As with any journey, moving from diet mentality into freedom is probably not going to go smoothly all of the time. For me, the thoughts of diet, weight, and food have been such an integral part of my life, for so long, breaking up is hard to do. Sometimes the habit takes over, especially when I’m tired or stressed.
The other night I didn’t realize that something was bothering me… it was lurking just under the surface enough that it wasn’t blatantly obvious. Well, my old reactions to this kind of stress (meeting the expectations of others) kicked in and I wanted a huge slab of chocolate cake. As you know, I’ve chosen to just go with it for now, so having the cake isn’t where I messed up. No, the error came when I snapped at my darling 10 year old for asking if she could have some too. I pointed out that she had already had ice cream and that this was my dessert. Now, before you think, “well, of course, she had already had dessert”, let me clarify that the Husband had told her she could have some of my cake if she wanted. So, she wasn’t being selfish or anything like that. This child will readily share anything she has with others and even offered me some of the ice cream earlier. I was waiting for cake.
Instantly I felt horrible. She had little tears in her eyes. I had dumped guilt on her. I do not want my girls to have those kinds of feelings around food. Here I was acting like a starving, caged lunatic who will fight to the death to keep her food.
“Fine, you can have a bite.”
Yeah, that wasn’t any better. She was like, “No, I’m ok”… with tears. I could tell the Husband was less than thrilled by my behavior. As was I, but I felt like I was careening toward disaster and couldn’t do anything about it. He started apologizing to her that he hadn’t gotten a second slice at the store. I know he was thinking, “so mom wouldn’t have to share if she didn’t want to.” He figured the slice was so huge, and I had been doing so well with sharing, there wouldn’t be an issue. Boy was he wrong.
And so was I.
I felt even worse. Suddenly the cake tasted like crap. I set the rest of it on the coffee table and contemplated storming out of the room saying something like, “Here, you can have it”. Boy am I glad I didn’t say that. I was fighting back tears myself. I felt so conflicted. I was mad because I felt guilted into sharing… but I was also angry that I reacted so badly to a situation that really, in the great scheme of things, should have been a non-event. “May I have some cake?” should have been followed by, “sure, sweetie, let me get you a plate.” Ugh! Sounds so simple and yet I utterly screwed it up.
I took a deep breath. Looked at the cake. Took it to the kitchen and cut her a piece. I handed her the plate and said, “I’m so sorry.” I may cry right now remembering how badly I behaved. I may cry thinking about how that one interaction might mess with her view of food for years to come. My words made her feel guilty about asking for cake… cake! No one should feel guilty over cake.
After everything settled down, I realized why I was stressed and made a decision that I’d been unwilling to make until that moment. I decided I was feeling pressure from others (and their expectations of me) to do something I didn’t want to do (totally unrelated to cake, lol). The only reason I would say yes would be to please others and perhaps feed my pride. I was trying to stuff down the stress with the cake and my darling little girl stepped right into the line of fire.
Now, I could continue to beat myself up over this bump in the road, but that would just set the cycle into motion again. I must forgive myself like my precious daughter has already forgiven me. I must recognize that this process is going to take time. No doubt there will be other bumps along the way, but Lord willing, they will become less and my reactions will improve over time.