spiritually for those who believe in the Risen Christ, seasonally, because usually there are tulips and daffodils that pepper the newly green lawns, emotionally, because many students are home for spring break and this is a time of families gathering together to break bread and enjoy the bounty that we are blessed with at this time of year.
It's not all about food but food does play a role in the celebration of this day. And, who better to be there to make sure you are celebrating to the nth degree but the 'food pushers'. I am going to say something that marks me--- I have been known to be a food pusher in the past myself even though I hate others doing the same to me. I could say it is different but it isn't. If I made one of my ' special' dishes of course I want everyone who has teeth and can chew to partake and tell me how much they love and enjoy it.
I will say I did get my 'just dessert' a few years ago when I had made a beautiful flag cake with sliced strawberries and blueberries on the top and I saw only one piece was taken from the sheet cake. When I was wondering aloud why this was so I had a woman from another culture (very observant) who said, "You only made it so we could fawn all over it." I was taken aback but then I did have to wonder why had I made it? Was I in competition (and clearly wanting to win since it was labor intensive) with others there at the social event? No, my own motives are not as pure as I would like them to appear at times even if I am unaware of them. Hence the anatomy of a 'food pusher'. Why do they do this and how are they are a dieter's nemesis?
Dieting is hard work. It can on some days feel like we are climbing Mt. Everest in a blizzard. We struggle with every step and sometimes still get knocked down in the process. This can and does chip away at our confidence at times so the last thing we need is to have someone at some event we have looked forward to pushing unwanted (and probably unneeded) food at us. We do forget their motives (people pleasing is one-- I know it was mine) and I honestly think we need to show some compassion for their own ' agenda' even if it is not as innocent as we would wish. Why? Because food is an emotionally loaded part of our life and culture(s).
Historically, an abundance of food meant all was going very well with us and our family and friends. Doing without food and being hungry is one of the most frightening aspects of poverty with the second being a dry shelter from the elements to sleep. I don't think we need to fault those of us who are thankful and grateful for God has provided for us. We know keenly how there are many who do not have this priviledge. afforded to them. As much as we would like to find balance at family and friend gatherings that food is a part of I am not sure that we will find it when we may want and need it the most.
Dr. Beck has many excellent ideas of how to deal with 'food pushers'. I don't see them quite in such a black and white view though. I think that what needs to really happen is for us to be very clear about our own selves and our own desires at this time. I say that if we really want to indulge in some of our favorite dishes on these days then make arrangements so that they fit into our overall food plan for that week. I think that most emotional eaters have issue with self-control but also with balance. We seem to think it is an either or situation when it is more in the gray area.
However, if it is important to us that we stay focused on our food plan no matter what day of the year it is then we need to communicate that in a very clear but assertive manner and not waffle from that decision. My only daughter chose to be a vegetarian when she was still a minor. I admire her courage that she held her ground with several grandmothers pushing food at her all the time. I recall when she said that in the early days she often was left eating mashed potatoes and rolls because there was nothing else she found to eat that she liked. Her grandmothers did come around and soon they were offering choices that a vegetarian would like to eat but she had to be a trail blazer in the early years and I know it was hard for her. Of course, thirty years later, it is commonplace to find vegetarian dishes on almost all menus when dining out but in the meantime the rest of the world had to come around to her way of eating.
I am now both Type II diabetic as well as have IBS. I hate to admit that I have given my husband mixed messages about what I can and can't eat. He loves me and sadly he is probably somewhat of an enabler but when he sees me get sick from eating too many sweets he never recriminates me. It is but one of many reasons why I love him. He understands human weakness as much as I live it and feel it.
I would not recommend that you do that but I still struggle with knowing that eating certain foods for me is not in my best interest. As I learn to accept the boundaries of my choices today I will hopefully show a more unified front in the future. Until then some people would say I am a hypocrite. I say I am a person struggling to come to terms what it means to show control and discipline every day no matter what. I fail often but I never stop trying.
The main point I take away from this day, and it has evolved as I have gone through this book more than once, is that we each have to decide what is in our best interest and know our strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this self-knowledge we will then know how we want to celebrate and enjoy the abundance of food that marks our special days as well as celebrates what life is at its very best; breaking bread at table with our loved ones. Nothing can be more intimate nor life sharing as that.