Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is Home a Safe Haven

For sixteen months we have been a divided house when it comes to food. I eat my foods, my husband goes out of his way to make sure he does not bring in food that would trigger me and our youngest daughter (an adult) eats what she wants. Seeing her undesirable (for me) foods was disconcerting enough that I asked her to please keep her food in in her dorm fridge (in the garage) from when she was in college and the non-perishables in a large corrugated box kept away from the kitchen.

It wasn't the ideal safe place for me but I am not the only important person in any relationship so we made an imperfect arrangement work for all of us. She could eat her food in front of me, I just didn't want it sitting around, talking to me, when I was alone in the house and feeling antsy. Using this approach, she was not forced to her to eat her stuff between home and work or sitting in her car. It has been hard for the past 15 months that my daughter lived with us. Sometimes her food called louder than my food sobriety. Sometimes I asked her to limit what I had to smell and see. She was usually very accommodating.

As much as I can appreciate Norma's do like I do or die approach it does not work in  relationship's with other adults when the other adults have their own lives and the freedom to live it as they choose. The experience of having a different eater in the house gave me the opportunity to expand on my guidelines and see just how important they are in my life. 

 This week she  moved into her apartment and now I have a home that is a food-safe haven in all rooms at all times. The outside fridge lies empty and there is no longer a box of food bombs in the other room.

When my husband asks for my help in choosing food for him I  give it. If he rather have something else I tell him to have whatever he wants and leave me out of it. I make my choices independent of his. Trying to control his choices only builds resentment in both of us. What I have learned is I need to keep my eyes on my food, on my choices.

Our only problem as been the issue of eating out spontaneously. I no longer like to eat out just because. He loves to eat out. He respects my decision (and need) to eat in according to my personal eating plan and therefore we rarely eat out anymore. In return, I like to surprise him with choosing to eat out occasionally. That way I plan for both the surprise and for my food guidelines.

In any good marriage there has to be give and take but it never has to involve giving up or taking in too much. In almost thirty years we have never given up on each other and we resist taking too much into our lives that could interfere with our relationship. In keeping the pounds off I apply that same principle. Taking in too much of anything can be harmful and giving up is never a viable option.



Norma said...

;) In this house, I do the shopping (and I pay for it), and I do the cooking. Hence, they eat what is here. But they all like what is here; please don't frame it as a battle where I'm regulating their every move. Last night they all sent out for pizza. I even paid for it. No problem.

Josh loves his junk, but he's over it. He doesn't "need" it; i.e., he won't make a special trip to the store to buy chips and dip, you know? But if he did, no problem. I'd tell him if they became a concern. Like when he bought the giant Valentine heart and took out all the chocolate and filled it with veggies -- he put all 10 lbs of chocolates into ziploc bags and asked me, that night, what to do with them. So I told him to let the kids pick out a few each, he could eat a few if he wanted, and then I took the bag out to the big filthy trash can in the garage, dumped them into it, emptied the kitchen trash on top of it, DONE. Because I know I can't live in the house with 10 lbs of russel stover screaming at me.

My kids were little (6 and 7) when I changed how I eat; I talked to them about my new plan and they just got on board with it. When they're with their dad or at friend's houses, obviously, they eat differently than they do at home and I accept that. They don't whine and beg for Pop Tarts or Froot Loops or Lunchables and I don't lecture them; please don't make it sound like that. It's just our lifestyle, and they happen to be kids who enjoy real food and don't feel weird about bringing salad and boiled eggs and fruit and bottled water for lunch instead of cold cuts and chips and soda or juice.

It is about respect for your fellow household members. If you had quit smoking, it would be unkind of your daughter to smoke in front of you. If you had quit drinking, it would be a very telling behavior if your husband relished a couple of beers after work in front of you. When your housemates know you have to eat/treat food a certain way to preserve your health and sanity, that should be respected.

Karen said...

Good stuff , Jane. I'm glad that your refrige is now all clean. I set up guidelines at my home, easier since my daughter is in middle school.

All I can say is that I'm glad I waited to even start to think about a relationship again , until my eating and my weight and my head were all in alignment. I'll pick a very different partner this time around. Whew!

I'll know early on if we cannot negotiate on places to eat out and meals together. The deal breakers will be crystal clear.

Jane Cartelli said...

Norma: Mea Culpa, I did not mean for you to sound harsh or unfair in your home. I never thought that. On the contrary, I love your boundaries and admire how you made the changes in time to bring willing kids on board. Kids are so willing to make changes when they're young and it creates habits that they grown into as healthy adults. Me, the adult, wasn't ready when our kids were young and they followed me down the unhealthy road. I love that they now look to what I do because I have become a healthy model but I so wish I had done it when they were young.

Russell Stover has a loud voice in my ears, too. Sara Lee is a whiner and I realize now that Ben and Jerry are just smooth talking liars. :-)

Vickie said...

I was thinking, as I read, that this post is actually two topics.

You and Norma have touched on that.

Safety of our house

Ages of our kids when we got sane with food.

I am between you two. My youngest was still little. My oldest was older. He was IN college when my most progressive food work happened.

Both are very interesting topics.

Norma said...

I know *you* get what I do & why, dear Jane...but some of your readers who don't know me (yet) might think I'm some sort of Ogre!! ;)

Unknown said...

Hi Jane! I totally understand what you're saying. We need to respect that others make their own food choices, good or bad, yet there has to still be a way for us to make wise choices for ourselves too.

Btw, I read this yesterday but I didn't have time to comment then.

:-) Marion