I figure pretty much everyone has food issues of some kind, even if they’re relatively mild or benign, and I consider myself lucky that mine are pretty mild. Not that I’m an expert; I’m not and I know it. I just know how fortunate I am.
Still, even if my food issues aren’t exactly life-threatening, they’re still no fun. Worse, when it comes to weight, food issues aren’t the only issues I had to deal with.
Eating was a race when I grew up. My siblings and I would make fun of each other if the food ran out before everyone had seconds. If I got a second portion but you didn’t, Hah! In your face!
As you can imagine, we all learned to eat as fast as possible, while keeping a careful watch on the serving bowls in the center of the table. Eating until we’re full? What’s that got to do with anything?
Add to that a long history of looking at losing weight as eliminating certain foods from your diet. No more cheddar! No more mayo! Switch to non-fat salad dressings!
Bleh. I love cheddar and non-fat dressings taste like flavored water. I want my food to be satisfying, and as easy as it is for me to be hard on myself, I can’t do it for the months and months it takes to lose weight.
So, all of my instincts pushed me away from making an effort to drop pounds. It’s incredibly hard and completely miserable, so what’s the point? Even going to the gym regularly was hard to manage because I had (and still have) so much leg pain.
And there’s poverty, too. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not exactly rolling in cash. The thing is, my son is a very fussy eater. I cook things for him all the time that he refuses to eat. He also doesn’t like leftovers–even if there’s half a pizza left from his lunch, he won’t have it for dinner, and he won’t touch it the next day. He wants one small thing after another, not quite finishing most things, utterly rejecting others (even if he’s specifically asked for them).
For a long time, the way we dealt with that was that I would eat it. Let food go to waste? Hell no. I’d eat it instead, even if it was something gross like a frozen pizza or Ramen noodles.
My wife didn’t even realize I was doing this. When I finally sat down with them at dinner and explained that I couldn’t be the family garbage disposal, she made this little heart-breaking sound. Of course I shouldn’t have been doing that.
My son still occasionally says “Give it to Dad,” as he tries to slink away from a meal, but that doesn’t fly any more.
All those things were pushing me away from dropping pounds. I had one big thing pushing me toward it.
It’s the kid. My son has a father with a sedentary job, a fat gut, and a lot of leg pain. I’m not exactly the powerful, vigorous role model I’d like to be. Yeah, I’m teaching him right from wrong and he knows I love him and expect him to grow into a happy decent person, but there’s no getting around the fact that, physically, I’m not cutting it.
There’s also the ever-present fear that my health would deteriorate to the point that I wouldn’t get to see him grow up, and that I would turn my wife into a struggling single parent because of my behavior at the dining room table.
Anyway, that’s a number of complicated issues there, but luckily I’m trying to deal with them in systematic way.
More detail later