Sunday, July 22, 2012

Confessions of an Emotional Eater

When I first re-vamped my blog, I was just getting into learning about the vegan and paleo eating styles. I was having problems with my gallbladder which I now know was causing me to be in pain when I ate too much fatty/greasy foods. Because I was learning all this new information, I wanted a place where I could share without feeling ashamed of the choices I was making. The college cafeteria was not the easiest place to share interesting facts about nutrition because my friends just didn't care.

As time went on, I kept most of this interesting knowledge to myself and I didn't talk about food. The truth was that I felt like I couldn't talk about food because for the longest time food had been my crutch. For most of my life I have been overweight. My parents were farm kids and wanted to give my brother and me the best of everything they could afford. This included everything from extra yummy homemade desserts to lots of pizza and other fast food staples because we were a busy family and it was difficult to prepare a home cooked meal for us every night.

When we moved to another state and away from our personal swimming pool, a few things started happening to me. First, I was starting to hit the age where I realized that I cared what people thought of me. Second, I started to put on some weight because I liked reading more than I liked running around and playing sports. I also didn't have very many friends when I first moved because the social order in school was already established by the time I hit middle school and I had to change school districts. So, I turned to food because it made me feel good.

I didn't realize what was happening at first. All I knew is that I was gaining more weight and being picked on more at school. I was not a morning person and I regularly skipped breakfast. By the time I hit high school, I had stopped eating lunch because I didn't want to deal with the lunch line and I thought it would help me manage my weight. By the time I got home, I was starving and ate snack foods from when I got home until dinner time. If I didn't like the "healthier" dinners that my parents were having, I would either not eat dinner or fix myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

By the time I hit the end of my sophomore year of high school I was depressed and I turned to food to help cheer me up. It didn't help that I would compare myself to my younger brother who was super popular despite being disabled. The high school I was in was one of the ones that if you weren't part of the football team or the band, then you were worthless. It felt like I couldn't do anything right and the only thing that made me feel better was sweets and chocolate.

Luckily, in my junior year of high school we moved and I was put in a school where people didn't care if you were in the football team or if you were top of your grade. It was a high school with drama, but I didn't feel like I didn't belong. I made a small group of friends and really learned how to love myself for being me. When I was ready, I met a boy (my now fiancee) and he turned out to be one of the best friends I have ever had.

Slowly, I started to let go of food.  It was during my last two years of high school that I realized that I was an emotional eater. I still didn't eat lunch at school, but I started to make an effort to actually eat something that wasn't just junk food. I recognized the signs of when I was nosing around at food because I was bored and when I was actually hungry.

It wasn't until I got into college that I started to eat normally again.

I didn't feel like I could really talk about food until I confronted all of this. There are still times when I go nosing around in the fridge and the pantry because I am bored. I am now learning how to cook and a small part of me is afraid that I'm not going to resist the siren call of sweets, sugar, and unhealthy eating.

Food is a fascinating subject with tons of culture and history behind it. I can't be ruled by fear each time I enter the kitchen to cook something new. So, I'm going to start talking more about food like I intended to on this blog. Feel free to chime in. There is tons about cooking that I don't know yet. Maybe we will learn something together.

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