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  • Eating

Struggling with food, we seek ideas from others on what and how to eat. On the merry-go-round of eating disorders, every diet is the brass ring, every person who seems to eat “right” is a model to imitate—both of which are exactly the wrong approaches. To have a positive relationship with food, instead look inward at your “eat-iosyncracies.” 

My client Pru knew restrictive eating regimes weren’t the answer yet didn’t trust herself with food after decades of overeating and weight gain. To point her toward the path of “normal” eating, I shared some anecdotes about my evolution to enjoying a healthy relationship with food and my body along with my idiosyncratic ways of eating. 

When I was first reading about appetite-driven eating, I took the concept of figuring out what I wanted to eat very seriously. One night in Boston, I threw on my down parka over my pj’s and headed for a Seven Eleven. I walked up and down the food aisles trying to decide what appealed to me. I took my time, that is, until the clerk tapped my shoulder and asked with concern, “Miss, are you alright?” That’s how it was back then. I was so focused on learning what I wanted to eat that I became lost in the search. 

The first time I stayed overnight at my now husband family’s home, his mother must have asked what I ate for breakfast and he told her bagels. He and his dad were out somewhere and his mother and I were eating breakfast together. I confess, I eat my bagels in a particular way: first I eat all the soft stuff from the inside, then I eat the crusty outside. I was doing just that when I noticed his mother watching me intently and suddenly I realized how odd this must have looked to her. I think I stammered something about liking to eat my bagels this way and she smiled and never said a word.

The first time my husband saw how I eat ice cream by picking out the chocolate chips from the container and leaving the actual ice cream for later, he asked why, since I liked chocolate chips so much, I didn’t just buy and eat them. I explained that as a child I liked to eat one food at a time and also enjoyed the adventure of searching for the chips in the ice cream. Since then, he’s made a point of occasionally bringing home ice cream containers he thinks have a lot of chunks of whatever it is I might like to hunt for. 

Since childhood, I’ve eaten the innards out of sandwiches and left the bread and liked eating one food at a time. I enjoy icing, but cake, not so much. In fact, I polished off the creamy frosting on our wedding carrot cake (with two carrots dressed as a bride and groom on top) and threw out the cake. I also like burnt French fries and popcorn. These  are my eating quirks and I get a kick out of them. What are your eat-iosyncracies?