Weight Loss Support - Eating disorder through proxy




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IanG
02-15-2014, 04:23 PM
This is a nasty one and something I will need to keep an eye on.

A year or so into my diet, I am finding that I really enjoy buying and watching other people eat the treats I cannot eat. Specifically, chocolate for my twin two-year old boys.

I am catching myself at this - and my wife is too - but I know this is coming from a place where I know I cannot eat chocolate, so I buy it for the boys instead and watch them eat it.

Weird.

Will put a stop to it.


pixelllate
02-15-2014, 04:44 PM
I've had that issue too when I first lost a chunk of weight successfully/made real dietary changes - it wasn't to a point where I was encouraging anyone to eat, but I'd "notice" if people were already eating. If its of any consolation, its faded over time for me. In fact, I can go stricter or more lax on my habits, and nevertheless, the fascination just faded with time.

elvislover324
02-16-2014, 01:03 PM
Very interesting, Ian!

My husband has noticed that if we are out, I always try to pick what HE is going to get off the menu while I try to get myself something fairly healthy. I mean, I want him to be healthy and eat what he wants (good or bad, it should be his choice!). But everything I pick for him....yep a cheeseburger with French fries, the sausage pizza, etc. I never say "hey honey, why don't you get the grilled chicken salad?". Maybe it's because I can steal a bite/lick/taste of his meal and not feel guilty?


LRH
02-16-2014, 01:22 PM
But when I am in losing mode, I enjoy "virtual eating." That is, I can (and enjoy) watching the Food Network, etc. Somehow, I derive some satisfaction from it and it doesn't lead to losing control at all. Anyone else?

laciemn
02-16-2014, 01:58 PM
I find it absolute torture! My roommates are always baking chocolate chip cookies or ordering pizza. Sometimes I do enjoy it to an extent, like it smells really delicious ('specially cookies), but it definitely makes me feel shorted.

CIELOARGE
02-16-2014, 03:31 PM
I feel like my mother has this. She will always gives me the bigger serving, offer an extra one and tell me "it's ok to eat it, just try it!" while she eats grill chicken with a salad...

Me, on the other hand, I try not to buy or make something that I really want because I will end up eating it...

Serenity100
02-16-2014, 04:16 PM
Hmmm. This is very a very interesting concept, I will have to think about this.

In the meantime, I know you never want your precious sons to have a weight problem. So maybe you need to step back and think, "is this hurting my babies"?

Too much sugar is harmful, a little bit is a welcomed treat. You as the parent need to decide what is best for your children.

BigChiefHoho
02-16-2014, 05:04 PM
I have to try to control the same tendency. I have the added problem that I love baking, but I can't fit layer cakes and fancy pastries into my daily calories on a regular basis, so I always find myself pushing desserts on other people so that I have an excuse to bake them. My mom was here for a month-long visit recently and I wound up making brownies, several kinds of cookies, three different layer cakes, two fancy breads, sticky buns, and three or four different quick breads (in a single month! didn't realize how much it was until I just typed it...) while I had someone here to give me an excuse to make it. Definitely something I've got to quit doing, since most of the people I'm pushing goodies on also have weight problems.

Desiderata
02-16-2014, 05:27 PM
I've been going through a heightened phase of baking indulgences for others / enjoyment-by-proxy issues. I just sent my best friend a box of baked goods that had 1.5 cups' worth of nutella in them (she's in the throes of a nutella love affair currently)... but with instructions on how to freeze and consume slowly, as if that somehow mitigates it, haha. I'm very much a little old grandma many decades early, trying to push food to show love. I usually channel that into healthier foods, though. For me, it's more about foods I can't have for food sensitivity reasons than calorie concerns. (Just because I can't have the croissant from the fancy French bakery, doesn't mean that I don't want my husband to really enjoy it, et cetera.) The intensity of it waxes and wanes, I guess.

magical
02-16-2014, 05:42 PM
Sorry, I don't think it's showing love to push junk or high calorie food to loved ones.

It's a bad thing to do and those doing it should turn it round to encourage healthy eating habits for the whole family.

I did the whole pushing junk food thing when I was restricting badly (cutting out food groups such as carbs or restricting on a very low calorie diet). It's good that you're trying to put a stop to it, IanG.

