Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Food Revelations

Last week I read Women Food and God. Have you read? Seriously, it changed my life. I LOVE Geneen Roth as if she were one of my people. After the first few chapters, when I sat down to graze in front of the kids' snack cupboard as is my habit, I literally stopped and thought, "Wait, am I hungry?" It was revolutionary.

For those of you who are wondering, it's a lot about Women and Food, but not a lot about God. The God part is more light spirituality and less Bible-based eating plan, but it forced me to sit down and have a long overdue discussion with myself about why and how I eat.

If you ever saw my mom and sister, you'd understand some of my food issues. They are tiny little waifs. So is my daughter. I am not a particularly big person, but they are really, really small. My mom always told me that I was big-boned and didn't "have the eating habits of a thin person," and I have always held a pretty distorted image of my 5' 2" 125 pound self. Yep, I just said my weight out loud to the whole internet. The absolute true weight I saw on that dang-blasted scale this morning. Have I mentioned how much this book helped me?

So one of my biggest food issues is that when I was growing up, food was my mom's main expression of love. Whatever was going on, good or bad, could be remedied with food. Sick? Chicken soup. Sad? Cookies. Celebrating? Cake. And since that was pretty much my mom's only expression of love, when she cooked for you, you ate. And the more you ate, the more you were loved. To this day, her favorite people in life are the people she can control with cookies. I'm kidding. A little.

Additionally, I realized that my happiest memories were wrapped up with food. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, milestones celebrated by going out to dinner, goals met and rewarded with food. In many ways, I had grown to equate food with happiness. Unfortunately, in many other ways, I also equated skinniness with happiness. That crazy combination cannot possibly add up to happiness. I mean maybe when I was 20 and had a pretty fast metabolism, but now it is kind of a problem.

So for the past few weeks, I've had a lot of conversations with myself about food, why I'm eating, when I'm eating, what I'm eating and so forth. Turns out it's not particularly healthy to sit on the floor and eat from the snack cupboard at 10:30 p.m. Huh. Also turns out that eating an m&m every time you walk past the m&m jar until it's empty is not a great habit. Go figure. And one of the most important lessons I learned is that I really didn't even know how hungry felt anymore.

In all this dialoguing about why I'm really eating and what I really want, I haven't lost one pound--in case you wondered. But, I've been eating much healthier foods and much less and I haven't really had any junk. While I have a long way to go, I have been able to pinpoint some serious issues I have to come to terms with:
  • I am almost 40, not 20, so my 20-year-old weight probably shouldn't be my goal weight. 
  • Being skinny doesn't necessarily make you happy or signify you're happy.
  • Not being skinny doesn't necessarily make you unhappy or signify that you're unhappy.
  • I have a bread addiction, similar to my nicotine addiction. I cannot eat just one piece of bread.
  • Just like my husband is as hot to me today as he was 20 years ago, he looks at me and sees the girl he fell in love with (who was skinny, btw). He literally judges my weight by the size of my boobs, so you can probably guess when he's happiest.
  • Food is an idol, and when I give it this much power in my life, I am putting it before God; that is unacceptable.
  • My mom lives with me. I don't eat her cookies. She still loves me.
 So, if you have a messed up relationship with food, I highly recommend this book. If not? Well, you are a rare breed of fabulosity, and I admire you greatly.


4 comments:

  1. Fabulosity! Great word! Spending time as I do on a site geared toward weight loss and fitness, I would suggest that the food issues are really common. I actually thought of you when I saw my friend Plucky going off about the things that she grew up with. She's another gorgeous woman - like you - who grew up hearing things and living with things that were...unhealthy. It made me quite angry to think about just as this does. And probably a bit guilty.

    There is a universal reaction that I get whenever I show anyone a photo of you. Any photo. Even the ones where you are pushing 126 and barely can be contained by the frame.

    "OMG! Your sister is gorgeous!"

    Every time.

    I understand that you see yourself through your eyes and no one else's. But know that among the people of this world who are not jealous, backstabbing, snarky cunts (and even many that are!) that the above reaction is the norm.

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    1. Thank you, dear :) You are so very kind sometimes, and I find those times often coincide with those when I need a little kindness. I love you!

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  2. Love your brother's words.

    So crazy to me that 125 seems like a big number to you, but I remember that from my earlier days.

    It is not a big number. Not when you're 5'2".

    This would make a great review on Amazon, if you felt like posting it there.

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    1. My brother masquerades as a jerk, but he's not. I love you, Victoria. When you grow up in a house where 112 is "fat as a pig," then 125 would have to be morbidly obese--just some context.

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