This is the 4th installment of ‘Me, My Family & Food‘. It’s been amazing reading people’s stories.
If you missed the 1st and 2nd posts, go check them out and come back….cause Mara is amazing. This post is fabulous and coming from a girl who still struggles with emotional eating, reading her story means so much to me!!!! Hopefully, you can walk away with something from it!
When Food is No Longer Love: Overcoming A Childhood of Emotional Eating ~ Mara @ Medicinal Marzipan
When I was a child, I learned that food was love. I learned that when I was good, or when I had accomplished something, I could be rewarded with food. I learned that when I was bad (read: fat), I should not love myself, and thus, I should not eat because I did not deserve to eat.
Growing up, the majority of the women in my family were always dieting. I remember my great aunt, then 72, saying that she had been on a diet everyday since she was eleven. My grandmother dieted. They had magnets on their refrigerators that said, “Don’t forget your diet.” And yet, regardless of where I was on my own personal weight spectrum, they fed me – McDonalds, chocolate, whatever I wanted, because they loved me and Italians show their love with food.
My mother was always very thin, and I was fat and I envied her. I envied the clothing that she could wear, and the way that every single person that we ever came across thought she was beautiful. And as much as I envied her, my weight scared my mother. Now, she loved me and a good portion of that fear was for me, because she was the one who had to deal with me when I was wilted on the floor of the department store hysterically crying because nothing fit me. And a portion was that she had never been fat, so she didn’t understand why I kept getting fatter and fatter, no matter how many healthy foods she encouraged me to eat or walks she wanted me to go on.
I was getting fatter because I ate in secret. Because when my parents were watching my eat they would give me the: are you sure you want to eat that look. I knew that they thought I was fat, and I knew that they thought that if I just stopped eating so much and started working out I would be skinny. But the damage had already been done. I kept getting fatter, because I ate in secret. Because I had learned to be ashamed of my body. Because I had learned that I didn’t deserve to eat the things I craved. Because I was congratulated when I lost weight. So I ate. And ate. And ate. And it’s not even that I ever ate food that was really bad for me, but I ate a lot of it, consuming epic portions because I was stuffing the food deep into the hole of self hatred. And the more my food consumption and exercise regime was monitored, the more that I rebelled and the more that I learned to subsidize my decreasing self worth by comforting myself with whatever food I could get my hands on.
Now as an adult, I struggle with saying no when someone offers me food, grateful for the love and suspicious of the intent. I struggle with resorting to old patterns of comforting or rewarding myself with a hot fudge sundae, because I deserve it and not because I want it. Now, I have to tell myself: you are an adult. You can eat macaroni and cheese and chocolate chip cookies all day if you want to. No one is going to offer and take away treats with reckless abandon. You are in control of the food you consume.You aren’t hurting anyone but yourself by compulsively bingeing. If you put the bag of chips down, you can pick it up tomorrow, because it is YOURS and you can eat it whenever you want to.