I am a pretty generous person in most areas of my life. Well, I am now. However, there was a time when I was generous with most things except for food.
As a size 28, morbidly obese wife and mother to three small children, I had many roles. I was a chauffeur to my kids, a “vet” to our dog, a stand-in doctor for my kids little boo-boos, and guardian of all food.
I was responsible for the grocery shopping, I alone planned and prepared all the meals we ate at home, picked out the restaurants we ate at, and decided what food did or did not make it in the house.
I suppose that role of “food keeper” is pretty typical for moms these days.
What made my “food keeper” role less typical was my protective attitude toward the food in the house.
My grocery store trips included time spent selecting the necessary ingredients for the breakfast, lunches, and dinners I had planned. But, while I was strolling up and down the grocery store aisles, I would also be shopping for some special foods for my enjoyment only.
Of course ,these special foods were not grapes, salad, carrots, or other healthy food, but instead those special foods were chocolate covered peanuts, flavored chips, chewy cookies, and any other package of junk food that struck my fancy.
If I had some of the children with me when I was shopping, they would ask if they were going to get some of my special food. I’ d say, “Yes, honey, you can have a few pieces of candy when we get home.” However, I knew that as soon as I got home that candy would disappear into the high reaches of the pantry where my little daughter would forget about it. You see, I did not want her (or any of the other members of my family) to find my candy/junk food stash and make me share it.
After I had hidden the food on a high pantry shelf or in the back of my own closet, I would frequently visit my stash throughout the following days. I remember the feeling of reaching my hand up into the closet, feeling under winter sweaters for the ever shrinking bag of M&M’s. If someone walked in while I was stuffing my face with candy, I’d turn away from them and pretend like I was just walking through the room instead of standing in front of the closet or pantry eating.
Occasionally John would find my stash while looking for something and would ask where the food came from. I’d take a step back and try to appear casual as I lied. I would tell him something like, “Oh, I bought that bag months ago for the birthday party. Good you found it so it doesn’t go bad.” He would just nod briefly and walk away. He told me later that he knew I was lying but did not want me to feel bad, so he did not confront me.
As for me, I would think about that candy he had discovered and worry that he would get that bag and eat some of my candy. Sad, isn’t it?
Even more sad, perhaps, was the fact that I even watched the food at dinner time. I always hoped that there would be enough for me to have seconds or thirds after everyone went to bed, and was a little disappointed if there were no leftovers.
When I finally got to the point where I was tired of living like that, I made a 180 degree turn.
I stopped buying junk food for me or anyone else at the grocery store.
All food in the house was in the pantry, freely seen, and freely accessed by everyone.
At dinner, I stopped worrying about what I would eat after dinner and instead stayed in the moment and enjoyed the meal.
If you are reading this and have experienced these types of feelings or done some of these things, know that you are not alone. Countless men and women have told me their own stories of similar feelings and behavior. When someone asks me what to do about feeling possessive of food or hiding food, I tell them that although it is hard, it is possible to change and eliminate this habit.
I changed this bad habit by finally putting food in its proper place in my life. Food wasn’t for soothing feelings, relieving stress, or as a companion when I was bored. Instead I tried to look at food as a joyous part of a full life. This took a lot of effort and diligence and did not come overnight.
As I changed my attitude toward food I saw many positive changes in my life, and you will too.
Have you ever felt possessive about food or been tempted to eat in secret? Diane
<p>Image courtesy of Ambro <a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net” target=”_blank”>FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>