Our parents play a huge role in developing our relationship with food, and it’s common for them to unintentionally eff things up.
In a book called “Good Morning, Monster” by Catherine Gildiner, a psychologist wrote about five patients she saw over her 30 year career. Many of the parents in these stories are awful, and it’s very common to see a pattern of dysfunction across generational lines. And where our mind goes, as always, is food behavior. We’re going to talk about some of the ways that parents can bring their family down the wrong path with food.
Cleaning your plate
This usually stems from a fear of food waste, but it becomes pretty clear how this leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. Rather than eating to satisfaction, or eating to fullness, we’re trained to eat until the food is gone… and occasionally even served up more on top of that. Even more harmful is when mixed messages of weight gain are tossed in there.
Praising weight loss
This can actually be very dangerous, especially when you don’t know more about their situation. If someone is eating an unhealthy amount of food and losing weight, compliments will only reinforce these unhealthy behaviors.
Using food as a reward
If there’s an abundance of love in the family, this can be done well, but it’s a slippery slope. If there’s a scarcity of positivity or no variety of other rewards, it can definitely lead to an unhealthy view of food. Sometimes food is just meant to be fuel. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it a treat, but viewing it only as a reward for behavior leads to a feeling of constantly “treating yourself.”