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Rewards With Consequences

“You’re going to finish all that is on that plate.”

“But I’m full.”

“Don’t move from that table until it’s gone.”

Ever hear this in your home growing up? It was always important to eat everything on your plate even if you’re not the one that dished it all on. So what you’re telling me is, you piled all this food on my plate not knowing how much I would eat and you want ME to finish it? I’m sure my parent’s parents told them the same thing. So, who breaks that cycle? Who will tell their child that it’s perfectly OK to throw food away? That wasting food is OK. That making your own choices about how much you put on your plate is OK. Once we’re adults it’s embedded so deep in our minds that we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. So we dish up our child’s plate and control the portion ourselves, not knowing our child’s OFF switch. So why not scoot Johnny up to the counter and have him dish his own? Within common-sense of course.

What about advertisements? Stop for a moment and think. How often do you see a food commercial after 5 pm? How many food advertisements on billboards did you read on the way home? How many grocery stores announcing great deals on their orange-bulb sign did you read?

Two for five!

One free when you buy two!

Kids eat free on Tuesday!

Buy 1 Get 1

The list goes on. Think about how much our grocery bill would shrink if we only bought what we NEEDED. Because it’s on sale, does it mean you should buy it? Do you write a grocery list to shop and then pick up a “few extras?” Does convenience outweigh obesity?

Rewards with consequences. Food becomes the reward. Obesity becomes the consequence.

When I first learned to tie my shoes, it went like this:

Over, under, around and through,
Meet Mr. Bunny Rabbit, pull and through.

“You did it! You tied your shoes! Every time you tie them on your own you can have a Twinkie!”Ah grandma’s house. I love grandma’s house.

Besides feeling hungry, when do you eat? My nasty cycle is, “You celebrate, you eat. You’re rewarded,  you eat. You’re fussy, you eat.  You go out with friends, you eat. You’re sad, you eat. You’re happy, you eat.” And again, it doesn’t help that there are signs and colors and smells… oh my! So today (just try for today) step back and take a look at your surroundings. Count up the billboards, the signs, the coupons, the sales! Take a list to the store and only get what is on that list. I will walk this with you and will post results! You can leave yours in the comments. Are you going to be the first to break the cycle?

My results done on 4/10/2015 within a 15 miles radius

  • 4 fast food commercials in 2 hours.
  • 6 food billboards
  • 4 family restaurants with large advertisements.
  • 18 fast food restaurants!

Thirty-two!! So at the least, 32 times a day I am subjected to food advertisements and how great food is and how cheap and easy it is!

 

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Room Without A View

My probation officer looks at me then looks down at the table and sighs. I sit with a smile on my face waiting for him to announce that he is taking me back to jail. “Tonia, you know the drill.” “I sure do! Let’s go!” I get up and start walking before he even gets up from the table. I don’t bother saying goodbye to mom since she dramatically stormed up the stairs shedding what I call fake tears.

He doesn’t even bother cuffing me this time since my eagerness stands at the state car waiting to be let in. He jumps in and turns to me, “Tonia, why? Why would you rather be in jail than at home?” I look at him and slightly smile, “Do you even know what I go through here? I’m 16 and she controls everything I do. Every decision, every choice, every thought, every feeling. You are not taking me to jail. You are letting me out.”

Arriving, I feel the excitement. We get into booking and I peek to see whose curious faces I may recognize peering back at me through the small opening in the heavy steel doors. My probation officer leaves me with a “goodbye” and a “take care.” Relieved, I look at the intake officer and ask how she’s doing since the last time I saw her. She just smiles. I grab my bedding and personal hygiene products and head to my cell. I feel home. You see, jail provides me with stability. A sort of structure that home doesn’t. Home is so unpredictable. At least I know what to expect here. Breakfast at 8 am then some recreational time, then back in for socializing and lunch. Dinner at 4 pm. If you’re lucky, you may have some leftover snacks. Everyday.

I wake to the sound of a short, chubby woman yelling. “Tonia! Pack up. You’re moving.” She has me swap out my jump suit and plastic sandals for my street clothes. Leading me through the steel doors I see my ex-boyfriend’s mother. What is she doing here? God, I hope she doesn’t talk to me. This woman despised me because I was the bad girl dating her perfect son. By the way, your perfection introduced me to acid, dumbass. The door opens and she stands with a proud smile. “Hey, Tonia. How are you? I’m here to escort you to Mountain View Girls School in Helena. Load up.” Thank you State of Montana for hiring this nutcase. The nearly 2 hour drive there is spent in silence.

We approach the gates of MVS. My eyes are introduced to cute little brick cottages. This isn’t going to be so bad!

Gates

 

cottage 2

I unload the car and head into the office. Nutcase pats me on the back and happily exclaims, “Forty-five days, Tonia. Enjoy!” Dozens of girls glare at me from a large room to my left. I read “bitch” roll off the lips of one of them. Cute cottages, gone. Fear, enters. To be continued…

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Love Thyself

I’m just going to walk upright. More straight. That’s it. Not too stiff. Just straight. Ugh! Now I look like an overweight ostrich. I swear I had a neck last week. I think it’s moved up into my now forming double chin. So perhaps I’m NOT getting fatter. I’m just……moving.  UGH! I’m a continental drift! That seems reasonable considering that my boobs were once upright and in place. My butt had some firmness to it too! Oh God! Where’s my ass?!?

