Friday, November 7, 2008

Motivations and cutting through the smoke

I belong to a weight loss email loop, and most mornings someone posts a word of the day, and thoughts that they have about it in regards to weight loss. Today's was about boundaries, and while emotional boundaries do not seem to be one of the factors behind my emotional eating, it got me to think about things that did.

I was raised in a large family as a part of a large extended family, and everything was set up as a group mind sort of thing. There is no I in team and in family I comes at the end and makes a short sound. It is not that the rights of the individuals were ignored, but rather that the good of the whole was upheld to protect the needs of the individual. Sort of a united we stand kind of thing. Food was always a part of the gatherings, and it was always simple, cheap balast kind of fare. more designed to keep belly of of backbone than high nutrition. Lots of refined starches, lots of fats, and served in a kind of buffet style. Last Christmas it suddenly occurred to me that there was little visual difference between my large family gatherings and one putting slops in a trough for the livestock. Weird, but true out of nessesity. There are no formal setting possibilities in a residential house when the gathering number approaches 100 people. Sorry Martha.

One thing seemed to stand out in my childhood weird messages though. Good eaters ( those who clean their plate and then some) were strong people and strong people kept us safe. I honestly belive it was a strange kind of family legacy that came down as a result of the Irish famines and immigrant mindset. My grandfather was first generation Irish American on one side, and began his adult married life during the Depression.It was a very different world from that which we have now. There were shortages, there were more diseases and children died more often. Hunger was something that usually led to sickness, so a full belly meant strength and health. Consequentially, most of the men on my father's side were hard working, smoking, weekend drinking folks who usually had at least one heart attack by age 50. So much for strength- but the mindset kind of carried on. A few of my cousins also have serious weight problems, and I belive they were victims of the same messages.

As I embark on this journey I constantly think about my motivations, my behaviors and my choices. i know now that a strong individual is a healthy one who is active and living in balance. They are strong because they are able to see through the masks and mirrors on the path that can lure them into bad places and dead ends. I want to be that kind of a strong person, and I want to pass that lifestyle on to my son.

2 comments:

Mrs. Skye-Lynn Young said...

We were far from poor growing up, but at the time, we thought we were.

After having to go on welfare and foodstamps at the age of 19 with a 9 month old baby, I quickly learned the true definition of poor. Best lesson I could have ever learned! But that story's for another day. ;o)

There was mom and dad and us 3 children. Mom would serve each of us, including dad, and we were told to "clean our plates". "Do you realize how many starving children they have in the world?" "Do you realize how expensive food is?"

I still have trouble with this today. I absolutely hate throwing away food. I rather stuff myself than feed the garbage. And I wonder why I have 145 pounds to lose!

That is why I started serving myself in a smaller plate. I can still "clean my plate" and not feel guilty while hopefully losing weight in the process. ;o)

And as for as leftovers, I give them to a neighbor of mine who's a single mom.

Isn't it crazy how it's those little things that we bring with us into adulthood and we don't even realize it until years later!

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

I like to call the little things our tapes from childhood. No matter who you are you have them, and they stay with you for the rest of your life. parents, in spite of their best intentions, pass them on to their kids in those sort of unconscious moments, when you are not even considering what an impact you make.Those kinds of lessons are caught more than taught. Our children are catching ones as well, and suddenly seeing that allows on to forgive the mistakes of our parents, for in truth they, like us are only human. Our job, I believe, is to find the truth in the mix we were given and try our best to make it just a little better carrying on.

We had some of the clean your plate things at times, but more like applause if anyone left anything because someone moved in and finished it off. You ate more just to pis off your siblings !I got really good at it- which was why I wound up weighing 310 pounds as an adult. This time around I started at 269, and my goal weight is 160. As of last weigh in, 70pounds to go. We will get there !