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Wow, going back home was such an eye opener!!

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Old 09-12-2011, 05:51 PM   #1
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Default Wow, going back home was such an eye opener!!

I went home for the first time in 2 years to see my family.

Now, don't get my wrong - seeing my family was great. But there were somethings that stood out to me, things I was raised with and would have been "normal" for me growing up and through my early 20s before I moved across the country to California.

- My parents don't cook. They eat out every meal, generally skipping breakfast and usually having lunch about 2pm and dinner about 8pm. Breakfast can be a cup of a coffee, or chips and a diet pepsi. This was "normal" for me before I left and my whole life.

- Food was greasier and saltier than I eat now. I went to a movie and the popcorn from the theater shriveled up my lips. All the local places we went, the food was saturated in grease. My sister ordered from french fries and the whole basket just glistened. I don't think they drained the fries even slightly before tossing them in a basket and bringing them to the table.

- Everyone drinks - a lot. All the time. There are way more bars in a small concentrated area than anything I am used to seeing out here. And frankly, that says a lot. My parents were at the bar drinking *every* *night*. I even took my BF with me for this trip, and as much as he loves his beer and fries - he was nauseated from everything.

- No one was exercising! There wasn't anyone outside going for run, people were not out walking their dogs. No one I talked to had a gym membership, or made an effort in anyway....

- The vast majority of people were smokers. Also, not something I'm used to seeing anymore.

- People just LOOKED worn out, tired.... Unhealthy.

.... Going home was a shock. #1 - It showed me very clearly WHERE I got my habits from and living like that for SO LONG - where my WEIGHT came from. #2 - It showed me the value that moving away was for me. Moving out of that environment opened my eyes to how OTHER people live. #3 - It helped me to feel motivated and reaffirmed in my choices I've been making.

I love where I grew up, I love my family - but I loved going back and seeing that I'm healthier and happier for being able to break out of that cycle that my whole family and all my friends are still stuck in. Craziness.
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:59 PM   #2
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heh...sounds like when I go to visit my inlaws. The only vegetable in the whole state apparently is iceberg lettuce. "salad" means potato or macaroni salad. One trip the healthiest meal I ate the entire time was a Wendy's taco salad.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:08 AM   #3
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Wow! That is very eye-opening.

It also shows just how heavily environment influences us and our choices!
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:22 AM   #4
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Hehe... let me guess... is your family from the south?

Because that's where I'm from, and yes, potato salad is a vegetable, sweet tea is cheaper than water, and Saturdays are for watching SEC football and eating massive barbeques with the family.

It's great you were able to spend time with your family and gain some perspective. And it sounds like you stayed pretty much on plan when you were there, instead of diving for the shimmering basket of fries. Way to go!
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:49 AM   #5
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Hehe... let me guess... is your family from the south?
Nah, Pennsylvania. My mom's side of the family is from Florida, so I know what you mean, though!!
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:59 AM   #6
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Nah, Pennsylvania. My mom's side of the family is from Florida, so I know what you mean, though!!
Florida is not "the south"
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:30 AM   #7
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Florida is not "the south"
agreed! i thought i was the only one that felt that way hahaha.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:40 AM   #8
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I totally understand. I was at a family reunion on Sunday. As I went through the line looking at the food, I looked at all the overweight people in the room, then back at the food. No wonder they all look like they do.

Don't get me wrong, they are great cooks, but, WOW! Fried chicken, white pasta, cheese, mayo, sweets, sweets and more sweets. Probably only 25% of them were at a reasonable weight and about 1/2 of them were lanky, growing teenage boys. There is one little girl about 9 who is probably 50 lbs overweight already.

The few fresh veggies had been sliced and drowned in mayo or Ranch. Oh, there was one bowl of plain, cantalope, and one bowl of naked, (no dressing) fresh pear tomatoes.

I'm in Nebraska, so the fattening cooking isn't just a southern thing!
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:41 AM   #9
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I hear you!

I went and visited my family in the Midwest awhile back and really can understand where you're coming from. The stores were PACKED with aisle after aisle of processed food and had very few fruits/veggies in comparison. The portions were just huge and I saw absolutely no one out walking. Where we live now we have grocery stores that pretty much just sell fresh fruits and veggies and you'd actually have to search quite a bit to find processed foods (and even then the selection is very small). My family also spent a lot of time trying to feed me and it was pretty clear from their eating habits where I picked my own up from.

I get what you're saying, it IS nice to see your family again but it's also frustrating (and, well, enlightening too) to see where you got your habits from.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:56 AM   #10
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I'm excited and terrified at the prospect of visiting home over Christmas. Japan certainly has a lot of culinary traditions that don't mesh with my lifestyle--eating rice (or bread) at almost all meals, consuming multiple other carbs with every meal and frying food in at least four different ways--the portions are still much smaller and the options are often healthier, or at least feature fewer processed foods. Going back to the land of Venti Frappuccinos and huge McDonald's meals is a little bit daunting, but I hope it'll help motivate me to stick with my new lifestyle rather than returning to a more American mindset about food.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:51 AM   #11
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Florida is not "the south"
I think that depends on which part. The panhandle is actually quite southern. I just figure they drew the lines wrong and that part is supposed to be part of Alabama.


