Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why Do I Have To Eat It All?

View from the front porch of the log cabin where friends of ours live. 
View is the same no matter which way you look!
July 24, 2010

Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's ramble, so bear with me.  I think I may be on to something which seems to have struck a chord with some of you also.  So keep talking to me.  I'm listening and maybe for the first time, REALLY hearing and making connections.

From my mother, I inherited many things for which I am thankful.  One of those is my passion for travel.  We were a middle class family, but they found ways to make certain my sister and I saw other parts of the USA besides Tennessee.  We never traveled far and we always camped, but by the time I left home for college, I'd gotten the travel bug.  There are many other things I could name, but those are not the point of this post.

Both my parents, as I've learned in my adult life, have some major issues regarding money management.  I don't know how to say it other than to just come right out and say they are cheap, cheap, cheap.  All my sister and I heard throughout our childhoods, was "we can't afford that" or "that's a waste of money."  As I grew up, went to work, being managing my own finances and now, manage theirs, I pretty quickly realized that they aren't, and never were, as poor as they believed they were. To this day, I can't persuade them to enjoy even a tiny bit of what they worked for years to save.  It's ALWAYS, "we can't afford it" or "that's a waste of money." This is, obviously, some pretty deep stuff that doesn't need to be discussed any further here, but I felt a little background was in order.

The other factor that must come into the picture is that my mother worked very hard all her life.  She held the same job for almost 40 years, and although it was not a management level position, it was a job she loved.  There is not a domestic bone in my mother's body!  Our house was always a mess and she could hardly boil water, much less cook.  

So now, we get to the point of today's ramble!  Put all this information together and you have a child, teenager, young adult headed off to college who grew up in a home where meals were rarely nutritious, generally out of a box, really cheap stuff and just plain nasty.  Grocery shopping was a rushed affair with no planning or preparation and my memories include constant rants about how expensive groceries were. Additional nasty stuff was often added to the boxes of nasty stuff so the meal would go further.  Enough said - you get the point!

My first recollection of tasting really good food was when I began going to friend's homes for sleep-overs.  I am often so embarrassed now to remember that I must have eaten everything they had because it tasted so good.  Fast forward to the day I turned 16 and got my first job.  All of a sudden, I had money and could BUY the good stuff.  Thus began the cycle of buying my own food and hiding it in the house.  This also began the cycle of losing and gaining weight. I've examined those memories many times, but only recently have I begun to see a possible connection between those circumstances and my inability to "rest" until all of something is gone.  Once it's gone - I'm fine.  Could it be that, subconsciously, I still believe if something really "good" is in front of me and I don't eat it all right now, I'll never be able to have it again?  If I'd lived the first 18 years of my life in an atmosphere where "good" food was purchased and served in appropriate portions and no mention was ever made (while we were eating it) about how much it cost, would I have incorporated those philosophies into my eating habits throughout adulthood?  Would I be a "normal" eater?

I've even wondered if this same thing plays into the way I binge eat?   I can go on a tear with the best of you, but mine have always been different.  I've never gone throughout the grocery store or several drive-thrus purchasing a gazillion things to take home and eat in a food fest.  No, my binges never include more than two or three items with the most common being potato chips and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.   Bags and boxes of them at one sitting, but only those two items.  Coincidentally (or NOT!), both of these are food items I only discovered after going to friend's homes as a teen.  I don't recall EVER having them at our house.

So, am I on to something?   Are my control issues along with a deep-seeded fear that I might not ever be able to have "good" food again if I don't eat it all right NOW, the reason I continue to struggle with my weight?  Are those same issues the reason I can lose weight, but not maintain my loss?  If I could once and for all, move past these things, would I finally have a chance at becoming a "normal" eater? I'd like your feedback before I weigh in tomorrow on some thoughts about how to move past this once and for all.   Your "issues" will be different from mine, but does any of this resonate with thoughts you've had regarding your own hang-ups?  How do you think I can best move past this permanently?  

