Its because I have to. Leading up to now there have been many false starts. My mom struggled with weight and body issues from the time I was born (before?) through right this second. She didn't know to or know how to teach me about a healthy diet and exercise. Portion sizes didn't exist in my house. The ice cream bowl was as big as you made it. It was OK to have 2 bagels with cream cheese for breakfast and pasta plates were piled high and waiting in the fridge. She was a good cook, but she was overwhelmed with a busy life, a big house, a part time job and three kids all going in different directions. She made what was fast and easy and reached for food for comfort.
I remember being in high school. I didn't want to eat breakfast (too early) and had an early lunchtime at school. By the time I got home I was hungry and sat with my mom (who had also just come home from work) to watch soap operas and eat canned ravioli. I'm not trying to paint a sad picture here. It was a time I used to remember fondly. I loved that canned ravioli and it was hot and delicious and we sat and enjoyed the show and talked about our day during the commercials. After eating I remember having an ice cream sandwich and then I remember having 2 and sometimes 3. When I stood up she asked me to bring her another one. The thought never crossed my mind that she might have been emotionally eating. Maybe bored or lonely or just stuck in a rut she didn't even know she was in. I could have suggested a walk after work instead. I wonder know if she would have wanted to come. Would that have changed everything? Something as simple as a walk. Some fresh air and exercise. Instead we sat. We ate and snacked and within a few hours of that were sitting down to dinner. Maybe an ice pop after that. A bowl of popcorn before bed.
I was athletic for most of high school and the extra food wasn't showing up until college, were we sat back down in our familiar spots in the living room to catch up and watch our show. She pointed out that she thought my arms were getting big. Maybe she was projecting her worries onto me. She didn't offer a solution or hope, just pointed it out and from that moment on, in my mind, I was the girl with the big arms. Up until that moment she only said one other thing to me regarding weight and that was how to keep skinny she would only eat one yogurt for lunch every day (long before marriage and kids). I have no memory of her telling me what she ate for breakfast and dinner. I have no recollection of any kind of exercise routines, only that her mother used to work out to Jack LaLane.
I'm not blaming my mom for my own struggles. I can pinpoint specific times where I was in full control of my food decisions and choose poorly. I also know that IVF and assorted stress and drugs that go along with that contributed greatly.
I am acknowledging however that parents lead by example and she was not a model of health and strength. And by that extension neither was my Dad. He was happy if she was happy and she was happy if she was eating. Eating distracted her from her worries. She carried her worries deep and right on the surface. It was her job to feed her family. Too cook and keep the fridge stocked.
I remember eating.