Weighing In

I remember when I was in junior high school, a time when I thought I was fat, fat compared to the most of the other girls. I’m not sure why I felt like I did or even where those demeaning thoughts came from, but all I remember is comparing my body to everyone else’s. Were they doing the same thing, thinking they’re fat? I’ve wondered. If so, it sure didn’t seem as if anyone else was feeling insecure, with all the prancing around going on. But, anyway, all I know is that as a grown up, looking at pictures of me as a kid, I had it wrong. I looked normal. Even skinny, during those middle school years.

Okay. So. That changed once I got to high school. My weight did climb, constricting my favorite outfits. I had moved into a different weight level and I blame it on my bad eating habits. Thus, more curves were added to my already curved hips, thighs, and rear-end .

I grew up as part of a large family. My sister was number one, followed by eight brothers, then me, and finally, the youngest child of the family was born. Another boy.

palmer family 1962

I am the newborn in my mom’s arms.

Whenever my dad would return from the grocery store, I would want to eat whatever he brought home, specifically fast-serving foods. Things like sweet cereal, cookies, and/or ice cream, candy, boxed Kraft™ Macaroni and Cheese, Chef Boyardee™ canned spaghetti, Campbell’s™ Tomato Soup, toasted bread loaded with butter and sugar, Graveyard Stew (toasted bread loaded with cinnamon and sugar drowned in warm milk), etc. etc. etc. For me, maybe other siblings too, I felt I had to eat the food right then or else I probably would not even get a morsel later. Later, when I would most likely appreciate its flavor.

Not surprisingly, this habit of eating even when eating isn’t necessary has had an impact on me throughout my life, even today. I will, on occasion, eat. Just eat. No, I’m not hungry or even craving it. I just eat the food before someone else does.

And then this bad habit trickled down to the way I managed food with my kids. When Liz and Roberto were young, Brad too – years later – I would shop for all kinds of junk food to pack into their lunchboxes. I stocked up on Ding Dongs™, chips, cookies, Twinkies™, juice boxes, fruit roll-ups, full-of-sugar fruit cups, candy, macaroni and cheese, Chef Boyardee™ canned ravioli, and so much more, just so there would be plenty for anyone, anytime. And those kids of mine, they weren’t complaining. Not one little bit. Like me, my kids were developing bad food habits.

One day, I pulled open a drawer in the kitchen. Strategically chosen at a low level for easy access. I looked inside at the pile of non-nutritious food and suddenly wondered to myself What are you thinking? Surely not your kids health. Right then I realized it was time to stop living in my past. Food-wise, that is. Literally, I trashed every last bite of junk food. Sorry kids.

Needless to say, healthy food habits now override the junk-filled wish list.  Yet, admittedlyI do buy the fun food, not to fill a psychological need but rather because I  simply desire something sweet or fattening, or both. Mostly, though, I am now more inclined to think of and eat tasty, good foods. The kids, too, have been consciously transforming their food habits and continue to benefit from their more (mostly) nutritious choices.


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