My relationship with food
I told you that I would write some more about my experiences with food. In my family (namely my mother’s family, my father’s side isn’t really all that close), food was a big part of our familial celebrations – holidays, birthdays, etc. Each household would bring a dish every time we got together. We typically had ham (my grandmother was a big fan of ham, I don’t know why, that’s just the way it usually worked out) if it was a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving or burgers or hot dogs on the grill if it was a summer holiday. Someone would almost always bring cheesy potatoes (I’ll have to post that a little later) and there would inevitably be some kind of crackers and dip. But the big focus was almost always dessert.
Who doesn’t love dessert? We’d usually have at least two desserts, sometimes more. And if we were at my aunt’s house, we’d usually congregate around the food. Much easier for snacking, but much harder on maintaining healthy eating habits. When I got to college, my eating habits did not improve, that was for sure. Through the course of my undergrad studies, I gained about 50 pounds over 5 years. I ate very few vegetables because frankly, in my experience, they were never prepared in a manner that made them tasty and I have issues with food textures. In fact, when I was growing up, the only cooked vegetables I would willingly eat were potatoes and corn – not even the healthiest vegetables. I’m proud to say that I eat many more vegetables now, but I’m still a pretty picky eater.
I would have to say that my biggest issue with food is that I eat my feelings. Stressed? Eat something (usually something sweet, ergo unhealthy). Sad? Eat something. Bored? Eat. Happy? Eat. So you can understand how moving across the country by myself for a job and to be closer to my then-boyfriend-now-husband when he returned from deployment must have impacted my weight. (If you didn’t put it together, the weight went up. By about 25 pounds.) Now, my husband can pretty much eat whatever he wants, but as long as he is working out, he will lose weight. Me, I struggle with weight loss. I’ve tried portion control, calorie counting, increasing water intake, exercise, cooking more healthfully. I still have trouble losing weight. But I feel better about myself when I work out and then eat a balanced meal afterward. Having a toddler and an infant, I need to be much more conscientious about my diet. I want to be able to be active with my boys. So I continue to work hard at losing weight and eating healthfully.
Do I still struggle with emotional eating? Yes. Will I always struggle with it? Probably so. But by cooking at home instead of eating out or always making a boxed or frozen meal (which are very high in sodium and other preservatives), I can control the quality of our meals and make food that is going to provide quality nutrition instead of a bunch of empty calories.