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Eating disorder through proxy

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Old 02-15-2014, 03:23 PM   #1
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Default Eating disorder through proxy

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.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:44 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #3
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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?
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:22 PM   #4
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Default Maybe I'm Strange...

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?
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:58 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:31 PM   #6
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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...
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Old 02-16-2014, 03:16 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:04 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:27 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:42 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:01 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magical View Post
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.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:44 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:30 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 02-18-2014, 12:17 PM   #15
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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.
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