Thursday, September 13, 2018

Conversations

I had a conversation with Kiddlywink and Alaskaboy this morning about the way I eat. We've had many conversations over the years. Alaskaboy and I have been through my low fat eating phase, we've learned about intuitive eating together, and once Kiddlywink came along..wow, was she good at showing me just what intuitive eating was all about. I also used Lite'n'Easy, CSIRO diet, Weight Watchers, Annette Sym's Shakes plan..all of which taught me something about what my body liked or did not like. Each of these eating plans also led to conversations about food, health etc within my family unit. I've always made sure that Kiddlywink has understood that I'm trying to learn how to eat healthily because I love myself and my body, not because I'm trying to lose weight or get skinny. “I'll help teach you, Mummy, I'm good at listening to my body and eating when I'm hungry then stopping when I've had enough!”

Enough. That's a hard one for me. I remember Kiddlywink had a Little Golden Book called, Baby's First Book by Garth Williams. It's one that was handed down through my extended family, from my oldest cousin through other cousins, to me and my brother and then to Kiddlywink. In the book there's a page that deals with eating. I'm usually very angry with people who deface books. To me, the change in message was much more important than avoiding writing in a book. Everything else about the book was fun and charming, but the message around food, I had to change. So, I did this.



I knew I had to instil in her a different message than what most of us grew up with; how to honour your hunger instead of eating everything that was put in front of you. Even if I couldn't apply it myself, I could at least reinforce KW's natural ability to stop when she'd had enough. Logically and emotionally, I understand why generations of children grew up with that message. But in reality, it made it very difficult for me to understand my own hunger. My mum and dad did they best they could, but I also ate a lot of meals at my grandparent's house, where the message was intensely applied. Again, I understand why, and am also grateful for the food, love and care I received while in their home. However, I did learn that I had to eat what was put in front of me. And Nan was a wonderful cook, so I relished every bite. Being competitive athletes we also ate bigger portions than other children our age, I remember taking two full sandwiches to primary school for lunch and the other children being shocked that I ate so much. At the time I'd simply shrug and say, “I'm hungry!” then devour my lunch.

As time passed, I learned that I was an emotional eater, and I've done a lot of work on that over the last two decades. What I couldn't grasp was this concept of enough. Sure I made inroads, or had little discoveries here and there. But I was always sporty and active and loved exercise, so I was always hungry. And emotionally hungry for many reasons. It wasn't until just recently that I've finally and truly realised that my default setting for Enough was Christmas Dinner Stuffed Full. And I have many memories of being sick on Christmas Day or Boxing Day because it's full on party mode and being able to eat whatever my little heart desired. All the yummy things we only got once a year too! And when you have a large extended family meeting together and all bringing their best dishes..boy is it a budding gourmand's idea of heaven..and hell. Hell, because my eyes and taste buds always won..and my stomach would suffer as a result. I even had a nickname alluding to my love of pork crackling.

Fast forward to my thirties and into my forties and I was still eating like that little girl..without the growth spurts or physical activity to compensate for it. And that's why this morning's conversation was so very different. After getting on the scales, I noticed my weight had gone down..but I felt like I hadn't been doing all that much to show the kind of consistent results I'd had over the last three months. I asked Alaskaboy and Kiddlywink to tell me if they'd noticed any changes in my eating over the past twelve weeks.

Kiddlywink was first with the comment, “You're not eating ALL the time anymore! You would eat whether you were happy, sad, or anything. I was worried, Mummy.”

Alaskaboy alluded to an earlier conversation where he and I had discussed my Christmas Dinner Stomach, “I think you're right, you're not longer eating to that super full point. I was shocked last night when you dished up what looked like a decent portion, but you were full after eating the curry and only half the rice..and you stopped.”

I agreed that I'd stopped, but then when I was hungry later I'd also had a cinnamon donut and a couple of homemade jam drop biscuits for dessert. Which I enjoyed immensely. (And I've just remembered I also only drank about 1/3 of the mug of tea I'd poured.)

They reminded me that not only would I have eaten all that was on my plate before..but also consumed the half a dozen donuts that were in the packet and many more biscuits. Then sat up late because I was too full to go to bed..and eaten a few hours later when I was 'hungry' again.

The conversation flowed amongst the three of us from there but the general gist of it was that I was now able to recognise when I'd had Enough and stop. And just as importantly, if I'm not hungry, I don't start.

Not starting, that's another topic to do with my fear of missing out or just plain old fear of being hungry..but I'll discuss that another time. I reckon I've written enough for now. ;)

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