Thursday, January 15, 2009


Why did I get fat? Throughout my life I ate too much crap and didn't exercise. I get that part about why I'm fat, but what about all the other stuff?

I recall many restaurant meals with my thin friend Nerissa. She would eat a few bites, push the food around her plate and then took the majority of the meal home in a box. While I was seated across from her, feeling uncomfortable in the chair and in my own skin, with an empty plate in front of me wanting more bread and dessert. The food itself being more important than the getting together of friends. Is my brain wired differently from a thin person's? Where did my unbalanced attitude toward food come from?

Even before my parents divorced, we never really ate meals together as a family. My father was rarely home for supper and practically never home at the weekends. If he happened to take us out for a meal on Sunday afternoon, it was a rush job. He ate like some sort of glazed-eyed speed demon trying to hurry us up so he could drop us home so he could "get back to work." Which, so predictably, turned out was code for getting back to his mistress. There was nothing leisurely about it, no conversation, no familial bonding. After my dad left, my mother turned to food for comfort and then her yo-yo diet, binge cycle started. Is this when I learned to use food as a coping mechanism?

After my dad left, I remember being taken to nutritionists and behaviorists as a kid and I remember being called fat by other kids at school from time to time. But it really shocked me to see how not fat I was as a kid until I got my hands on the huge box of family photos while I was up visiting the family in December. I looked through piles of pictures was shocked! It was a totally unfair assessment on everyone's part to say I was fat until maybe Sophomore year of high school. Did I learn to be fat because people labeled me as such?

I have relatives on both sides of the family that are fat. Did I get some sort of busted gene that made me predisposed to becoming a fattie?

Dwelling on the past isn't healthy but sometimes you have to look to the past in order to make for a better future. Looking deeper into past issues can help with breaking the cycle. Making sure that my food is as healthful as possible was the first step. Focusing on friends and family and other joyful activities is another strategy I'm working on. Being present in the moment, not just during meals, but in all other aspects of life has helped bring balance back into my life. And most important, being conscious of my feelings while eating is really helping me understand the difference between enjoying a nourishing meal and just eating for comfort.

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