The Consumption Function
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
For a loudmouthed super-open person who TMIs all over the place (and doesn’t care), there ARE topics I actively avoid. With everyone. All of the time. At the top of that list is nutrition/diets/eating.
You know how I say to my runners that we’re never REALLY talking about the running? I refuse to discuss nutrition because we are REALLY never talking about food. We can’t get to the food until we unpack all of the guilt and shame we feel about what we choose to eat. I’m neither therapist nor nutritionist so both topics are firmly outside my scope of practice.
Before we go further, keep in mind I have Celiac Syndrome, and there are two upsides to my 2006 diagnosis:
I have spent countless hours with nutritionists figuring things out. I know exactly what my needs are and how they change over the day, over the week, and over the course of a training cycle. When it comes to nutrition, I GOT this.
Ever since my diagnosis food has become utilitarian- something I need to do, not something I have feelings about. Guilt and shame left the building when food became a different type of enemy.
My family’s consumption function is driven by the fact that I have 4 kids, who are 7, nearly 6, nearly 4, and 1. We don’t talk about food much; they don’t get choices and I don’t negotiate. Their BATNA is carrots, hummus and peanut butter on half an apple. They don’t ask for seconds because 4 kids yo we never have leftovers. We drink water. We use Instacart as a verb. They get three meals per day. As long as the pediatrician isn’t worried about their growth I’m not stressing over uneaten lunch or making up protein servings at dinner.
Okay, I told you ALL THAT so I could tell you this:
Today was a school holiday and I took the kids to an indoor trampoline park then out for pizza. I even splurged on their favorite macaroons and we munched in silence while light snow fell outside the window. We had a GREAT day.
Half of a (second) pizza came home with us. Two hours later I went to make dinner and saw the box was now empty.
It didn’t take long to figure out whodunit. She saw the look on my face and a guilty smile turned into apologies.
My mind raced with memories:
the music camp where someone called me Miss Piggy; the first time I realized I was fat and fat was bad so I was bad
The woman who suggested laxatives as a weight management tool
the girl at another camp who binged and purged
The girl on campus who exercised for 2 hours after every meal
The roommate who would eat everything in the fridge and then cry
the runner I briefly lived with who was scared to eat
the client(s) with all the stress fractures
The friend(s) who concern-troll me at meals, projecting their insecurities onto my food choices and/or portion sizes
Her sobs snapped me out of it. I held her and rocked her and told her I love her and that it’s okay but my reaction made it clear that something is NOT okay, and I don’t know how to tell her what I’m scared of.
What I said was something like, “there are 6 people in this house eating food but only one preparing it. if you are hungry you ask before you take so we have enough for everyone.”
Understanding nutrition and having a healthy relationship with food aren’t the same thing. These conversations are firmly outside my scope of practice; I have NO idea how to unpack the guilt and shame around what we choose to eat. All I do know is that my influence will have a large impact on which of the girls in the bullet list my precious daughters will become, so I need to start participating in conversations about nutrition/diet/eating.
As usual, my friend Sarah has incredible timing. Her invitation hit my inbox a few minutes ago, and I hope you will join us as a family nutrition expert introduces a conversation I didn’t think my family needed to have.
*NOTE: Apologies, but the livestream is cancelled. Sarah was excited to stream the event, but the speaker was not. You guys asked a LOT of great questions and I want to explore this topic further, so am mulling next steps and will email The Nice List once I've decided which way I want to go. We have OPTIONS, you guys....and all are exciting! I promise not to leave you hanging very long!