Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Mommy, why do I eat when I'm bored?"

My answer "I don't know, but I do that too."
8 year old "I thought we are supposed to eat only when we are hungry."
Me "We are."
8 year old "Then why do I want a snack right now, but I'm not hungry?"
Me "I am glad you can say this to me, but I don't know the answer honey, let's find something else to do."

I really don't know the answer. I am pretty sure it started for me around the same age if not before. Eat when happy. Eat when sad. Eat to celebrate. Eat when bored. Eat because there are starving children in Africa. Clean your plate. Don't cry, have a cookie. Don't fight with your brother, have a piece of cake. I had a grandmother that when you said "that is enough Nana" you would get three more scoops on your plate. I don't remember being taught that you eat when you are hungry. In fact, I don't remember ever being hungry. Is that a good thing?

I love food. I am one of those people that would much rather cheese and bread, cookies and cakes than an apple or celery. Don't get me wrong, I love veggies. I eat healthy food. But, given the choice? Chocolate. Wine. Sugar. Pasta. Oh, and just to clarify, I don't like to cook. Make it for me and I'll eat it. Lot's of it. I'm not one of those "I just need a taste" people. I need it all. And sometimes more.

So when am I eating? I eat when hungry. I get that emptiness feeling in the morning just after waking (good to know the metabolism IS working), I need a mid morning snack, lunch, another snack and then dinner. But I also eat because I want to. I need a chocolate fix. I see a commercial with someone eating a big juicy cheeseburger, I guarentee you within 24 hours one will be on my plate. I eat because I deserve to. I work hard and dammit, if I want ice cream I should have it. Shouldn't I?

Moderation vs. deprivation. That is my struggle. Can I have a small amount of a mashed potatos with butter and not feel deprived? Or is it better not to have it at all rather than start the cascade of over eating? How do I slow down turning the thought (I love mashed potatoes) into the action (eating the whole bowl)? I know what does not work for me. Paying someone to weigh me each week. I have scale anxiety. Counting calories - BORING! Weighing food and portions - MORE BORING!! I think this time I have to approach weigh loss mindfully. Be in the moment. The now.

So, my 8 year old taught me yet another lesson yesterday. I can start by asking the question each time. Why am I eating {fill in the blank}?

I'll get back to you on the answer.

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