there is no more forbidden. why can't i understand this?
March 23, 2009 8:06 PM Subscribe
Raised in a super-strict, health-conscious household - I never learned "moderation" with not-so-healthy foods. Can I, as an adult, re-train good eating habits that do not include restriction, and do not include binging?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My father was a biochemist/nutritionist. During my birth, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. As a result, food and healthy eating was a constant subject in our house, and I had little freedom to come to decisions on my own.
"junk" food was kept in a locked filing cabinet, to which only my father had the key. Our rations would include anywhere from 1-4 cookies a day, depending on our ranking from youngest to oldest (I am the youngest of four). Additionally, prior to my birth and my mom's cancer, food was less of a issue. It's normal for older siblings to pick on the younger ones; in my case, I was picked on because of the change in eating habits that merged birth and sickness. "We could always eat (x, y, and z) before you were born" was something I heard for many years.
Brown rice, tofu, steamed veggies, lean meats, low sodium, no-soda (and so on) was the diet of our household. As a result of this, I actually do sincerely enjoy eating "healthy" foods - they taste great to me. My favorite snack as a kid? Seaweed.
We were allowed to go go trick or treating as kids - but never allowed to keep the candy. Our rooms were searched for storing snacks we might have smuggled from school. This, in addition to keeping cookies under lock and key. Learning to develop a moderate diet, inclusive of everything with no restrictions, but knowing how to moderate foods, was something I don't think I ever developped.
Beginning in middle school when we had a little more freedom, I'd buy snacks at school, and hide them in places my dad would never look.
When I got my license and began earning my own money, this habit magnified - sneaking in the bad foods, hiding them, scarfing them down before I'd be found out.
I feel like I've carried these unhealthy habits into adulthood. I feel like if I get junk, it's not going to stay around. And so I must eat it quickly, in private, before it's found out and condemned. And I hate this condemnation. Even living on my own now, it's hard for me to rectify this ingrained reaction to junk or indulgent food - nothing lasts for long, because nothing ever lasted for long when we were growing up. In my mind I know no one is going to steal my hershey's kisses in the cupboard - but I feel like I've deeply internalized that if I have 3 now, I can't count on them being there tomorrow.
My problem is not that I dislike good-for-you-foods - I love them, actually. But I also feel like I don't know how to moderate my eating, and re-train my mind when it comes to developing good eating habits, where nothing is off limits - and find a balance between restriction and binging.
Can I change the way I think about food?