The Feeding Doctor on Pinterest

reality bites, why not forbidding “forbidden foods” works

Posted by on Jun 8, 2010 in Blog Posts | 13 comments

As a child, my parents were pretty strict about all things “crap,” from Barbies to food. I have vivid memories of begging FOR YEARS for a slushie. You know, those neon red frozen concoctions. While my friends had Shirley Temples or enjoyed slushies poolside, I coveted and whined. I don’t remember my first one, so it couldn’t have been that great…

Similarly, I remember a vacation in the New Hampshire mountains with relatives who taught at the ski school. I begged for a giant red sucker ALL WEEK. I finally got it, and it was gross. Plain disappointing. I was so embarrassed, and knew my parents would turn it into a lesson of, “We’re never getting you crap again,” that I ate most of it, ditching the last bit in a snow bank.
Today M and I were at the mall returning some fancy Stride-rites that had broken after 6 weeks and she started whining for a gumball. “Not now,” I said, maybe next time. We passed the machines again and the whining began. “OK, we’ll come back after lunch.” We had a lovely lunch, and she got a grape gum-ball for dessert with her allowance money. She chewed it, made a face and said, “I thought it would taste better.” She chewed a few minutes longer and then spit it out. “I’m sorry it wasn’t as good as you hoped.” She said she’d try cherry next time. Fine by me.
She has tried and been able to make an honest appraisal (she didn’t like or finish) a chocolate and-sprinkle-covered donut, a pink frosted cookie at the school picnic, several kinds of candy from Regina’s candy store, Oreos (Paul Newman-Os,) and s’mores. She recently handed over a half-eaten Rice Krispie treat, and even a half-finished ice cream cone, just because she was “full.” (Would NOT have stopped me as a kid!)
Allowing children to have access on a fairly regular basis to sweets and treats within the structure of family meals and snacks, presented in a pleasant and neutral way with a variety of other great foods takes their power away. I deal with less whining, I trust her to eat something because it tastes good to her, not because she has to prove a point or craves something that is overly controlled.
Do you have any memories of forbidden fruits not living up to the hype? Foods? Experiences as well? That NKOTB concert you begged to go to? The perm you wanted? Sex?
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

13 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Shelly

    Honestly I have been coming to terms with my body and overall health from many of the FA sites around the internet. Well Rounded Mama, The Rotund, and bfdblog are among them. I think once I started realizing that body size and love weren't mutually exclusive I was able to start looking at my food habits and knocking then out. I recently learned that my fibromyalgia could be linked to hypothyroidism. I have always been told I was "borderline" so I went a new OB/GYN who isn't a "Fat Nazi" and he sent me for a function test. I am glad to know that I dont need to feel guilty about my size and even happier to find sites like yours that discuss healthy eating and genetic sizing.

    My wonderful, supportive and young husband has been my most helpful resource. Although I am really loving this blog as I get my body ready to dip my toes into motherhood. Passing on my poor eating habits was a big fear of mine. Thank you for all you do!

  2. familyfeedingdynamics

    No fair. Glad you are healing from some crummy feeding practices. Thanks for sharing how forbidding foods increased your desire to eat them. I'm glad you are making progress. Good luck! May I ask what resources are helping you along? What are you finding most helpful?

  3. Shelly

    I grew up in a house that always had a full bread drawer of assorted cookies and a counter corner full of Entenmann's treats. My mother, who was always on some sort of "startvation" diet, would know exactly how many Oreos, Chips Ahoy, or cupcakes there were. If I were found to be eating it I would hear the lecture of "You dont need to be eating those, you're brother is the only one in this house who can afford to eat those things!!"

    I always wondered why one kid needed 4 different kinds of cookies and 3 different cakes and pastries while the rest of us were forbidden from them. To this day I have a really hard time with cookies or cakes in my house. As I have gotten older it seems to have gotten a bit better and now that I am with someone who never judges me about how much or what I eat, I feel less of a desire to binge on them.

    Even still my preferred method of indulging in some cookies is to do it alone with no one watching me. I am a work in progress :)

  4. the Smart Bohemian

    Can I just say that that NKOTB concert was fantastic and fulfilled all my tweenage hopes and dreams?