I'm from a southern family. We did have veggies. For instance: green beans cooked with bits of bacon and bacon grease, corn swimming in butter, and deep fried okra. For goodness sakes, I've seen mac'n'cheese labeled as a vegetable. I was raised in Florida by a mom from Alabama and now I'm living in Arkansas. This place is even worse than what I was raised with. It is so difficult trying to be healthy here. I almost never go out to eat because it is almost impossible to find healthy choices. The healthiest restaurant within a 20 mile radius is probably Quizno. The produce section at most grocery stores is seriously limited. If I want anything more exotic than snow peas I have to drive 25 minutes to Whole Foods or Fresh Market. We do have a farmer's market during season (20 minute drive), but it is pretty limited. There is a place labeled farmer's market closer to me, but it is never actually open. I have actually had people get angry with me for making healthy choices. I have also seen people walk out of the gym and straight into the CiCi's that shares the parking lot. For 2010 the obesity rate here was 30.1%. It just makes me sad.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:03 PM   #12
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You guys are giving me serious food for thought and reflection. My family is not overweight or inclined towards bad eating. My parents are and have always been normal weighted/slim and I grew up eating healthy, balanced meals. (Though we all do enjoy our wine!)

Am I some kind of freak of nature with my self-generated food issues!?!?



I will say that my sister struggles with weight and eating as well. She spent most of her life until the last few years doing severe restriction and bulimia and is now a little overweight. But it still can't be blamed on family food traditions or genetics!
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:24 PM   #13
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You guys are giving me serious food for thought and reflection. My family is not overweight or inclined towards bad eating. My parents are and have always been normal weighted/slim and I grew up eating healthy, balanced meals. (Though we all do enjoy our wine!)

Am I some kind of freak of nature with my self-generated food issues!?!?



I will say that my sister struggles with weight and eating as well. She spent most of her life until the last few years doing severe restriction and bulimia and is now a little overweight. But it still can't be blamed on family food traditions or genetics!
Just curious, did your parents teach you how to cook/prepare balanced meals? Did you exercise a lot as a family? Do you have close friends in high school and beyond with poor eating habits? Like I mentioned above my family really wasn't a good example for me growing up but I'm also trying to think about what to do with my own kids so I'm always curious what causes some people to gain weight and others not too..
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:05 PM   #14
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Those are good questions. Yes, I was taught how to prepare healthy and tasty foods--and actually, I pretty much always have. And I belong to a social and socio-economic mileu where everyone is pretty normally-weighted. I've never had fat friends (by which I mean, friends who, as a group, are fat. I have had the occasional overweight friend ). I will say that my mom never taught us discipline or self-restraint when it came to eating. She would prepare healthy meals and stock the fridge and freezer with good choices, and then we would be on our own to make whatever (moderately healthy) snacks we wanted. And we ate a LOT as kids, while mom was at work.

I have a good friend who has a 14 year old daughter. The friend is very slim but is attentive to her weight--exercises and eats carefully. I'm learning a lot from watching her teach her daughter how to make good food choices--to not go back for seconds of starches, to choose wisely at restaurants and so on. My friend teaches these things to her daughter as simple facts of life: you can't eat anything and everything just because you want to. (It helps me too!)

In addition to never having learned restriction and moderation, we were NOT physically active as a family. My mom has polio and while she moves around a lot, exercise isn't really an option. I don't think it ever occurred to her to put us in sports when we were kids. I do regret that. Learning to make exercise an automatic part of my life is crucial, crucial to my weight maintenance.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:08 PM   #15
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Those are good questions. Yes, I was taught how to prepare healthy and tasty foods--and actually, I pretty much always have. And I belong to a social and socio-economic mileu where everyone is pretty normally-weighted. I've never had fat friends (by which I mean, friends who, as a group, are fat. I have had the occasional overweight friend ). I will say that my mom never taught us discipline or self-restraint when it came to eating. She would prepare healthy meals and stock the fridge and freezer with good choices, and then we would be on our own to make whatever (moderately healthy) snacks we wanted. And we ate a LOT as kids, while mom was at work.

I have a good friend who has a 14 year old daughter. The friend is very slim but is attentive to her weight--exercises and eats carefully. I'm learning a lot from watching her teach her daughter how to make good food choices--to not go back for seconds of starches, to choose wisely at restaurants and so on. My friend teaches these things to her daughter as simple facts of life: you can't eat anything and everything just because you want to. (It helps me too!)

In addition to never having learned restriction and moderation, we were NOT physically active as a family. My mom has polio and while she moves around a lot, exercise isn't really an option. I don't think it ever occurred to her to put us in sports when we were kids. I do regret that. Learning to make exercise an automatic part of my life is crucial, crucial to my weight maintenance.

Hope that helps.
Thanks, that actually is really helpful! Your family sounds somewhat like DH's. They ate relatively healthy foods (although never enough veggies, IMO) but never taught moderation and never encouraged physical activity.

It sounds like your friend is doing a good job with her DD. Thanks for sharing that!
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Mini-Goals
Started at 240
Onederland 199 (Jan 6, 2010, exactly 2 years after my previous due date!)
Overweight BMI 185 (Aug 3, 2011, one year after joining 3FC!)
Pre-pregnancy weight 175 (Oct 18, 2011)
Called Goal 156

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