Tuesday, April 20, 2010

food and self-image

In the recent months I've thought alot about food. Not just making it but how I respond to it (sounds strange, I know).

A few months back, Dave was gone all day and I had the kids. Any mom knows that on those days you are just a few steps away from going over the edge.

It was dinner time and I was frantically eating. The kids were out of control (usual for 6 o'clock) and I was anxious to make it to bedtime. I started SHOVING food in my mouth and I wasn't even hungry. In that moment, I heard the Lord say, Gluttony makes you irritable with your kids. What?!? (as food is spilling out of my mouth).

I wrote it down b/c I knew this was something I needed to remember. So I examined if this was really true. Sure enough, when I was anxious, I was eating. And then I would eat too much, feel like junk, and take it out on my kids. There were no happy moments surrounded the end of meals.

I began to pray that the Lord would give me control over my hands and mouth. That I wouldn't put anything my body unless I needed it. It didn't matter what it was, just that if I wasn't in NEED of it, I wouldn't eat it. Seems simple, right? Do you know how much I'm NOT hungry? And I'm nursing!

Okay, step away from food for a minute. Let's move onto the ever-present topic of body image. It's a certain thing for women to look at the figures of others around them. There are very few women who feel okay with every part of themselves. If you're one of them, tell me your secret.

I had an Ah-Ha moment a few weeks back while reflecting on this whole body image stuff combined with food stuff. Very few women I know who are thin, worked hard to get there. Most are genetically predisposed to having that body. Yay for them! But for the rest of us, we spend our energies working towards that goal of thinness. We all want to rebuke the notion that we equate thinness with beauty, but we all have that desire ingrained in us somewhere. I did. I thought being thin meant that you somehow won the victory over food. But you know what, most of those people who are thin, usually don't exercise and eat whatever they want. BECAUSE, they come by it naturally. (I loved this woman's answer to being thin)

Now I will say that this isn't the gold standard. There are those who have worked their fannies off to be thin and reached their goal. But they have to work HARD and watch what they eat ALL the time. And it's no coincidence that we see women in Hollywood desperate to be thin, get thin, and then gain it all back. We certainly don't see Jennifer Aniston with a weight problem. And that's b/c she is designed to look that way. She has great thin-genes.

Whatever my view of beauty is will be passed onto my children. Specifically, my girls. I don't want terms like fat or skinny in my house. I want healthy. I don't know what type of body my girls will have. Right now, they are both thin and on the tall side, but if it's not like that forever, fine. I just want them to listen to their bodies, feel comfortable in their figure, and know that God designed them perfectly.

So where am I going with all this?

I struggle with believing that I need to eat right to be thin. Not the case. I need to eat right b/c my body needs it, I need energy, and I want to feel great. I also want to remove the stumbling block of anxious eating which leads to gluttony and irritability with my kids. My kids do not need to suffer for my sin.

a few guidelines I've set for myself.

1. Do I need it? Am I hungry?
2. Is it good for me? Have I had the things today that are good for me first? (I ask my kids this all the time)
3. How much do I need to feel satisfied?

I'm also adding in working out so that I can feel good. Dave has been working out for 6 days a week over the last month and although he's only lost 2 lbs, he is always commenting on how great he feels. I want to feel great and have lots of energy (not that I need more).

So now you can see why the pregnant comment fell on the heels of some BIG self-image stuff in my life.

Can anyone relate? Does anyone else have this struggle?


Cutzi said...

Ohh.... I do not even need to get into how much I struggle with my self-image. It's a lot. Every day, many moments a day.

I haven't come to a place of peace about it. One thing I have realized is that a lot of thin people are unhealthy and eat very little. A lot of skinny women eat next to nothing. I definitely don't think that's good.

Thanks for sharing your guidelines. Definitely good to keep in mind.

Kate said...

You know I give you a resounding "amen" on this one....loved talking with you about it the other day. Read Geneen's Roth's book - it's good stuff.

Melinda said...

Great post Kate! Good call on the gluttony and irritability with the kids. I definately identify with that. I covet my lunch time break and get very irritable when the kids don't cooperate so I can sit down with my food and pig out.

Curretnly, I am sitting on the couch, totally stuffed with 5 minute bread smothered in butter and jam. Soooo good! I am now feeling a bit ill however.

Brenda L said...

I have to admit I didn't realize how big I had gotten between Amanda and Anthony. Until having Amanda I was the same size I had been in high school. I've never been skinny and I'm OK with that. Somehow growing up I never cared. Looking back I believe it's because we didn't talk about "fat". My dad and brother were skinny and mom has always been over weight. Since having Anthony though I realized I had gotten bad so I just cut down on the amount going in. In the last year and half I have gone down 3 pant sizes by just being aware. I don't drink to much wine or coffee drinks any more. But the nice thing is that I don't feel guilty about what I eat. Brenda

Hoover Family said...

Thank you so much for this post! It is the way I feel all the time about food.

I've come to learn that skinny people are skinny because they take in much less ... and that is something that isn't apparent because they DO eat in public and don't eat a bag of oreo's because they feel overwhelmed with the kids (I've done this more then once ... that's why I try to keep all junk food out of the house except on the rare occasion I decide to bake something from scratch or buy a bag of treat type food).

I know your probably thinking, this is coming from a skinny person, and yes I am small ... but I worked my but off to loose all the baby weight and now to keep it of. The second time around was much harder, I did P90X plus trained for a half marathon. Now to keep it off I need to work out an hour a day at least 5 times a week and watch what I eat. I don't think a lot of people say how hard it is to maintain. To keep sane I count my calories only one week each month to keep me on track. So far I've been able to keep it off, but its a constant struggle ... and I think that's common for most people, especially with all the yummy food available to us all the time!

anne said...

Preach on! I love this post - it's honest, open, sincere, heartfelt and REAL! I struggle with so many of the same things...you are NOT ALONE!

Thank you for sharing!
Love you,

RuthAnn said...

Kate- thanks for that post... really good thoughts... and I agree- I want to use the "healthy/unhealthy" phrases with my kids... and then it is acknowledging that some "bigger" people may indeed be healthy while some "skinnier" looking people may be unhealthy (you know, smoking to stay thin, not exercising, or some other not-so-healthy choices!!).
Oh- to just love who God made us, each different, none better than the other, and then to forget about ourselves for awhile, and just focus on Him. So hard.