Your comments this week about my posts and Instagram questions have been SO GOOD. So good. I am so thankful for each of you. Your willingness to be open and vulnerable about our very personal and often fraught relationships with food and eating and diet culture has been motivating and humbling. I wanted to share some of the comments I received, anonymously, in case you see any of your own twisty, bunchy, scratchy eating-stuff (or calm and balanced approaches!) in any of these experiences.
Here is how some of you replied to my prompt about whether you remember your mom dieting as a kid, and if so, how food was talked about in your home growing up:
- “I think I always wished they noticed something about me besides that I ate the food in front of me.”
- “I remember relatives commenting how “the Smith* girls are always clean platers!” *not their real name.
- “Portion control!”
- “I don’t remember diet, but remember lots of unhappiness with how mom felt about how she looked. No shorts, no bathing suits.”
- “We strived for balance in meals, not a lot of soda/packaged snacks; eating together as a family, having treats when out sometimes but later in life when the fat craze was happening, it was about eating more of those to replace other things (we know better now, but didn’t like the rest of America at the time).”
- “My mom dieted. I specifically remember her using Slim Fast shakes and bars. She was also a dietician…”
- “Mom once told me she felt accomplished if she went to bed hungry.”
- “My family went through feast and famine. Grandma or the church would roll up w groceries.”
- “She started Jazzercise at age 40 and really cut out sugar, fried foods, etc. I feel like she did it correctly!”
- “I can’t even fit that can of worms in this box.”
I’ve also heard from several of you via calls and text messages with longer stories and examples of your childhood food life and how that has bubbled over into your adult eating habits. And a couple of you called me after my post about my doctor’s appointment to share your experiences with your doctor, or the experiences of a spouse or other family member.
And one of you, after reading my post about my doctor’s appointment, texted me this:
“I’m glad she [my doctor] could show you God’s love for your body today.”
Which reduced me to a blubbering pile of sobs. Whooo-boy. There’s a lot to unpack there. (Thanks, decades of “our bodies are inherently sinful and our “fleshly desires” will pull us into all manner of disobedience” teaching). I’m not even going to touch that today, except to say that it has been a trip to think about all the ways growing up in conservative Protestant churches have shaped my body image and conception of food and eating. Book project?
THANK YOU, friends. I’m grateful for you. Let’s keep talking and thinking and unpacking, shall we?