Friday, August 13, 2010

Deep thoughts

My sister Lisa has been having horrible headaches and a bad fever, and the doctors are doing tests, trying to figure out what’s going on, so my Mom has been watching her 3 kids for the last several days. Hopefully they’ll get it figured out and get her back to normal soon. Please keep her in your thoughts.

Anyways, last night, I went over to my Moms for a couple of hours while Jeff studied for a test, and helped out with the kiddos. I was sitting there feeding Sienna her food, and after eating most of it, she wouldn’t open her mouth for more. So I stopped and cleaned her up, and that was it.

When I got home though, I started thinking about how little kids have the ability to tell when they’re hungry, and when they’ve had enough without getting a stomach ache. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a little kid get full, and then keep on eating to the point where their stomach hurts too much.

So, at what point did I learn that? At what point in my life did I start eating too much, even when it gave me a stomach ache? At what point did I start using food as a bandage for inside hurts?

I laid there in bed, and thought about it a long time, trying to track back to what point in my life I took this detour. I remember when I got my drivers’ license that the first place I went to was Hanks store deli, so I could buy a bunch of their deep fried deli food.

I remember when I was homeschooled for 9th grade, being home with my baby sister all day long and foraging through the kitchen for food. Eating canned frosting with a spoon or on a graham cracker, though I never had the patience to wait so the cracker would soften a little the way I like it. I ate them the way I don’t like because I didn’t want to wait 5 or 10 minutes.

I remember when I was 12, coming home from school with my siblings and trying to find something that I liked to eat, but finding nothing, so then I’d eat a bunch of something that I didn’t like as much.

I remember baby-sitting my cousins when I was 10 or so for several hours a day, and going to their store room, where they had goodies galore. I’d stand right there and open the baggies of jelly candies and eat them, and then throw the wrapper behind the shelf. (I seriously hope they never clean out back there!)

Funny thing is I can’t remember any further back where I ate like that. Age 9 or 10 is about as early as it goes. I don’t know what my trigger was, likely emotional stress, but the goodies and crap were freely provided, because that summer, the one where I remember this so well, I spent 6 days a week watching their kids for half the day.

So my thought/question, whatever, is at what point a person develops the habits of emotional eating. At what point do we go from being a little kid who stops eating when we’re full and a kid who’s told to finish their plate, to a young person who will eat anything and everything in sight, who will search the cabinets high and low, just for something to put in their mouth?


  1. I have no idea, but this is a good point to bring up. When my grandson gets full he quits eating to. I am like you and wonder when it changes...

  2. For me it was when I feel down or had a boo boo, my mom always gave me a cookie. Then the other things I did was eat cinnamon toast with milk - lots of it. And we ate a lot of sugary ceral for snacks. Yikes! Food was a huge part of my younger years. Kind of forgot about that. Hugs!

  3. This IS a deep post Laura. And I have spent some time myself these past weeks trying to figure out the same thing. When did food become so important to me? I know that I always loved food, even when I was little. But I didnt have weight problem then. It wasnt until later in life that things got tough and I fed myself to feel better. I realize now that its okay to love food, but not okay to treat it like medicine. Deep...thanks for sharing.


  4. I wish I knew the answer to that too! One thing for both my husband and I growing up, was that each of our families never had sugared cereal, pop, any junk at all - so once we found it, we didn't stop!

    I was extremely active, so it really didn't matter what I ate, until after college I stopped being an athlete and got a desk job. Um, turns out that you can't eat whatever you want if you don't move - within 3 years I had gained 90 pounds!

    Fingers crossed your sister is feeling better!

  5. I haven't been able to pinpoint when I started eating to stuff my emotions down. I had a rather rocky childhood so it could have been lots of things and I'm not sure I'll ever figure it out. It's taken me a long time to learn that the food isn't going to make the feelings go away, it's just going to make me fat and miserable. Food never fixes anything but real hunger and I hadn't known real hunger in decades.

    I hope your sister feels better soon. My bf got really sick with horrible headaches a few years ago and the doctors kept sending him home telling him it was a sinus infection when he actually had a rare form of fungal menengitis. The only way to test for that is with a spinal tap which is painful but if they don't figure out what's causing the headaches soon it may be something they should look into.