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Old 12-19-2008, 12:13 PM   #1
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Question Your childhood eating habits?

A thread called "Things I will never eat again" got me thinking about my childhood eating habits, which were really quite unhealthy. My parents tried to get me to eat my vegetables, but I just didn't like 'em. My mom knew I hated vegetables, so she told me that unless I ate them, I couldn't eat dessert. Therefore, I hid my veggies in my napkin. When I got caught, I decided I had to hide them in my pockets. When that didn't work, I hid them in my underwear! I would do anything to eat dessert

When I got home from school, I always looked forward to my afternoon snack, which was either chips, cakes, or crackers. My parents never put a cap on my afternoon snacking because I was a growing kid. Then, I started growing out as well as up, but blamed it on puberty (Puberty DID have something to do with it, though - I was a SKINNY kid before I was a chubby pre-teen. I was very active and athletic as both a kid and teen, too, but the miraculous metabolism stopped around age 11 or 12.)

If I didn't get to eat something I enjoyed, I refused to eat. Therefore, my mom would end up making (or buying) chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and pizza. She first said, "If you're hungry enough, you'll eat it" but then my persistance wore her down and she caved in every time.

My parents only wanted to make me happy, but I think their allowing me to eat as much crap as I wanted whenever I wanted it set the foundation for some unhealthy habits that contributed to my being overweight as an adult.

What about you? How were your childhood eating habits? Do you think they have set a pattern for you as an adult, too? How so?
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:48 PM   #2
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What about you? How were your childhood eating habits? Do you think they have set a pattern for you as an adult, too? How so?
When I got off the bus at my grand parents' every afternoon I had a FULL MEAL starting around the 2nd grade or so. Then I would go home and have another FULL MEAL. By the time I was in the 6th grade I was obese and the pattern was set. To this day I have a huge problem with controlling my appetite in the afternoons. When I get home from work the only thing I want to do is EAT.

I do blame my childhood eating habits for my constant battle with weight now. And, I guess, to a lesser extent, I blame my parents and granny for letting my eating get so out of hand. For a long time I felt guilty for blaming them--because I'm all about personal responsibility--but, really, how much control does a 7-8-9-year-old have when the food is being presented. They'll pretty much eat whatever is put in front of them (not including picky eaters in that statement). In the past few years, though, I've had to recognize how my childhood really effected, and continues to effect my weight.

ETA: One good thing that came of my struggle losing weight & realizing that my childhood eating habits were a good portion of WHY I have such problems is that I can help prevent my own children from facing the same problems.
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:14 PM   #3
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I was a seriously picky eater as a child, and stayed one as an adult. I didn't eat many veggies, and my mom didn't make me eat them. I was typically a meat and potatoes kind of girl - when the Chicken McNugget came out my family was relieved, because this meant that they didn't have to stand at the end of the counter waiting for my special order that was wrong half the time and had to be taken back... I used to eat a lot of ramen noodles, those round, frozen chicken patties you got in a big tube from Sam's and cooked in the microwave, macaroni and cheese, that kind of thing... My dad worked 2.5 hours away from home and mom worked third shift for a while, so those were things I could cook for myself and my brother pretty easily. I could also fry up a pretty good cube steak when I was young.

I did eat beans, peas, corn, and oddly enough, turnip greens and collard greens. No other veggies. (Didn't cook them much at home, but had them sometimes at my grandmother's house.) Today, I haven't found a veggie I've tried that I don't like. Haven't tried them all yet - still have brussel sprouts an my list, a few others... Actually, now that I think about it, I don't like grape or cherry tomatoes. So, other than those I'm on a good veggie streak right now.

My brother still eats the way he did when we were young for the most part, but he is crazy skinny. I think the metabolism is starting to slow down for him now though, since he is now 33. I'm watching and waiting. Where he was always skinny, I was always pudgy. I think it is only fair that he get a little pudgy now! (kidding... maybe...)

And, they absolutely set a pattern for my adult eating habits. When I went to college I got a microwave and a small fridge. Fridge was always stocked with hot pockets... First apartment, real fridge, more room for different varieties of hot pockets...
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:34 PM   #4
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My dad was a chef, my mom a health food person. There were no convenience foods in our house, candy or fast food were rare and mostly forbidden treats.

When I got married all **** broke loose when my husband taught me the joys of Krispy Kreme and Frito-Lay! Before that I was broke, living in an apartment and scrounging food from whatever restaurant I worked at.

