Michael and I had a moment of conflict recently. I will preface this story with a yes I had a minor meltdown and yes I was already feeling overwhelmed and overstressed leading up to this “moment.” (Note to Self: listen to my body and my stress and do more self-care, perhaps verbalize some of the frustrations before they become overwhelming!)
It was a Rest Day for me and all week long I’d been doing my best to cut down my calories. I wasn’t restricting myself drastically, I was just being mindful of just how MUCH I was munching on the “extras” throughout the day. You know those extras–they are the bites, nibbles and tastes that we fail to count during our day. Sometimes we forget to record them, sometimes we trick our brain into thinking that they don’t count. For whatever reasons we do it, those calories do count and they do add up. I was trying my best to become more accountable to myself.
After a crappy day at work, an even longer week of exhausting obligations on top of cutting down on my sugar intake, I just snapped. We were in the kitchen making dinner together. Michael decided we were having veggie enchiladas–which was awesome because I’d been craving Mexican food for awhile. He cooked down the spinach and onions. I chopped the black olives and jalapenos and got the sauce and black beans ready.
We began assembling the enchiladas. Stressor #1 – I realized that we bought the much larger tortillas than normal and they were 210 calories each. I shuddered as I started to add up the math in my head and realized I could only have one enchilada instead of the two that I really wanted.
Stressor #2 – Michael was stuffing the enchiladas with shredded Colby Jack cheese. Handful after handful went into them until it was heaping.
“Can we put less cheese in two of those for me?”
Michael said no. “Stop it. Lots of cheese is what makes these good! You can have cheese.”
I felt annoyed that he was dictating what I should and could eat. I said it was too much cheese. His response: “If we ate this in a restaurant it would be twice the amount of cheese.”
“But we are at home and I can make it healthier.”
“Come on! That’s not fun!”
This was the breaking point. There were tears. I was frustrated and angry. I felt like a huge, wet blanket because I couldn’t “have fun” with my food. I said, “I need you to stop belittling my food choices and making me feel guilty for how I eat. I have been living a life of moderation for years now and I will always count my calories and be concerned about my intake. It will always be a struggle for me. I will always want more food and I make choices every single day to stay on track. I am aware that my food is not fun or gluttonous. But I need you to be supportive of me and not push food on me. Please don’t make me feel guilty for trying to be healthy.”
Michael apologized profusely. He admitted he made a mistake with trying to pressure me and apologized for adding to my stress. He was compassionate and understanding. We resolved it and made up. There were hugs and then we enjoyed our cheesy enchiladas.
Michael isn’t normally a food-pusher but every once in a blue moon we do have this conflict. Michael can only relate to my struggles so much but he’s never been obese and never knew me as That Girl. He didn’t see how hard I worked to lose the weight. He didn’t see the process of working so hard to lose one pound after another. He’s proud of my accomplishments and supports my efforts but he really can’t relate to what my struggles are with food.
It sucks that the argument had to happen at all but once in awhile it’s good to remind our partners if we need help. Please don’t push food on me. Please keep my triggers out of the house. Please support my efforts. Don’t feel like you can’t speak up and ask for support!
We enjoyed dinner. The veggie enchiladas were delicious and pretty big. I was full but definitely wanted to eat another one. I resisted. I recognized that I did NOT need a second one, I WAS full and satisfied. The conflict isn’t always there, but in times of stress it’s easy to turn to food, or to revert back to old habits. Sometimes those old habits lay dormant for years, and then boom! Stress, or something happens and it’s harder to resist those temptations.
QUESTION: How do you handle food conflicts with your significant others/family/friends?