To end on a humorous note and show you that, with Mr. B's help, I've learned to just laugh when my mom comes out with her ridiculous remarks, here's how breakfast ended yesterday morning.  Our server brought the ticket, handed it to my dad and my mom promptly grabbed it from him to look it over.  Her first remark was, "they didn't deduct the coupon, this is way too expensive."  Mr. B calmly took it from her and pointed out where the coupon had been deducted.  Then she said, "and it's still THAT much."  This conversation is always going to happen, so I learned a long time ago not to let it detract from the enjoyment of my birthday "treat!"  Hey, we've actually come a long way.  In year's past, they "treated" the birthday person, but the other had to pay for their own.  LOL!  What can I say??? Parents, gotta love em!


  1. I think you are on the right track. Identifying the issue is often harder than working through it. You've done that, now all you have left to do is work out your strategy. You have a great support in Mr. B. I know you can do it!

  2. I think you are the only one who can answer your questions. But talking them out in your blog seems to be getting you somewhere. And may strike a chord with those who are reading. Hubby and I today had a long discussion while biking about why each of us seems to have eating issues. And like you, I can lose weight more easily than I can maintain. My latest struggles all began when I was soooo close to being at my goal again. Sigh. I would love to find answers for myself. What does it take to be "normal?"

  3. Your parents sound like so many from that generation. It is just hard for them to part with a dollar. I too began my binge/secret eating cycle after I got my driver's license and learned the joys of McDonald's drive-thru. I think you are smart to really analyze where your tendencies come from.

  4. Wow. I am just getting on track with blogging about my journey to improve my own life, and this post has stopped me dead in my tracks. When I read your last post, it didn't quite strike me as being similar to my family because growing up, I don't recall my parents ever saying directly, 'We can't afford that.' Or did they? I had 5 sisters, and my mom stayed at home most of my childhood, so I know there had to be a lot of budgeting and figuring when it came to raising a big family. I do recall repeatedly hearing the words,'Not until payday.', in reference to another trip to the grocery store, new shoes, or something like school shopping.
    But today? You are writing about me when I would go to a friends house and have 'good food' and then again when I got my first job (at an ice cream shop!! Disaster!)and began to buy and hide food! You have opened up a big ole can of worms for my mind to sort through! There are slight differences in our tales- some you may be interested in. I will mull this out for a day or so, and then I will write a post about it probably tomorrow or Friday. I'd love for you to read it.
    I really think you might find a few things interesting about it when I get it done.

  5. I remember going to lunch at a friend's house when I was in 4th grade. Her mother served a chocolate cream pie (jello chocolate pudding and dream whip, I'd guess). I thought it was heaven. I also remember walking to the public library when I was in 6th grade and the going to the bakery in the same location. I used my allowance (a quarter a week) and bought one glazed donut for a nickel, ate it and then went back and bought another (you had to pay tax if you spent 10 cents, but no tax if you made two nickel transactions).

    I think my own parents were wonderful, but DH's were/are both very screwy. It's a wonder DH and his sibs turned out so well. You, too, have obviously risen above what could have been. It's good you're getting things sorted out in your head by thinking through things.

  6. Wow Sharon, quite a story. But just for the sake of conversation, I grew up with really great tasting fresh food and lots of good desserts and some junk food too, and I still have a lot of issues with wanting to overeat. You may have identified the main factor in your binge eating, but I would say that 'moving past it once and for all' or 'permanently' is optimistic. These habits have taken years and years to be ingrained in your body. And it will take years and years to remove them. Hope this isn't a downer, because actually I am very optimistic that we can overcome and make permanent changes in our eating habits. I just think it will take longer than most of us are willing to admit. Just keep on working on it. I think you are doing great!

    Plus, I am loving the scenery you are posting at the beginning of each entry!

  7. Oh, there is no doubt that my eating issues are rooted in my childhood, and I would say the same for you with that story. While I know that about myself, how to overcome them is a whole other challenge. I wish it was as easy as figuring out WHY, to get to normal.

  8. I think you are on to something! It is good to take a look at what triggers our emotional eating so we can be prepared for those situations in the future.

    It is so easy for the old coping skills to kick in. We have to work hard to stop them and to adopt new habits in their place.

    Being aware is the first step.