I'm careful with my son - he eats healthily but I don't forbid anything really. I don't want food to have any magical powers over him the way it did for me. He knows what's healthy, what isn't - he has a choice and he's only 4. Today he made me so proud at the bread store - the cashier pulled out a basket with Twinkies and candy for him to pick from - he said 'No, thank you, I already had a snack'.

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Old 12-19-2008, 04:34 PM   #5
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My parents always encouraged healthy eating, eating a good meal together at meal time, not eating before bed, eating your vegetables, deserts only as a treat, no soda, etc. I'm thankful for all this, as healthy eating was never a foreign concept, but the strict diet made me REBEL. I wasn't allowed candy, potato chips, or soda, so I would binge on them at friends' houses, and when I was old enough, I started buying and hiding junk food and eating it in secret.

It just goes to show that in today's society, children can develop terrible eating habits all on their own (well, with some help from society itself). I don't blame my parents at all for my unhealthy relationship with food.
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:59 PM   #6
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When I got off the bus at my grand parents' every afternoon I had a FULL MEAL starting around the 2nd grade or so. Then I would go home and have another FULL MEAL. By the time I was in the 6th grade I was obese and the pattern was set. To this day I have a huge problem with controlling my appetite in the afternoons. When I get home from work the only thing I want to do is EAT.

I do blame my childhood eating habits for my constant battle with weight now. And, I guess, to a lesser extent, I blame my parents and granny for letting my eating get so out of hand. For a long time I felt guilty for blaming them--because I'm all about personal responsibility--but, really, how much control does a 7-8-9-year-old have when the food is being presented. They'll pretty much eat whatever is put in front of them (not including picky eaters in that statement). In the past few years, though, I've had to recognize how my childhood really effected, and continues to effect my weight.

ETA: One good thing that came of my struggle losing weight & realizing that my childhood eating habits were a good portion of WHY I have such problems is that I can help prevent my own children from facing the same problems.
I was an original latchkey kid. My parents weren't around alot and my brothers practically raised me. When I was little, little, they would get me to leave them alone and quit crying by feeding me. When I started to school I would come home and eat enough for two adults. My favorite was huge slabs of cheese. Then when my parents came home we'd have dinner. I still have a hard time coming home from work and not pigging out. Sometimes I just plan it into my eating plan, sometimes we just have dinner as soon as I walk in the door, no matter what time it is. I am still struggling with emotional eating issues (substituting food for love). I really hate how I eat and how I'm wired. But I blame it on my childhood.
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Old 12-19-2008, 04:59 PM   #7
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Most of the time, my parents would bring home fast food every night because they were too tired to cook. When home cooked meals were made, it was something loaded with butter. I was never forced to eat any vegetables and from observation of my family, sitting around and eating junk in front of the TV was a-ok. No wonder why I was a chubby kid.

By the time that my father moved out, I became more independent on learning to "make" food on my own.. That would be cooking grilled cheese sandwiches loaded with butter and that plasticy kraft american cheese, or heating up a big plate of taquitos (they were basically long skinny taco shells with cheese and chicken inside that would come frozen in a big box from costco). There was one point when my mother's job had become so stressful/bad that she didn't make it to a grocery store for an extremely lengthy period of time; so I wouldn't eat all day and then feast on a fast food meal that she brought home very late into the night. I put on a lot of weight during that time.

I could actually still be considered a 'kid' by many at this point... So I'm glad that I broke through that, changed my eating habits to the polar opposite of what they were before, and have become a MUCH healthier, thinner person when I did.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:08 PM   #8
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I've posted this before - but I grew up overseas and sometimes food options were limited. But even when we lived in the states, my brother and I were not ALLOWED to be picky eaters.

The rule in our house was that you had to eat three full bites of anything before you could say you didn't like it. And even then, we were each allowed 3 items that we really disliked and wouldn't eat. Anything else, we were expected to simply deal with. And making gagging noises or faces or whining about it would get us grounded.

Also the schools I went to growing up didn't have junk food available. No sodas, no cafeterias with options, nothing like that. Milk, water, and juice were available. There were no parties where parents brought in snacks or treats. Once a year - at the Christmas holidays - we had a party with candy and cakes and pies and so forth, but that was it.

It wasn't until we got back to the States and my mom went back to work full time as a dentist, that I started getting fat. I could snack when I got home w/out her knowing. I could buy junk food for myself. And I'd still eat a full meal that she cooked in the evenings.

