Choices

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Prologue:
I have serious food issues.
My 18 year old son is on the spectrum.
I’m not fat but I would like to drop 15(ish) pounds.

The Story:
On the Monday after National Over Eating Day Thanksgiving, the hubster and I decided enough was enough. We jointly decided we would stop feeding our emotions and retreated to our respective dietary corners.

This is brutally difficult for both of us. It’s harder for him because he’s doing the no carb thing. I’m doing restricted calories. I can eat whatever I want as long as I keep my daily calories between 750 and 800 per day.

I hate it. I desperately try to keep my misery under wraps for the first few weeks. It’s been my experience that once the scale starts reflecting my efforts, I have a slightly easier time. I no longer feel the urge to violently slap people who have the audacity to talk about junk food delicacies in my presence. (That was not an oxymoron. Shut up.)

My son does his own grocery shopping. (This is related. I promise.) In my effort to teach him life skills, he drafts his shopping list, I give him money, and he takes the bus down the street to the market for his groceries. He’s a very sweet young man who frequently asks if there is anything he can do/get/help with/cook.

Last week, a few excruciatingly painful days into calorie counting, the little man came back from the market. “Mom, I got you a treat.” I replied with my standard. “Oh, thanks Buddy.” Only half paying attention, in the way that busy Moms do. Next thing I know, he plops a plated danish in front of me on my desk, perfectly heated just the way I like it, accompanied by a pristine napkin. So incredibly proud of himself. So very happy to have done this random act of kindness. I wanted to cry … and not the good kind.

Well, fuck. I thought to myself. I was doing so well! Then I ate it. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I figured it wouldn’t happen again anytime soon. I logged the calories and had an itty bitty dinner so I wouldn’t go over my allotment.

Today I came back from running errands and there was a cinnamon bun on my desk, perfectly heated. The boy was nowhere to be found. What the hell? Did he hear me pull up in the driveway??  I knew I was going to have to say something. I really didn’t want to hurt his feelings but I couldn’t keep eating this manna from heaven crap and starving myself at night to compensate.

Tonight I told him he has to stop and I explained why. He had a hard time with it. His disability manifests primarily in social interaction so I wasn’t surprised.

“But Mom, I want to be nice to you. How can I be nice to you if I don’t buy you a treat?”

You know how your child will say something to you and *snap* just like that, you feel like a failure as a parent? Yeah, this was like that. Ouch. Seriously, that hurt. We don’t reward with food in this house. (Except for those hidden snacks after the boy is in bed but that doesn’t count.) Never once have I said “Bud, you did such a great job! Let’s go get you some McDonald’s.” Where the hell does he get this stuff?

“Bud, you don’t have to buy me something to be nice to me.”

Thereafter followed a lengthy conversation about how to “be nice” without spending money.

Sheesh. I really thought I had done a better job than that.

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