Desiderata
02-16-2014, 06:01 PM
Eh, I'd argue it most definitely can be showing love - but that doesn't mean that it's not misguided love or that the behavior can't have harmful effects. Awareness and moderation are needed, as with most things.

It's sadly easy to project all kinds of food issues onto children, even when done out of love -- I think your awareness here is admirable too, Ian.

BigChiefHoho
02-16-2014, 06:36 PM
Sorry, I don't think it's showing love to push junk or high calorie food to loved ones.

It's a bad thing to do and those doing it should turn it round to encourage healthy eating habits for the whole family.

It's misguided love. I'd argue that it's just like a little kid who hugs a small animal so hard he squashes it. The intentions are good and it's done in a loving spirit, but that doesn't mean the outcome isn't awful. When I grew up, food-pushing was a huge part of any celebration or get-together, so for me it's heavily associated with happy times and family affection - all positive, loving things. Unsurprisingly, the outcome is that everyone in my family has more-or-less serious weight problems.

LovesToTravel
02-16-2014, 06:44 PM
Catching yourself in that behavior takes a lot of self-awareness and honesty, kudos to you and your wife for acknowledging your mutual concern and addressing it. Maybe you can find an activity to do with your boys when you feel like you want to show them affection and are tempted to give them a treat?

I have some family members who do similar things. A cousin of mine has severe intolerances to certain foods and she's openly admitted that she enjoys watching people eat those things and asking them how it tastes. She doesn't push the food, but when you eat it she takes a real interest in your experience and sighs over how much she misses it. That in itself doesn't seem to be really harmful, I can understand why people who can't or choose not to eat certain foods anymore like to live vicariously through those who can. :)

The food pushing I've experienced typically comes from relatives who have disordered eating habits and that I can understand why it worries you (not saying you have disordered eating, Ian, just that my experiences have always come from people who do). I just had dinner the other night with one of them and it's tough to sit through. Drives me nuts to watch her find any excuse not to sit down at mealtime, and then push the food around on her plate and take two bites before either saying she's full or it bothers her stomach, etc. "Here, have some more meatballs. Don't you want another cookie? You should really have some ice cream, c'mon, one scoop won't hurt." Ugh.

Wannabeskinny
02-17-2014, 09:30 AM
I have the complete opposite problem. I cook really really healthy foods for my family, I don't let my toddler eat any junk food, and I'm constantly pushing fruit and veggies. My family are accustomed to eating very healthy foods and normally I'm the odd one out who craves junk food or fast food. We live right next to a dunkin donuts and I've never seen my husband eat a donut lol, for me it's a constant reminder of what I can't/shouldn't have.

I find that I am very comfortable among healthy people, I'm just used to being surrounded by normal eaters, my family has always been healthy and I've always been the black sheep. In truth I'm extremely uncomfortable around people who overeat. To the point where I don't want to eat around them because I hate the thought that I'm like them. It also makes me angry to watch someone overeat, it brings up a welling anger in me! Of course it seems like I'm directing my anger at them but in truth I'm just angry at myself because there it is right in front of me, my bad behavior being illustrated by someone else and I hate seeing it.

krampus
02-18-2014, 01:17 PM
That's an interesting one. I couldn't care less what anyone else eats, but then again I have no dietary restrictions and I eat chocolate every day :P

Why can't you eat chocolate again? Will it KILL YOU?

In my experience people who are not hopeless compulsive eaters in need of twelve-step programs give food way too much power and assign emotional properties to it, which is unnecessary. Take it back.

LaurieDawn
02-18-2014, 03:12 PM
That's an interesting one. I couldn't care less what anyone else eats, but then again I have no dietary restrictions and I eat chocolate every day :P

Why can't you eat chocolate again? Will it KILL YOU?

In my experience people who are not hopeless compulsive eaters in need of twelve-step programs give food way too much power and assign emotional properties to it, which is unnecessary. Take it back.

I so want to be able to say this! And I go through periods where I can. But I also honestly have periods where eating one piece of chocolate will put me into complete binge mode. On Valentine's Day, in fact, I ate so much candy/cupcakes (work food! Dang them!) that I was literally in pain and the thought of chocolate disgusted me. And yet, I ate the box I had received as a gift until it was gone.