    My mother refused to buy sugared cereals, so one day at my aunt's house I ate an entire box of Batman cereal. Batman cereal has to be the most disgusting cereal ever invented. It tasted like sugar-encrusted bats. And yet I ate it until I was sick, because when was I going to get the chance to eat sugared cereal again?

  5. familyfeedingdynamics

    Heidi,
    I LOVE this story! It is great. Same for me with Coke. I craved it, and now occasionally still enjoy it, but mostly don't even want it anymore and kind of miss that! This is so important when we think of "food addiction" and "cravings" that we remember that a key ingredient to the desire, and the charm of the forbidden food is the fact that it is FORBIDDEN! Yay readers!

  6. Heidi

    When I first read "Overcoming Overeating" which promotes stocking up on formerly forbidden foods, I remember stocking up on Kraft Dinner, which I never let myself eat in my diet days but was a much loved food as a child, mixed with tuna and peas.

    I was so, so sad when I realized that *it just didn't taste good.* I'd denied it to myself because of calorie counts for years and, suddenly, now that I could have it, it just didn't taste good like it did when I was a kid (and less sensitive to chemical flavors, apparently).

  7. familyfeedingdynamics

    Kate, good for you! it is a process. Always be forgiving and curious with yourself. I have no "forbidden" foods, and sometimes eat more, and sometimes less. It too was a revelation to me when I had the bag of mini-Snickers in the house for weeks… It is confidence building, and wonderful to pause and build that trust in yourself and your own appetites. Wonderful!

  8. familyfeedingdynamics

    Michellers, isn't it amazing to see them stop half way through a treat, especially when we ourselves have so much trouble with that! What an inspiration!

  9. familyfeedingdynamics

    Dawn, Bummer. Sorry it was so hard core. Your experience is common I'm afraid, and becoming more common with the obesity hysteria. (A case of creating the very outcome we fear most!) When we as adults struggle, it is a great tactic to have the partner who is more capable handle that area while working on our own issues. (I know I had to step back when potty training got difficult and let my husband take the lead. I'm sure it won't be the last time…) Good for you for figuring that out, and trusting that your experience wasn't great and recognizing that. I highly recommend Intuitive Eating (Tribole) and importantly, a book called, Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family (Satter) which is more of the application and real-world way forward with kids. If your kids are older, you can be frank about what hasn't been working, and tell them you will be changing how you do things. Keep practicing, and I hope you will be inspired by some of the other readers! Good luck! (It took me awhile to figure it out too, and I was immersed in it!)

  10. Kate

    I am just now un-forbidding foods and it's been really freeing. One of my trigger foods for binging was M&Ms because my mom always kept them hidden. But a few weeks ago, I bought a bag for cookies and the rest stayed in the pantry occasionaly I'll grab a handful with a meal, but they are still sitting there. Same with some oreos that were used to mix in with homemade ice cream.

    I'm definitely still practicing, but I'm getting better at it.

  11. rsmr

    Such a brilliant post!

    My mom was always on a diet as so us kids were, too. I used to sneak packets of hot chocolate mix and eat them with a spoon because I was so desperate for a sweet treat. Did anyone else attempt to eat a spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder? What a shock.

    I try with my daughter to provide a dessert almost every night at dinner Maybe it's fruit, maybe it's a piece of pie or a homemade cookie, it varies. Sometimes she wants to eat the dessert with dinner, will eat the whole thing and then go back to her meal. And sometimes, she doesn't eat the whole serving of dessert–will leave the rest of it untouched on her plate. Now that's a REAL shock to me.

    Funny, my daugher has experienced the same disappointment with gumballs. And Shirley Temples.

    -Michellers

  12. professional daydreamer

    I'd binge pretty consistently on anything "hidden" on a high shelf. Even if it made me sick, I would eat it all. I only began learning to prevent most binging by un-forbidding things in my early 20s.

  13. Dawn

    I have nothing BUT memories of forbidden foods. My mom was so hardcore about it that my sister used to eat brown sugar with a spoon and drink karo syrup straight from the bottle. All three of us have trouble managing our sugar intake now as an adults and I have a very very very very hard time letting my kids be. For me, this is something I am PRACTICING but often failing at. My husband has access the way your daughter does and he is so laid back about it. I try to let him do the deciding but I've screwed up enough that my kids definitely have issues with "forbidden" food. What I need to figure out is how to dial it back and give them a chance to figure it out.