I used to hate my mom's rules as a kid, but as an adult, I'm very glad she stuck to her guns. I am not a picky eater at all and I will try just about anything once. And it's because of her that I am this way.

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Old 12-19-2008, 05:13 PM   #9
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The food itself wasn't bad. Maybe a little light on the veggies, but nothing really bad. We didn't have junky snack foods laying around and rarely went out to eat. What killed me, though, was the sodas. I remember going to my grandparents house and drinking a (16 oz? don't remember) bottle of Coke and my grandmother saying that it was way too much. For me, I just thought it was a serving size. I would drink them at home, too. My step-sister and I drank so many that our parents finally put limits on them, we each got one six-pack of soda (labeled with our initial) per week. Once I started driving, I would always buy another one (usually with chips) both before and after school. I just kept drinking more and more as I grew older, I was easily consuming well over 1000 calories a day in soda alone. And lots of juice, too.

Now I occasionally have a drink with calories, but it's something I consciously decide to do and I account for it in my daily points. Now I'm used to drinking water or sometimes unsweetened iced tea with my meals, I've finally broken my habit.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:29 PM   #10
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I was a picky eater until I was in college. I was also a fat kid.

My mom did all the child-rearing and the housework (and worked full time) and is not a natural cook so she never really argued with us when it came to what we would and wouldn't eat. I ate poptarts or donuts for breakfast, pbj & crackers for lunch and dinner was things like Spaghetti-Os, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, mac n cheese. I was a microwave kid, too, if it was at all possible to make something in the microwave, my mom would.

My brother and I used to always sneak food too: crackers, my dad's chips, extra doughnuts, cheese, cookies, ice cream, ANYTHING... I snuck food pretty much until I was out of college... even on home visits, I would tiptoe down to the kitchen after everyone went to bed and find stuff to eat.

I got to be such an expert at sneaking. I would figure out how to take a little bit here, a little bit there and adjust all the other food in the package to look like nothing was missing. I even did that with my roommates' food in college! I remember one time I ate my roommate's box of cereal so I bought a new box and ate the right amount that was missing and put it back just so and she never noticed. Like it's a game!

At college also I became very interested in organic, vegetarian, whole food eating. I think this was my rebellion from my microwave upbringing. But the sneaking (or binging) never stopped and while I was expanding my interests to tofu, beans, salads, vegetables, whole grains, etc., I was still binging on crackers and chips and cookies!

These days I'm back to being a microwaver... actually more of a pot-boiler..if you can boil it in water, I'll eat it. I still love all that junk food from my childhood but I try to focus more on healthy foods that taste just as delicious as the junk. But when I'm stressed and need comfort, it's chips, crackers, cookies and doughnuts again. That's been incredibly hard to break.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:37 PM   #11
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My Mom was the person who always had dinner on the table at 6pm, so I grew up with a home cooked meal every evening. She forced me to eat vegetables but let me eat them raw instead of cooked. The few that she cooked and forced me to eat were put in a napkin and I excused myself to the bathroom mid dinner and flushed them away! I was the pickiest eater ever and I couldn't stand how my lunches tasted after sitting in my bag all day so I would often skip lunch. Then I would sneak extras of snack behind my Mom's back. Some days I would eat an entire loaf of raisin bread toasted. It was ridiculous.

When I started a intense competitive swimming program at age 12, my Mom realized I was always hungry so she started to make me a dinner before swimming and one afterward. This went over well with me and I was burning enough calories that it didn't affect my weight - until college when I was still eating huge meals but wasn't swimming anymore. I put on 30 pounds in one summer, then added more over time.

So I most definitely developed a lot of bad habits that came with me to adulthood that I had to break. But it took me realizing that I was in charge of my body to really break those habits and make a change.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:30 PM   #12
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*BUMP* Sorry, I found this thread interesting...

