My dad loves food. Like, loves it. He has encouraged this same love for food in our family by cooking us meals and taking us out to fancy, unique, and cultural restaurants. Thus, going on my raw diet and eventually telling him about my eating disorder probably wasn’t his idea of a fun relationship with food with his daughter.
But, my dad has prevailed. Our relationship is still strong, if not stronger–and it is thanks to him and his support. I have every reason to celebrate this wonder Father’s Day with him, but since he is out of town today, the blog will have to do–as well as a nice phone call this afternoon.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Our relationship is a great one. No wait, it’s fantastic. But the eating disorder stuff? He doesn’t get it. He tries, I’ll give you that—he certainly tries. But it is no easy task. I had a long conversation with him about it last summer, in fact, which didn’t particularly get us much anywhere, but it was a good effort on his part and a good way for me to practice being more open with him about it.
Eating disorders are just simply tricky if you haven’t experienced it yourself. Before I even had an eating disorder I viewed it as a selfish, self-absorbed act. I even thought people with eating disorders were just lazy and were going the “easy” way out by purging or just being “stupid” for not eating enough. Why couldn’t they just eat healthy food and exercise?
Eating the bed? My dad has a good sense of humor.
My dad has always encouraged our family to eat heartily growing up. He encouraged us to eat slowly and enjoy our food, had us sit together as a family for dinner each night, and never said no to going out to eat. He made it something of a contest between my sister and I to see who would choose to try the “new” food at the table—and whoever did, received praise. He also encouraged us to help him cook dinner, cooking up dishes like pasta with tomato and cheese sauce, angel-hair pasta with chicken, broccoli, and carrots, or chicken with vegetables and biscuits.
“Is this a good food or bad food?” my sister and I would ask our parents.
“Anything is bad if you eat too much of it,” they’d say. “Everything in moderation.”
Ah, everything in moderation—my dad’s life quote. Even as I dove into my fruit diet later on, my dad continued to preach moderation. “Cafeteria style,” he calls it—a little bit of this and a little bit of that to enjoy life. This, I feel, has made him a healthy man. While he may not eat all of the healthiest foods, his healthy mindset, healthy portions, and love for food keeps him healthier than anyone with the “purest” diet. This, I believe, shows the importance of having a healthy mentality with food that I never understood or believed in until now.
My dad means the world to me—and I hope he knows and understands that even through the struggle these past few years. It has been difficult to connect with him and help him to understand the eating disorder, but at the same time he makes an effort to understand and that’s all that matters to me. He has always been there to support and love me, and sometimes that’s just all I need.