Way back, when I was tiny Zander, I wasn’t permitted to snack outside of meals very often. The old school way of parenting was that children should be seen but not heard, and all food consumed was during 3 meals.
The Boomers and their parents missed the boat on this.
By the time I was a teenager, I was starving. In fact, I started starving a little before that. I would sneak food from the kitchen whenever possible and store it under my bed for safekeeping when I was really, really hungry and not allowed to eat anything. I would hide Halloween candy in my pockets when I was allowed to pick out two pieces only so I could hide those in my room. I would strategically throw away my trash so I wasn’t caught. I might’ve got caught once or twice, I can’t remember.
But most damaging was the mindset that when I was able to eat freely (at grandparents’ homes, friends’ houses during sleepovers, pizza parties at school, etc.), I ate like I was out of control. I really felt like I MUST eat what I could when I can so that I wouldn’t be starving later. This is a mindset that I am working on shifting now. I am an adult. I can drive to the store whenever I want to eat something I might not have. I can order food to be delivered. I can buy snacks during grocery shopping that I don’t wish to share and put them high enough so the kids can’t reach them. There is no need for me to eat like I don’t know when I will eat again because I am in control of my own food now. I can take my time and enjoy a meal with normal portions. I don’t need to keep eating until it hurts. I don’t need to fear hunger that I cannot personally fix.
It sounds like it should be freeing, but it’s not. It’s so scary to think that I really am safe enough where I don’t need to worry that I won’t have enough food and I will go to bed, wide awake with my stomach growling. We weren’t rich growing up, but we definitely had enough. Moderate snacking would not have broken the bank and it would’ve helped me to learn how to eat. Not that desperate caveman who has no idea when they can eat again.
College, early adulthood, even as recently as a few months ago, I needed to eat all of the things as soon as I bought them. But every day I tell myself multiple times a day, even when I am not eating, that I am ok, I am not yet hungry, I can stop when I am done, and there will always be more food available if I am really hungry. I am hoping that it will stick soon. I don’t like feeling out of control like that. Binge eating doesn’t feel good at all.