Children Learn What They Live

From 2005 to 2009, one item remained on my Amazon.com wish list. My father finally showed why he didn't want to buy it for me. Him: S...

From 2005 to 2009, one item remained on my Amazon.com wish list. My father finally showed why he didn't want to buy it for me.

Him: So what are you going to do with that?
Me: Cook, bake, mix cement.
Him: Are you sure you need the extra calories?

Aroo? What?
The whole reason you avoided getting it for me in the past is because you thought it'd make me fat?

I think to explain the cognitive dissonance, I need to take a step back and explain that growing up my mom had a very complex relationship with her body and her weight (growing up a fat child, pregnancies, getting fat on anti-anxiety meds, and having some serious control issues and finally being thin) and my father was pretty much always closer to obese than overweight.

As a baby, I was normal sized. My mother didn't breast feed me. When I started to eat real food, I wasn't overly impressed with any of it. I was thin until I was 8. That's when my grandma died. I don't really know what broke at that point -- whether it was my mom or me. But I started packing on the pounds. I went from a normal-sized girl to not being able to find age-appropriate clothing. Mom wasn't the best cook, and often we ate lots of processed food, or when mom cooked she wasn't terribly good with the idea of balance--favoring a starch & meat diet.

Then my mom died when I was 13. And I know what broke at that point: everything. There wasn't any regularity in my diet, and my activities in sports slowly ebbed off because I didn't have a parent to chauffeur me to practices and games. Dad couldn't put together a meal plan and considered Entenmann's Raspberry Danishes to be healthy because they had raspberry in the ingredients. My brother and I were unregulated when it came to food and I often ate because I was bored out of my mind (not because I was depressed, or because I was angry, just because I didn't have the life of a normal teenager, playing with friends and socializing). I almost always bought school lunch. I ate more McDonalds than I'd like to admit to.

I know at this time in my life it's pointless to point blame, but it is important to understand the past. And among those important realizations is that I never learned how to be healthy (in this instance, physically, though in almost every way) from my parents. I see parents who exercise with and play with their kids. Unless you call yard work playing, I didn't really have that. I wasn't really taught how to have a balanced diet or a healthy attitude towards food. My teenage years were mostly fueled by sugar. And my weight showed it. I think at my highest, I was 240lbs.

When I got to college I saw how everyone else ate and was shocked. I was even more shocked by the food court at GW -- everything was fast food, ridiculously proportioned, or so pre-processed that it probably had seen more of the world than I had. As a freshman I didn't have much of a choice, but I knew that the sooner I got a kitchen, the sooner I'd be able to turn the ship around.

Okay, so let's get back to the original story: the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
It just so wonderfully demonstrated the disconnect for some people. A person is capable of picking and choosing what he or she eats, and how much of it. My father assumes that just because I have the equipment to feed myself, that I will gorge myself. I wonder if he has sleepless nights worrying about me spending all my money in a grocery store buying all sorts of cheap comforts. I doubt it.

With this beautiful machine (that I bought for myself with holiday money from my bosses), I am actively investing in my health. It's a vow to myself to create beautiful, delicious, healthy food. It's a promise that I will know what I put in my mouth and how much of it. And that I'll clean everything when I'm done.

I will get thinner with this baby on my counter.

I just wish I could explain to my father that a fat person's salvation is through food -- actual, straight from the ground, unadulterated, sensuous, glorious food -- honoring that food, and honoring the body we put the food in.

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<3 Robby