Talking to Family About Their Relationship to Food

Yesterday I was eating dinner with my Mom and Dad and the topic came up of my writing posts for Healthygirl.org. Between bites of roasted chicken, my Dad actually expressed to me how much he liked reading the posts on Healthygirl.org and mentioned that he could relate to many of them. Although it’s not healthydad (someone should make that a blog too!), it was really interesting to hear that my Dad had similar issues when it came to his relationship to food. I had always heard from my Mom her personal relationship to food and her past struggles with that, but not as much with my Dad.

It was actually really helpful to have the conversation at the table with them, sort of like we were all on common ground, and had all dealt with similar things, even if they were in different contexts or experienced as a different gender. I’m not sure if I would have directly brought it up with my Dad about his specific relationship with food, but after having the conversation, I realized it didn’t feel weird or strange.

I know that there is a lot of research out there that suggests that perhaps some of the complex issues with food and body stuff are in fact genetically linked and this sort of fit. I suppose it would make sense then that if both of my parents each struggled with this kind of thing themselves that I would be at a higher risk to run into similar issues myself.

Not that it takes away any of the difficulty of dealing with it, but it’s sort of another reminder to be gentle with myself. I’m not of the school of thought that genetically-based traits should be met with apathy (people can overcome a lot of things!), but I also do think it sort of takes the pressure off and shuts up the little voice inside of me that used to say, “You are so crazy. You are insane and messed up, what is wrong with you?” Some of it may be out of our control to begin with, and it is our responsibility to decide how to deal with and react to it.

I felt proud that without knowing it, I was making my Dad think about and perhaps work on his own relationship to food, and I would have never known that had we not started having the conversation. I know that it can be a very sensitive topic for a lot of people, but sometimes the saying, “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree,” couldn’t be more spot on (for better or for worse!). Maybe if we all just stick with apples, we will be okay? =)

Have you ever tried talking to your family about their own relationship with food? If not, are there ways things you have observed that might make you think you aren’t alone in your struggles? –Morgan

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8 Responses to Talking to Family About Their Relationship to Food

  1. I have never had a convo like that with my family. Topics we talk about just never steer in that direction.

  2. Trish says:

    Morgan — great post!! I have never had a real conversation with my family about my issues with food, other than FINALLY telling my mom to LAY OFF for a while about my eating habits. But I’ve always found my eating habits to mirror that of my dad…when the family sits down for dinner, my dad and I always go for the same stuff first. We always want the same snacks, same meals, etc. Obviously, my dad is overweight too and we’ve subtly discussed our food issues before…we look at each other sometimes with these sad faces on when the two of us dig into a carton of breyer’s chocolate and vanilla ice cream (he eats the chocolate, i eat the vanilla) and i know what we’re both thinking — we can’t, nor do we want to, stop eating. I haven’t told my parents about my involvement in healthygirl, but after reading this post maybe that’s the bridge to the conversation i’ve been waiting for!

    • Sunny says:

      Yes, sounds like a good idea, Trish! I’m posting your guest blog soon. Look out for it. Maybe that’ll be a good thing to even show them. :)

  3. Sunny says:

    My Dad and I chat about our relationship with food, too–especially after I started sending him chapters of my book! Turns out he’s quite a stress/comfort eater. xo…Sunny

  4. I recently talked to my brother (he’s 19) and found out he has a lot of similar feelings to me regarding body image, including sometimes trying to avoid the mirror. He’s a healthy, athletic guy and I was so surprised that he sometimes feels similar insecurities. My mom also told me that my dad had told her that he sometimes has “fat days” and I was so surprised because I thought that was just a girl thing! I think men often have similar body image issues as women, they just don’t talk about it and it might not get as bad because the media doesn’t focus on men’s bodies as much.

  5. dmcgirl37 says:

    This is an amazing post! I wish my family talked to me about food..

    Dana xo
    http://happinessiswithin.wordpress.com

  6. […] Healthy Girl, Talking to Family About Their Relationship to Food […]

  7. […] Talking to Family About Their Relationship to Food at HealthyGirl. Have you ever spoken to your parents or other family members about their relationships with food? To me, this question also brings up several other key questions: How do they view their bodies? How do they see themselves as a whole? What were the influences behind how they feel about their bodies? Have their views influenced your own? […]

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