That is the note I woke up to yesterday morning. It was a good way to start my day, that’s for sure. The last time my seven year old wrote something about me was in a notebook I found in his room. It said, “Sometimes my mom is bossy. But she is still frendly.” Before that, it was a journal entry from school that said, “My family is good. My dad works a lot. My mom likes to nap.” It’s ironic since I can’t remember the last time I actually had a nap. But regardless, I love the honesty of children. Even if what you hear isn’t always flattering, it is always from the heart.
I’ve been thinking about one line from that note today. “You feed me.” It’s just so matter of fact. And it’s true…I do feed him - it is my job. I take pleasure in providing good food for my family to eat. But hidden in those three words, there is a lot more meaning. He isn’t saying, “thank you for providing me with the nourishment that I need to be healthy.” He is saying, “thank you for loving me by feeding me.”
As I have been paying attention to my emotional eating and snacking habits, I started to notice something. I noticed that if I get stressed out or angry, my first reaction is NOT to head for the fridge. I don’t think I am as much of a stress eater as I thought I was. That is a good thing. But I also noticed that if I finish a task that I’ve been putting off, have sat down at the end of the day to relax, or am just looking to do something to unwind with friends, food is the first thing I go to. I use food as a reward. I use it as a means of relaxation and comfort. And I am training my children to do that as well.
“Great basketball game! Let’s stop and get some ice cream on the way home to celebrate.”
“Finish your chores and you can have a snack.”
“I’m sorry you hurt your knee…do you want a popsicle?”
“Want to go out? Let’s go get pizza!”
We have visions of plump little grandmas offering chocolate chip cookies to her grandkids. If you go to the park, there’s a picnic. If you have people over, it’s for dinner. If you have a party, gotta make sure there is cake and ice cream. The movies have popcorn. Even the gym has energy bars and Gatorade. When we go on dates, we go out and eat. We live in a culture where everything positive can somehow be associated with food. It’s no wonder that if you go on Amazon and look up “comfort food,”, you will pull up 18,272 results for comfort food cook books. Looks like I’m not the only one with this problem.
But being aware of the problem and fixing the problem are two different things altogether. I’m still thinking about that part of it. I know that is a balance that needs to be found. I need to start by finding things that are not food related that bring me pleasure. I need to start rewarding my son with stickers instead of cheeseburgers. Instead of inviting people to go out to lunch or dinner every time, maybe sometimes we just need to go bowling or to the park (with no picnic basket). Instead of picking up a bag of chips at night, I should try picking up a book. I need to rewire my brain.
If this weight loss thing is like a journey, I am still packing for the trip. It’s not as exciting as the journey itself, but it’s a necessary part. I’m gathering tools and knowledge that I need to move forward. Thanks to everyone who is helping me along the way. I feel like I am slowly getting prepared to not just lose weight, but change my inner person as well.