I have a checkered history with food. It didn’t really start until I got into college. It was a way for me to have control when I felt I had little. I went on a pretty restrictive diet, dropped 40lbs and was rewarded with positive attention, a boyfriend, and cute clothes. Of course I gained it back, but the damaging behaviors that led to all the great attention had taken hold.
I’ve struggled with food periodically ever since, well, maybe except recently.
Parenting Hope leaves limited time for my own problems.
Or rather, Hope’s problems are my problems.
Well, Hope continues to struggle with food.
So, now we’re struggling with food.
I remember years ago, when she came to visit me for the first time, she asked me to buy some gummy vitamins.
She ate them in one day. All of them.
We’ve since moved on to fruit snacks, PB crackers, granola bars, cereal bars…just about anything that you can get individually wrapped at Costco. Oh, and anything that you can put in a snack size bag.
What’s both intriguing and frustrating is how she’ll leave an empty box, but hide the wrappers in her room.
It’s irrational, like I don’t see the empty boxes, can’t see how 80 snacks are gone in a few days, or how I don’t know to just look in her desk drawers for 80 fruit snack wrappers.
I tried limiting access, but I knew that wasn’t right. I mean, this stuff is primal. It’s compulsive. It’s not just emotional eating; it’s emotional ish that’s left skid marks everywhere in her life.
So, I buy more snacks. I throw away the empty boxes. I wait until she goes to goes to school and then I go and clean the wrappers out of her desk.
I’ve tried to confront her. It’s difficult because Hope avoids conflict with me like the plague. I try to be gentle.
Can we start with just properly throwing away the wrappers?
Would you like for me to prep snacks for you so that you can pace yourself and not binge?
What are you feeling when you eat a lot of snacks?
How do you feel when you finish?
What else could we do to satiate your need to eat all the snacks?
Silence. There’s only ever silence.
The whole exchange, if you can call it that, is less than 5 minutes.
I’m not really sure how bring some resolution to this issue. I know it’s a deep seated one. I see the pattern associated with it. I understand the stressors. And yet, figuring out the puzzle piece that will redirect the behavior remains a mystery.
So, I let it go…and go back to Costco.