Healthy food was always available to us growing up. If we were hungry, we ate. If it was an hour before dinner and we were hungry, we ate. If we were not hungry we were not forced to eat. If it was 2 hours after dinner and we were hungry, we ate. We were never forced to eat or deprived of eating. If we were full, our plate did not have to be “clean”. No guilt trips of “starving children” were ever used to make us eat beyond what our own bodies told us were full. We were never told we were “wasteful” by not finishing what we put on our plate, nor made to sit there for 2 hours until what we DID put on our plate was eaten. What we didn’t eat was put in a Tupperware and eaten later, or given to the dogs. Our parents never held food over our heads, never used food as leverage “if you eat this then I will give you that,” or punished us for not eating what they made if we didn’t like it. Food was meant for nourishment and if we did not like what we were given we had the option to make ourselves something else. We did not have little debbies as options because my mother did not buy that food. We had no sugar cereals either. On the weekends she made brownies or cinnamon rolls and we put syrup on our pancakes and french toast. Otherwise, if we wanted a snack it was applesauce, or raisins, or a sandwich or a granola bar, etc.
Then I would go to a friend’s house. They put too much food on their plate and had to eat it. So our sleep over consisted of me sitting there at that table for 2 hours until it was time to go to bed until my friend ate all of her food. I mean she was only 8 so she should have known exactly how much food her stomach could handle when putting the food on her plate right? WRONG! I wish these parents had degrees in child development or just common sense. But they did not. So the power control began and the parents seemed to get some sort of joy out of this embarrassing behavior, this “sit there until it is all eaten” power trip. It seemed mean to me as a child. Even as a very young girl I could see the sadness and emotional scarring that that parental behavior was causing.
Then I would go to another friend’s house. No snacks before dinner. Then the kid would be over hungry and nauseous and not want to eat dinner at all or not able to eat much and then be hungry and hour later but be deprived of food. WHY!??
Then another friend’s house where they spent all afternoon eating snickers bars and the parents legitimately seemed confused as to why the child did not want to eat a steak!
It blows my mind thinking back on it now.
There was no: 1. Listen to your own body.
I heard every excuse a parent could give on why they controlled food. If the child ate, it would “ruin their dinner.” The only thing that ruined dinner was the fact that the child was then overly hungry and the parent made asparagus which the child hated and then was forced to eat cold 2 hours later because they didn’t clean their plate.
I watched as EACH of these kids had obesity issues, control over their food issues, bulemia, anorexia, and everything in between. Is that such a shocking outcome? The child was never given the ability to eat based on their own hunger. It is pretty simple. If you put leverage and controls and rules on everything food…your child is going to develop a food issue which will result in a body image issue that they will battle for many years to come.
I will never forget my friend reaching over the table to get a roll from the basket and her parent sticking her in the hand with her fork because “MANNERS!” We do NOT reach across the table. We ask for the food to be passed. Because we are raising endentured servants and we are part of the Royal family and we are on camera being video taped right now and others watching may think our children are impolite! I mean who was this, fork stabbing, and lecture benefitting? All it did was scare the shit out of me and I never wanted to eat there again. I can tell you that it instilled fear. I can tell you that eating at that house made me nervous of what the consequences of me eating or not eating would be.
This is not healthy!
I chose to raise my daughter eating food just like my parents raised me. When she is hungry she eats! If she is full, we put the food in a container and she finishes it when she wants. If she is hungry an hour before dinner, she has a banana.
These choices parents make are only a part of what can potentially cause eating disorders. My eating disorder came about NOT because of food. It came about because of control. I needed to control something. I needed to control my body and by doing that I could control my food. This happened as a direct result of sexual abuse.
So there are many potential contributors to eating disorders. As a parent we are blessed with the ability to NOT contribute to any of them.