Like one of the other chickies, I spent a lot of time overseas (Japan...oh the noodles)... My mom was a housewife and a darn good cook.... but she comes from southern maryland...where "everything tastes better with bacon fat or butter." I remember waking up in the morning before anyone else was awake and polishing off a half box of lucky charms in one sitting... thinking back now I just cant believe it. I remember sneaking 3 or 4 Starcrunch cookies... I remember sneaking lunch meat for gosh sakes.... . I was 163 pounds by the time I was in 6th grade... Then when I moved back to the states...I wanted to be different... so i unfortunately found myself in the arms of builimia.... I loved how I could still gorge myself and get rid of it. luckily after 6 years I got out of it...with major struggle. I gained a lot of weight back and more. But as I get older, I learn healthy ways to deal with my problem. I am 23 (for those of you that are curious)...I dont blame my parents because my sister never had these issues and we were raised the same way... I blame myself.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:43 PM   #13
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My mom was really good at fighting us on the cookies, crackers, etc junk! If my brother and I wanted bad cereal (cookie crisp, fruit loops, etc) then she would make us have a healthy cereal first (grape nuts, oatmeal, etc) She always said if your still hungry then you can have it. Same thing with after school snacks. If we wanted cookies or other bad items we would have to eat good first, like a piece of fruit. If we were still hungry we were limited to a small portions of the bad. I think that taught me balance for health now. It also helped with having us eat our fruits and veggies. Granted I was a chunky child for eating that much, but at least I am not afraid of veggies like a lot of people I know. =D
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Shannon in ATL View Post
I was a seriously picky eater as a child, and stayed one as an adult. I didn't eat many veggies
This was me, too! I liked what I liked and wouldn't try anything new.

Also, I was a closet-eater, even as a kid. My parents didn't buy sugary cereal, so I'd dump a ton of sugar on Raisin Bran--making sure to do so when my parents weren't anywhere near the kitchen. I'd also get off the bus and eat a ton before my parents got home and then eat a normal dinner. It didn't catch up with me too much because I was so active and involved in sports year round. I wore a size 12/14 in high school (which was definitely much smaller than it is now!), but I was solid because I had so much muscle tone. And, even though I was bigger than other girls, my build was suited for it- I still had a flat stomach and definition in my arms and legs. I didn't really get "fat" until after high school when I was on my own. Not sure why or when this kind of thing started
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:53 PM   #15
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Now that I am a working adult myself, I admire my mom even more. She always made dinner (even if it was a meat + starch + veggie). She didn't allow soda (milk or water, the end). We weren't really allowed to be picky, but I was never a very picky eater anyway. The only thing I can remember my mom making I didn't like was liver and this really gross steamed cauliflower with cheese on top (looked like a brain, was soggy wet and drippy and blech). I don't remember any power struggles over eating anything, so I guess I just ate it. We always ate dinner at the table as a family.

We rarely had dessert and there really wasn't a lot of snacking. She bought "wheat" bread (back before we knew the difference between wheat and whole wheat - she was trying!) and the junkiest cold cereal allowed in the house was Golden Grahams or Honeycomb (and those were treats, usual choices were Cheerios, Wheat Chex - which I still adore - and Rice Krispies). We would have chips at lunch with a sandwich but I always remember her giving reasonable portion sizes. When we took our lunches to school, chips were in a small baggie. My mom really did good with food prep.

But, my mom went back to work when I was in the 5th grade. I became a classic "latchkey" kid (with my younger brother, Mark who was 4 years younger). We had to come straight home after school and we weren't allowed outside, at all, even in the yard. I was so bored, all I did was watch TV and eat. I used to do stuff like sprinkle white sugar on plain bread and eat it. Or, we'd roll up bread into little balls and sprinkle salt on it. Or make mustard sandwiches, or sneak into the cake frosting and eat it by the spoonful, or Nestle's Quik by the spoonful or brown sugar by the spoonful. Anything to feel good. I remember eating all of those things very vividly! I don't recall my mom or dad ever saying "hey, what happened to all the frosting?"

I felt like I had to "sneak" food though, I remember lots of sneaking around. Like if there was leftover birthday cake in the garage frig, I used to sneak in and steal all the frosting remnants from the edge of the platter. Or steal a piece of cake. On the rare occasions there were home made chocolate chip cookies, I would sneak one after the other. Never busted for any of this behavior!

I am STILL a boredom, restless eater, particularly in the afternoons (very rarely do I ever want to eat anything after dinner). Back when I started, I looked pretty carefully at why/when I ate and noticed the pastries and M&Ms every afternoon. Ding ding ding! Now, I carefully plan healthy snacks every afternoon, about every 2 hours. And I pretty much just pound tea all afternoon (just to satisfy the desire to have my hand moving to my mouth).

I definitely don't mean to talk badly about my mom, she did the best she could. I just wish that we had gone to some kind of afterschool "camp" or something where we could have kept busy doing activities!
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