Peggy, Week 3: Learning to Feel (Not Feed) My Feelings

peggy avagliano

Family Circle has its own ideas about who wins the challenges–and I am sure the first challenge went to the other family. But winning has little to do with any prizes for me. All I want is to give my family one thing I have not been able to provide until now: healthy habits.

I grew up in a typical Catholic family in NJ. Although I have fewer siblings than most Catholic families of my generation–I am one of three children–my three grandmothers also lived with us. Growing up with three generations in one household taught me life lessons I would not trade for the winning numbers in this week’s Megamillions jackpot. But one of those lessons was unhealthy eating.

Grandma Webb baked comfort food: fresh bread and homemade apple pies. She was an amazing cook, but she grew up with a turn of the last century cookbook, which told you to add lard to the skillet when cooking ground beef. She taught me that pastries taste best when made with Crisco and everything is more delicious with a little butter.

Grandma Webb and Grandma Kline liked to argue. The arguments often extended to the kitchen, with dessert challenges. Although Grandma Webb was by far the best cook, Grandma Kline had a few awesome desserts of her own. My favorite was homemade chocolate fudge. Whenever they argued, they would typically try to get everyone else in the house to decide who was right, and they bought your vote by making desserts. Which is better: homemade apple pie or chocolate fudge? In their minds, we voted with our choice in dessert. The only sane choice: choose both!

If I had bad day at school, one of my grandmothers would make cookies. If I had a great day, we’d celebrate with cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I have an amazing family, and they are responsible for all the success I have in my life today;. However, the lesson I learned about food is that food is the way we celebrate and the way we get through bad events.

Growing up, the life lesson learned was to feed my feelings. Now, I have to learn to feel my feelings, not to feed my feelings.

Fast forward to today. We were sitting on the couch watching TV. Typically, we eat chips, popcorn or ice cream while watching TV. Tonight, Amanda had sliced apple with melted chocolate and peanut butter on top. Michael made himself a berry yogurt smoothie, and Peter was eating celery and carrots with peanut butter.

We may not win a single challenge, but this is a win to me.

Have you also had to learn to stop feeding your feelings? Share in the comments below.