We learn a lot, as children, about food. We learn it from our family, our culture, our experiences, even our religion. We learn the good as well as the bad.
Today is Part 1 of a two part series from two sisters about their own learned behaviors associated with food. These are testimonies of the goodness of our bodies, food, and nutrition and some of the not so good experiences they have shared in the pursuit of that realization.
What was your currency growing up?
I am 40 and I perceived mine for a long time as my outward shell appearance. I am still fighting the demons of vanity. I am not healed of any selfishness that causes me to sometimes shy away from a mirror or maybe, other times, stare a bit too long. But I am on a journey in that direction.
I loved musical theater as a teen. I loved it and I wanted to be on the stage and sing at the top of my lungs… because it felt exhilarating. I can still sing in the shower or with my sister and brothers or to my children and take myself back to the glory that is belting out a great song.
At the age of 16, I remember being very aware that my size and shape mattered a lot when getting a “part” in plays.
I knew that a tiny ingenue was desirable and one must stay aware of one’s size. I was never able to reach any goal of being the slim beauty in my mind. It never mattered if others would compliment me on my appearance. That actually only fueled my desire to go for more. Luckily, I never fell deep into any sort of disorder…but I knew friends that did and I did my share of dabbling in any and all fad diets.
Who doesn’t want to lose 10lbs in 10 days, am I right?!!
College years gave way to the coffee shop snacks, trying out whatever was in those punches at parties, fast food and general indulgence. I balanced any weight gains with diets again. If jeans fit too tight one week, I could turn to a fix it starvation plan and be back in best jean status fairly quickly. It was a cool trick.
Nursing school was my first wake up call to understanding the function of food and movement and balance for a healthy metabolism. Science told me that I could not starve my body into submission forever and that the longterm effect would be ruining the memory of my metabolism and thus my ability to have a healthy body. It was over those years that I decided diets were not healthy for me.
I would have to learn a different way.
I began to practice the “all things in moderation” approach to eating and exercise. I looked at what my plate looked like… was there enough protein to fuel me, carbs to energize me, fiber to regulate me? Did I have more nourishing food than “fun” food? Was I moving my body to spend the energy I was taking in? This is how I began to drop the yo-yo dieting mentality and start to embrace a lifestyle approach to keeping my body healthy and happy.
Fast forward to 40, four pregnancies (so many size changes involved there), busy life of young family, life stresses, etc. I maintain what I learned now more for the little people I am in charge of raising.
I know they need to know that our bodies are a gift.
We get one and God chose it for us with great care. We are supposed to enjoy them, but we are also supposed to protect and care for them. We will not all be the same size even if we all eat and move the same… that would be boring anyway. Size cannot ever really matter. Strength, health, nourishment, and respect for our physical gift matters.