Eventually, I want to be where you are. But I am absolutely where Ian seems to be. Though I have never gone months without an indulgence, as Ian seems to have, I have many times where I pay a really high price (as in, weeks or months of struggling to get back on plan) for even a small indulgence. And, frankly, telling myself it's crazy and I just need to stop it -- or whatever "be tough, be smart" saying I think might help -- seems to have as much power as telling my clinically depressed mother to "cheer up."

Nevertheless, hearing you say this gives me a lot of hope that, someday, I will put the pieces together and be able to say it too. Or alternatively, be able to accept that, like my alcoholic uncle who can't even have a single can of beer, I must forever forgo the chocolate.

krampus
02-18-2014, 03:24 PM
I so want to be able to say this! And I go through periods where I can. But I also honestly have periods where eating one piece of chocolate will put me into complete binge mode. On Valentine's Day, in fact, I ate so much candy/cupcakes (work food! Dang them!) that I was literally in pain and the thought of chocolate disgusted me. And yet, I ate the box I had received as a gift until it was gone.

Eventually, I want to be where you are. But I am absolutely where Ian seems to be. Though I have never gone months without an indulgence, as Ian seems to have, I have many times where I pay a really high price (as in, weeks or months of struggling to get back on plan) for even a small indulgence. And, frankly, telling myself it's crazy and I just need to stop it -- or whatever "be tough, be smart" saying I think might help -- seems to have as much power as telling my clinically depressed mother to "cheer up."

Nevertheless, hearing you say this gives me a lot of hope that, someday, I will put the pieces together and be able to say it too. Or alternatively, be able to accept that, like my alcoholic uncle who can't even have a single can of beer, I must forever forgo the chocolate.

To be clear, I didn't mean "everyone should eat chocolate every day just because they can" or that there is anything wrong with choosing not to eat XYZ. A lot of people really, truly do struggle with addictive or compulsive behaviors that have specific triggers and are better off avoiding entire categories of foods.

I was more pointing that question toward IanG, since he has completely overhauled his diet and lifestyle and successfully lost and kept off many pounds. Do the same trigger foods still hold power over him? Why should chocolate elicit any feelings at all regardless of who's eating it?

Fiona W
02-18-2014, 04:58 PM
We live right next to a dunkin donuts and I've never seen my husband eat a donut lol, for me it's a constant reminder of what I can't/shouldn't have.

I just want to say that I really feel for you, Wannabeskinny, that you live next to a Dunkin Donuts. For me that would be downright maddening, especially if any of the smell escapes...

As for proxy eating, I'm one of those people who does not find it pleasurable. I don't mind watching other folks eat salty foods or other things that are not attractive to me, but when it comes to sweets, my nose is so sensitive I can smell them right through their packaging in the grocery store. Someone actually biting into a sweet food releases lots of odors, and I get so tempted to indulge, I have to leave the room. No way am I able to bake them any more!

I've read that it's common for people with anorexia nervosa to do lots of cooking and baking for other people, while they, of course, rarely take a single bite. 'Sounds like torture to me!

magical
02-18-2014, 05:23 PM
As for proxy eating, I'm one of those people who does not find it pleasurable.

----

I've read that it's common for people with anorexia nervosa to do lots of cooking and baking for other people, while they, of course, rarely take a single bite. 'Sounds like torture to me!

When your mind is disordered, it's not pleasure that you are feeling when you push food to others. It's more... complicated than that. Of course, this is just my opinion but well, eating disorders are not classified as mental health illnesses for nothing.

pixelllate
02-18-2014, 05:36 PM
heheheh I just needed to note over here, that I used to be in love with donuts as a kid because of all the pretty holiday colors and such, but I was never a fan of the actual texture/taste of Dunkin Donuts. Cinnabon however...thats a different story.

I think its good to be aware and make note of these things IanG, but I just find that I can relate to you a lot in the sense that you lost a whole chunk of weight rapidly and at 1 long period and these feelings that I also felt just faded over time - I don't want to guarantee anything, but I think that there is a very good chance that its just something that was sorta a "side effect" of making big dietary changes. Anyways, you've made awesome progress. When i finally reached goal, I had a "CELLLEBRATE GOOD TIMES COME ON!!!" duh duh duh duh duh duh duh song mode - felt really good to be able to try out the funsies food that I avoided for so long, knowing that even if they did present a temptation, once I realized that and stopped myself, there was little or no "weight damage" done!