Too often we say "I love you" with food. For some time I've been trying to break that nasty habit in my household, but this way of expressing "I love you" is something that has been done to me, and I've done to other people, for my entire life. And is it just me, or does EVERY celebration have to revolve around food??? Tonight I am committing to ending this behavior once and for all. The trick is figuring out how to quit associating food gifting with love giving. Here's a great example:
Once, my husband brought me home a banana split... smiling from ear to ear. I PANICKED! For a split (pardon the pun) second I FREAKED OUT in my head thinking, "I've eaten a perfectly clean diet all week. I'm in the home stretch. WHY would he do this to me? Can I REALLY turn down a banana split? Will I hurt his feelings by turning it down?" I honestly went through a pretty manic minute and half before asking him, "why did you buy me a banana split?" He understood right away where the conversation was going, "I don't know" he said. To which I responded, "Get rid of it."
Thinking back I WISH I would have responded with, "I do. You were trying to tell me you love me. But banana splits no longer express that. I love to hear you say 'I love you' far more than I love eating banana splits. Unfortunately, I'm associating banana splits with feeling bad and unhealthy." I think if I had not been so panicked and told him the truth of the matter instead of just reacting, the night wouldn't have ended with me going to bed feeling guilty and my husband sitting in front of the TV eating a banana split and, I imagine, feeling rejected.
I'm hoping that sharing this with everyone will help someone else deal with those moments when you feel you just CAN'T say "no thank you". It's hard, but honesty really is the best policy. I guess the key to this particular puzzle is just not to panic. And more importantly, I'm hoping this might inspire others to commit to changing those crazy food associations. Why do we meet everyone for coffee or lunch? Why don't we meet friends for a walk in the park or a class at the gym? I think this year I'm requesting a Frisbee tournament birthday party with build-your-own salads instead of cake.... any thoughts???