I was talking with a friend the other day when she mentioned that as a child her parents had been really controlling about the foods she ate, always wanting her to eat healthy unprocessed foods. It had seemed really restrictive to her at the time, but as an adult she can understand why they did that.
It made me think about my own story with food.
I was the second oldest of eight kids, and we didn’t exactly have an excess amount of food…or money. You couldn’t just grab a snack because you felt like it, and when I was in high school one of the foods that was highly restricted was milk. I was an athlete at the time and must have been deficient in something because I craved milk like CRAZY! Sometimes I craved it so badly it was like doing the potty dance because you have to pee!
When I got to college there were milk dispensing machines in the cafeteria, which to me it was like liquid gold! I also remember going over to friends’ houses and being shocked when they would just open their parents’ fridge or cupboards and take some food. Surely that was not allowed, was it?
It took me years to get over this. I had a hard time sharing food with roommates because I didn’t want to feel restricted in what, or how much, I ate. I would eat even if I wasn’t hungry because I was worried about when I would eat next, and I was afraid of starving. I was nervous when I stayed with my boyfriend’s family because I was worried about starving, even though my boyfriend kept telling me it was perfectly fine to eat his mom’s food.
With my friend, she wasn’t happy that her parents had controlled her food like that, but now as an adult she can see that they were trying to help her and do the best thing for her.
I was carrying some pain around my story as well, which meant there was a piece of the truth I wasn’t seeing.
I had to acknowledge my mother didn’t do this on purpose, and probably if she knew how I was feeling she would have let me have more milk or eat when I needed to. I was on the cross country, track, and cross country skiing teams, and I think my mother just didn’t understand how much food I needed, or that I didn’t have much time between getting hungry and really starving.
For both my friend and I, it was important to realize that we are adults now, and things have changed. We can eat whatever and whenever we want to! I had to let go of my fear of starving, and realize that I was truly never that far away from food if I needed it. Also, now that my metabolism has slowed down I actually have a lot of time between when I first get hungry and when I start starving!
What about you? What’s your story with food? When you think of that story, are you seeing the full picture? Is it true?
Once we understand how much our current behavior is related to our history with food, we can start to change it into a more empowering story. 🙂