I don’t think I ever really appreciated my young body. I stare at myself in the mirror. Maybe it’s this shirt that makes me look pregnant. I take it off. Nope. It wasn’t the shirt. Are those stretch marks? An ex-boyfriend once said, “No baby, it’s fine. You’re thick. Thick’s good.” I slowly turn to him, “Really? THICK is good?”  “Well…..yeah?” Did he just put a question mark on that?!? This might explain why he’s an ex.  

meme

People always say to love yourself.  What is love? According to Wiki, “Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that range from interpersonal affection to pleasure.” Is this what I have with food? Perhaps. I think the band Whitesnake got it right when they asked, “Is this love?” Is it what I’ve been searching for or am I dreaming? This must be love ’cause it’s really got a hold on me. Food, you really do. Maybe we really need to see less of each other. Before we do though, how about one last rodeo?

Ahh…hello cinnamon roll. Let’s heat you up a bit and make you feel warm and toasty. I know you will repay the favor evenly.

fridge 2
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My Precious Secret

It’s 1991. The high school halls are filled with familiar faces. The smell of paper, bad personal hygiene, and bubble gum fills the air. “Tonia!! Hey! Want to go over to Fort Missoula and have a smoke?” How can I turn down this exciting offer? Class starts in 15 minutes, we gotta make this quick. We sit, smoke and talk about how big of rebels we are by getting away with it. We head back and she asks if she can come over tomorrow. I’d have to ask my mom.

The next day the same conversation only this time she asks if it’s OK to come over after school. “I asked last night. She said that it would be fine just as long as we worked on some homework before doing anything else.” After the last bell rings for the day we giggle with excitement, grab our stuff and hitch a ride on the bus to my house. Mom comes home later. Finally! I’m starving! We excitedly rush down the stairs together laughing all the way. Mom opens the door before we reach the bottom she looks at my friend, then looks at me with fury. Laughter ceases. What is it this time? “I told you NO ONE was allowed in the house while I was gone,” she yells while pointing her finger in my face. “Mom, we talked about..” “DON’T tell me! I make the fucking rules. Your friend, GONE! NOW!” Could she really say the word “friend” any more sarcastic? I’m mortified that she would not only embarrass me but make my friend feel awkward and uncomfortable as well. God knows what she is going to tell her mom about my dysfunction.

I say goodbye to my friend and start to head back upstairs to sulk and be pissed at the world. Mom yells before I reach the top, “You better get your chores done, NOW!” “Mom, I did them.” “Really? Let’s take another look! I see this…and this..” I think sometimes she forgets I’m 15…..or human.

The house is quiet and dark. Finally everyone is in bed. A big bowl of ice cream sounds so…comforting right now. Just me and that ice cream. I go downstairs quickly and quietly. I open the freezer and staring back at me is this beautiful generic brand strawberry ice cream. “Forget the bowl, Tonia,” it whispers seductively. I grab it and rush to the spoon drawer snatching the biggest spoon I could find. I head upstairs to my room. Peace and excitement surrounds me. My secret. No one will need to know….

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Guilt Trip

I can’t believe I’m here. I curl up in the chair and look around at the circle of women. One is a small, frail little thing. Another is a bit chubby and adorable. I think if she were smaller, her cuteness wouldn’t be so defined. Most seem to be “normal” size. A woman walks in and throws some books on the coffee table in front of me. I jump at the loud THUMP. I look down and see titles like, “The Compulsive Over-eater” and “Tools of Recovery.” A small panic comes on and my thoughts start to run around in a fury. THIS is Over-eaters Anonymous? What do these women know? I’m the largest one here! No one is going to get me. Maybe if I leave now it wouldn’t seem as rude.

The book-throwing woman sits and says with a flashy smile, “Alright ladies. Looks like we have some new faces. Do you want to introduce yourselves and let us know a small piece of your story?” Oh good God! It’s grade school all over again. The new kid! Step right up, put on your nervousness and tell us who you are! Claps hysterically I. Do. Not. Want to do this! Book-thrower looks at me, eyes burning into my now red face. That’s my cue. Ahem. “Hi. My name is Tonia. My story is simple. I eat too much,” I laugh anxiously.Ba Dum Tss *crickets* I dart my eyes around the room hoping someone will laugh at my hilariousness. Evidently, I should never try and dabble in stand-up comedy. I sit quickly. Too quickly.

The rest of the ladies tell their stories. “I eat and throw up.” “I go to fast food restaurants, order and eat in the parking lot and go through the drive-thru again.” “I binge eat and then take laxatives.” One common theme I hear from every one of them is, “I eat and then feel so guilty!” Wait. Stop right there. Guilty? I have never once ate half a pie and thought, “Wow, that was a bad idea. I wish I could take it back.” My thoughts are more along the lines of, “Should I eat the other half?” The euphoric feeling is unbelievable. I get something from it. I feel fulfilled, satisfied, happy, warm…the list of endless goodie feelers could go on forever! Food gives me more than any man, friend or family member can. I wish that part of my brain didn’t work that way but it does.

We stand up, hold hands in a circle and recite the serenity prayer. I leave feeling sorry that most of these beautiful, oh so beautiful, women feel guilty after their binges. I wish I could be in their shoes. Although as small as they are, I doubt those shoes would fit.  Welp! Guess I’ll head on over to Pizza Hut for a guilt trip.