Let Their Voices Be Heard - Food and Eating
As a continuation of last month’s thought bullets, I want to share some of my favorite passages about food and eating from the newly released book entitled Let Their Voices Be Heard.
I have this pattern going that’s awful. Realize [poor eating habits]. Go do something about it. It’s getting better. Go back to the old habits. [I do that] over and over and just keeping playing the tape. . . . And so [dieting] is a huge part of my life. And I wish it wasn’t. . . . ’Cause like [someone else] said, dieting isn’t the most important thing in the world, and I hate that it’s such a priority to me.” Female in her 30's
“These quick-fix [diet] programs . . . don’t work; they only make matters worse. I can tell you that . . . ’cause I’ve tried every one of them. . . . I couldn’t count them all.” Male in his 60's
“[There are] times I don’t feel like I’m in control, that I just want to continue to eat, and I know I shouldn’t be doing it, but I’m doing it anyway. . . . And I know better. . . . But just knowing better and [still overeating] . . . that’s irritating to me.” Female, 40ish
“[I remember] that big . . . hand that my dad had—hands twice the size of mine—and he’d reach over and say, ‘Did I tell you to clean your plate up?’. . . I mean [that hand] was just like a sledge hammer. . . . And you know, to this day . . . if I’m . . . watching TV or something, I’d rather go get just what I want, because if the wife puts that [food] on that plate, no matter what, I’ll clean that plate up.” Male, 70ish
“I have a stepdaughter that’s fairly heavy for her age. I see her struggles. . . . She has an appetite problem because that’s one thing her mind has control over. ‘What am I going to eat next?’ instead of ‘What am I going to do next?’ ” Male, early 40's
“I had a grandma who . . . equated . . . how much you ate with how much you loved her.” Male, 30ish
“I don’t use food to reward myself or punish myself. I don’t use it to satisfy how I feel. If I’m hungry, I eat. If [I’m not hungry], I don’t, but I had to learn that because I was addicted. . . . And it’s like an alcoholic. I was addicted to that thought of food. I needed to have it. I needed it to make me feel good.” Female, late 40's
“If I’m busy doing something else, I never even think about food. Like [my husband] would come in and say, ‘Are we having some lunch?’ ‘Lunch? What are you talking about, lunch?’ ” Female, mid to late 40's
“I know that I use food as a tranquilizer. I’m very aware of that. . . . And I know that when I get really stressed, I want to eat. And I think that’s probably the biggest reaction of all normal people who are heavy—that food is their tranquilizer.” Female in her 60's
“When I was a kid, I just abused [food] terribly. You know, fast food. I ate unreal amounts of it, and it’s because it is easy to abuse it. You know, you drive in, and they give you something and you drive home and eat.” Male, late 30's
“Well, it took a lot of years to realize this, but there’s things that trigger you [to eat]. . . . To me, it was kind of a reward or feeling better, to eat. . . . It’s been something that’s been wrong with me for a long time, but that’s one really important thing to realize—if you eat to feel good or reward yourself for something, that’s probably not a good thing.” Male in his 60's
“I should be doing more and taking care of the old body a little better. You only have one [body], and you better take pretty good care of it. I had a heart attack . . . about ten years ago. . . . I’m finding out here lately, since we have grandchildren, . . . that it’s meaning more ’cause I hope I can watch them grow up a little bit. . . . I hope I can share a lot of my life yet . . . . It all comes down to [bad habits] some years ago. It’s caught up [with me]. I should have started taking better care of . . . my body years ago instead of just these last few years.” Male, mid 50's
“Sometimes I think that people in our country are spoiled because not enough of us have gone hungry to appreciate the food we have. I have never gone hungry.” Male, almost 60
“[When I was growing up], dinner time was a family time. And at my house now, it’s not. . . . I even wonder sometimes why we have a dining room with a table in it.” Male, 30's to 40's
“I’m [from a large family], . . . so when the food was put on the table everybody ate real fast so they would get their share. And I still do that today. I can eat my meal in 15 minutes. Everything. But the problem there is you’re not paying attention to your body. You’re eating until [your food is gone].” Female, early 40's
“When I was at basic training, my folks were watching the kids for me. And all Dad had wanted them to do was eat like a teaspoon of [peas]. That’s [my parents’] thing. You take one little tiny bit. And so it became a battle, and of course my dad won. And I happened to call right in the middle of it, and so [my son’s] bawling, and I haven’t seen him for three months, and I’m thinking, ‘Is it such a big deal that he didn’t want the peas?’ ” Female, mid 30's
“I’m almost overeating because I feel the pressure so much to not be. And so, it’s like if I was just not even thinking about it, I don’t think I’d be . . . eating as much. . . . And I tend to have a stubborn streak and I almost think that that’s part of it. It’s like, ‘Mmm, don’t tell me I can’t eat because I’m going to do just that.’ ” Female, mid 30's
Holmes B, Pelican S, Vanden Heede F. Let Their Voices Be Heard - Quotations from life stories related to physical activity, food and eating, and body image. Discovery Association Publishing House. Chicago, IL. 2005.
Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD
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