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Eureka Moment #3

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Every once in a while, I have one of those EUREKA!! moments.. and I just had one. I was reading a blog by Jen Mueller about how there are parents, paranoid about their children becoming overweight, that actually consider (and some likely do) restricting their babies' formula intake because the child is "chubby."

That is so outrageous on so many fronts, I could write for days and still not be done. But I did comment because I was so outraged. I don't know about how anyone else does it, but when I am moved to comment about something, I don't really know exactly what I'm going to say until I start saying it. Even with this blog, as I write it, I don't know where it's going to end up. I think that's pretty typical, because all that training in school about how to write a good piece involving outlines and forethought..I think the purpose was to make us writers who didn't have to do that once we got proficient.. anyway, as usual, I digress..

So as I'm commenting to Jen's piece, I make some statements that just come out, and..of course, you know I'm going to say EUREKA!! Here's what I wrote:

"In our zest as a society to encourage healthy lifestyles, we are going to ruin these children for life. I can think of no single greater reason that I became a champion closet eater than my parents' well intentioned attempts than to restrict my eating because I was overweight as a child, and somehow tied "acceptance" to what I looked like.. Took me 8 years with a therapist to sort through all that 20 years later (and 20 years ago, by the way). And once I figured it all out, closet eating had become such a habit that I still did it, even though I had sorted through all the emotional aspects of it. And now we are starting with babies.. very sad.

There is no greater way to teach our children about healthy lifestyles and healthy eating habits than to give them ourselves as positive role models..and giving that to my son is today is my greatest motivation to succeed on this journey.

Jen, I think you've just given me an "eureka" moment, thank you!"

end of comment

See, this is another example of how the "experts" tell you, "Luke, search your feelings..the answer is within, there is a psychological reason that you overeat... " is not really accurate (my earlier blog this morning in the "31 Day series" addresses how you have to take each bit of advice from the experts with a grain of salt to see if it applies to you). And 20 years ago, I learned there WAS a psychological reason, but somehow in the last 20 years, since those days on "the couch," I have forgotten one very important thing...I am a closet eater. I don't closet eat for emotional reasons any longer, I have long since battled those demons and overcome them, BUT THE HABIT OF CLOSET EATING NEVER WENT AWAY.

20 years ago, during what I would call my last very successful battle with weight in which losing 80 lbs was easy, there was a lot going on in my life. First, I had been in therapy since the mid 80's and was towards the end, then, unexpectedly, I discovered I had a brain tumor. I knew from the start that it was not cancerous, but also that I needed to have it taken out. So, at the age of 29, I had brain surgery. You can't have something like that happen in your life and not be forced to really, really, take stock. And I did. I went to a nutritionist and began to see her regularly. I decided that I had been talking about going to law school forever, it was time to sh!t or get off the pot, so I applied and got in, to go in the evenings as I worked full time. I did volunteer work. I was in my Church choir. I re-established what had become a long dormant relationship with God, with the help of our church pastor who became and remains one of my dearest and closest friends.

I didn't have any time to myself. I worked full time, I went to law school in the evenings, I lived and worked and went to school in Boston, all within a block of each other. I worked all day every day, went to school every night, in class or studying, would grab a bit to eat, go home and go to bed and do it all over again the next day. I met new and interesting people, and was studying stuff that I was born to study. Losing weight was easy. I'm not going to tell you it was a healthy lifestyle: I ate lots of restaurant food, drank more than my share of manhattans, didn't exercise except the walking I did everywhere.. But the weight melted off. I didn't closet eat, mostly because I didn't have time. I'd get home to my apartment at night and fall into bed, completely exhausted.

Why am I sharing all this? Because it's all part and parcel of what and who I am now, and I forgot about the closet eating. But, but, but...life has changed. It's definitely not boring, I love my husband, I adore my son, I have a job I really like..but it's a calmer, more settled life. And I've begun closet eating again. Not for the emotional reasons I used to, that stuff has long been put to bed, but because the habit has re-emerged. That night time eating, that afternoon eating..all done during times when the original, emotion-charged closet eating used to be done..

hmmm..what the he!! to do with all this?? Easy answer: be aware, Luke, be very aware!! And maybe now that I remember, perhaps now I won't.. Maybe I'm going to have to clear a little space on my refrigerator door (adorned with school papers, school lunch menus, school calendars, hockey schedules, chore charts, and put up a sign for myself: NO CLOSET EATING!!!!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow! The things I just learned about you! You continue to inspire me.

    The blog about the chubby babies disturbed me too. I also heard a stat just recently that eating disorders in elementary school have gone up 118%. Elementary school. Sad.

    I know that I am going to have to watch my son as it seems that every time he is "bored" he is "hungry". When he says he is hungry I try and give him water and then have him do something. If after 10 minutes he is still hungry, he gets a snack.

    3582 days ago
    Whoa Girl! That was HUGE! This was a good day to finally make it here to your 2011 blogs.

    Interesting to learn even more about you. That much more to admire and love.

    It makes more sense to me, too. You (to my knowledge) didn't seem the emotional eater type, but, I understand the habit, and the "regularity" or "status quo" eating. I do it, too.

    Setting the exercise and healthy habits examples for Little T is happening and as you say, oh so important. He will not have your reasons for closet eating, so he won't deal with that.

    For you, EUREKA is always the beginning of motivation and Giant steps (as we used to say in Mother May I?) forward. I look forward to hearing how you intend to, as Ramona suggested substitute a good habit (exercise then instead of early am?)and what that habit is.

    No wonder you spent so much time sparking today, you were growing baby!
    3582 days ago
    Wow! That is a Eureka moment! It did make me think back and think current and I do see a habit that I must be prepared to have a replacement for at some point. It usually creeps up when I've got things going well. I believe it stems to that old belief of not being good enough. Thanks for the warning!
    3583 days ago
    Way to go, TIna!!!!! I caution Olivia ALL of the time to beware of the HABITS she is developing... make sure they are good ones... and she has already had the awareness of forming a habit that causes her frustration and had to work to weed it back out.

    I SO wish someone had told me about habits as a child (instead of telling me I was an awful person), LOL! Would have saved me A LOT of grief as I grew older.

    Another thing to remember, you can't really eliminate a deeply ingrained 'habit'... you need to REPLACE a bad habit with a good one... because as you've pointed out, the behaviour started for a good reason.

    Battle on Jedi Queen!
    {{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}
    3583 days ago
    Your comments bring up memories of some kids that were in my sisters' classes. Their parents were so restrictive that anytime one of the girls would go to a sleepover, she would eat so much "junk" that she would make herself sick. I feel that overall my boys eat pretty healthy, but they still have their "treats" occasionally (the majority tend to be when they are with Nanna and Gramps!).

    Anyway, this was a great blog! Thank you for sharing and making some great points!
    3583 days ago
    This also disturbed me. The results of putting this pressure on children rather than a good nature emphasis on healthier choices cannot be good.
    3583 days ago
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