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Bad eating habit/compulsiveness w/ food: learned or 'ingrained' ???

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Old 03-09-2004, 01:21 PM   #1
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Question Bad eating habit/compulsiveness w/ food: learned or 'ingrained' ???

I know this is an odd question and I want to say right off that MY bad eating habits were definitely LEARNED, most of them learned AFTER I left my parents' home ... although I learned a few bad habits there (like you bake sweets when the weather is bad -- lol), most of the time we kept things in check. I'll tell you in a second why this question popped into my head. I'm wondering what you think.

I have two kids, one adopted, one bio. They are young, they live together, they've been fed the same way since they were tiny. (My adopted child came home before starting on solids), yet their eating habits are entirely different. And, I've heard similar stories about bio siblings with totally different habit. My son LOVES all fruits and veggies (as long as you don't put 'sauce' on them). He also eats cheese, starches and some meat/fish. He's MORE likely to ask for 2nds on broccoli than rice or say "can I have an apple" rather than "can I have a cookie".

My daughter on the other hand ... from a very young age, rejected lots fruit and veggie babyfood, although I repeatedly tried. She started "demanding" table food at about 8 months (I attribute that to the fact that she saw another kid -- her brother -- eating table food.) From the time she started on table food, she preferred meat and starch ... even now, her entire repetoire of fruits and veggies consists of raw carrots, raw celery, cooked brocolli, cooked cauliflower, grapes, strawberries, apples, bananas and melon. She ALWAYS wants 'more' starch or meat and if left to her own devices would eat 2 cups of plain rice for dinner and nothing else. She almost ever asks for a healthy snack -- but will ask for sweets. (And I don't give her sweet snacks all the time ... I offer alternatives, which she sometimes accepts.)

But what really made me think was something I saw yesterday. I was at my daughter's pre-school for her b-day celebration. It's a one-room school w/ mixed ages ... right now all the kids range in age from almost 3 1/2 to young 6's. We brought small cookies (animal cracker size) and each child was instructed to 'take 4' ... then they are supposed to sit with them on their plate and wait until all the kids are served and the birthday-child takes the first bite. This is the 5th b-day celebration I've been to there and most kids don't have problems following these rules ... they happen EVERY TIME there's a b-day celebration and at lunch they don't eat until all are seated. BUT... One plump little boy who has thin parents (but I never knew them prior to school , so I don't know their backgrounds) 'accidentally' took 5 cookies by putting 2 right on top of each other so if you weren't right next to him, it looked like 1. Another overweight child, ate one of his cookies while he was waiting ... (and somebody squealed on him and he was gently reminded that he shouldn't have done that). I mean, kids will be kids, and I wasn't bothered by this ... but it got me wondering if these kids didn't become overweight because of something inherent in their personalities ... do you know what I mean?

What do you think?
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:09 PM   #2
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I absolutely agree. I have been compulsive with my food for as long as I can remember. It is like an addiction for me - no less than an alcoholic with alcohol. I have an aunt and an uncle who are recovering alcoholics and an aunt who is drug-addicted. My mother and grandmother are (were, in the case of my grandma) overweight and have an odd relationship with food. I completely agree that sometimes it's genetic.

Of course, like an alcoholic, I can't use that as an excuse. I need to turn it over to a higher power for help.
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Old 03-09-2004, 03:33 PM   #3
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My compulsive behavior started when i was a child. Donít know if it has been all my life but do know that for me it was the only way i had any control in my life growing up. I am a big emotional eater.
You made me think a lot about way I eat growing up. Donít know which is true. Whether it was learn or not.

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Old 03-10-2004, 01:15 AM   #4
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I think it can be a little bit of both. I've always been a salt craver, never big on sweets unless it was chocolate. Always ate all my lunch while the other kids didn't & would run off to play halfway thru & ask me to keep an eye on their things.

I'm not sure if this has something to do w/growing up poor? Food costs money, therefore we can't afford to waste it. It was easier to shut up & eat rather than give any lip to a single mother who was doing her best.
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Old 03-10-2004, 05:59 AM   #5
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I agree with SAPF ~ I think maybe it is a little of both too. Alcoholism is in my background. My brother got that, I do the same thing only with food. The learned part, there were good times growing up where I would feel happy and all and a lot of those memories were tied up with food. I'm not sure where the emotional/stress eating part came from. And someone (I think Boiaby) mentioned on another thread about how when they were big, they kind of blended in and were invisible. There is comfort for me in being "invisible". I think too for me, there are these subconscious reasons that keep me from succeeding. I have been rejected when I was much smaller, and I think that in some twisted way my mind is kind of trying to protect me from rejection again. I get to a certain point on my weight loss journey, then mess up and never make it to goal. I have to somehow, for my health get past that.

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Old 03-10-2004, 09:00 AM   #6
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I agree with the two pp, I don't think it can be just one factor....I think it has to do woth both factors that you bring up. I thing the key to this "disease" if you want to call it, is how we channel that energy. Because, obviously I am a "recovering" food aholic, and a shopaholic also in recovery....but I cab use that compulsiveness in something positive like raising my kids, or at my new retail job. KWIM? But, I also think I am having such a difficult time with the recovery process, because so much of it is also out of habit, UGH, I hope it will end sooner than later. Oh, by the way, I have my first therapy appointment Monday...and we will tackle this very subject!
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:20 AM   #7
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I definitely think the genetic seed is placed and then your enviroment enforces the situation. My mother god bless her is a compulsive overeater and because her skills are limited in dealing with life so are mine. We cope with our emotions and problems with food, without it we are lost. I thank God for program everyday, and even more when I have to hear my mother's latest binge. We also have quite a few alcoholics and drug users in my dad's side of the family.

The side note on this is that I too have eaten with a spoon since I was 8 months old, my mother said i use to amaze people with my dexterity with chicken noodle soup. And the eating things I learned from my mom:

bread+butter+ sugar=good
raw meat= good
eating ice cream out of the tub= happiness


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Old 03-10-2004, 11:22 AM   #8
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PS. My mother never taught me how to starve myself or excercise compulisively but she did teach me that eating too much can lead to guilt. She also taught me that there is always another diet.
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Old 03-10-2004, 06:33 PM   #9
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I *always* *always* remember being told to "clean your plate" and couldn't leave the table until I did. I'm STILLLLL working on POUNDING out of my head that "hey, if i don't finish his spaghetti, some little kid in China is going to starve." I mean.... honestly.

That's what you get from being raised by your grandparents!!!!!! Now my dad just tells me "eat what you can, don't force yourself" and "if you don't like it don't eat it" which is cool. Apparently he hated being forced to eat as a child too!!
 
Old 03-11-2004, 07:50 AM   #10
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Learned 1000% ... and then after I learned it - it stuck. Want proof? What is it that USA (and Canada for that matter too!) is one of the fattest countries in the world? We don't eat healthy! We have bad choices of food availible to us. We don't take the time to make a good meal - we want "fast" food. We want good value - thus super sized was born.
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