Adulting, Healthy Lifestyle, Independence

Adulting: Food Aversion, Choice and Control

For the Christmas Holiday reviewing the daily autism articles that I share to my Twitter and Facebook daily along with my weekly e-blast, I have come across many stories on food aversion. I still as a 35-year-old autistic man can still attest to having food aversion and will likely avert to foods that are my “normal” even though they may not seem as normal to neurotypicals.

As a child growing up, I had a limited palate of food that I would eat, partly because I was diagnosed with ADHD as a schoolchild and was heavily dosed with Ritalin, which would make me what my family would call anorexic. There would be times in primary school in lunch where I would want to throw my whole food tray away. The lunch monitors would give my food away to other peers as there were many who wanted it and they thought it would do better to them than the garbage can. What I did eat was very limited. When we would go out to eat it would mostly be finger food but likely a grilled cheese and fries and sometimes Macaroni and Cheese. Also, when I was in the psych hospital 20 years ago, I remember sticking to a very tight food palate, because I could with control of picking the menu of what I wanted.

At home with my parents, in the younger years my parents are both excellent cooks and made excellent meals that would satisfy any child, it wasn’t until after being off the Ritalin after elementary school that I would start enjoying the food  and I would be then placed on the medication that I am on today after receiving my Autism Diagnosis at 13. In the course of 22 years I have gained almost 200 pounds to a weight I am not proud of. I know I need to eat healthier, but the foods that I want and can tolerate are usually those that take minimal effort and are pre-packaged and don’t require a lot of work to be made and satisfy my taste and bely, so I continue to buy those foods time and time again.

It’s not that I can’t cook, in fact when I do it, I do it very well that I do enjoy it allot. Even since moving to this present location, I tolerate the cleanup better than I did before. I don’t know whether it’s a better kitchen setup or what it is, it just seems to work better all around. Over time, I have been exposed to many foods and I have taken many home economics courses in my school career. I am just that, lazy or too over caring if dinner will turn out right, etc. Yes, being on my own gives the freedom and power to order what I want from the grocery store. Do I want to lose weight and eat better in 2021? You bet I do! I know that I indeed have to put in the effort to eat better as it cannot simply come in the method of just microwaving something. If I want to eat good, and exercise well, then I have to put in the effort it takes. The pounds will not come off like magic each and every night unless I do the work required to get them off.

The foods I like to avert to, while simple, are filled with fats and carbs and are in no wats a menial sort of nutrition that is helpful in any way. I do not have a good metabolism to where it simply comes off…I have to work it off and in my 14 years of being in a simple weight loss program know what I have to eat and how to work towards moving more. I have spent many Monday nights in my church basement learning about tools of the weight loss trade and what it takes to get it off. I cannot make the excuses any more by saying I do not have the freedom to eat healthy foods, when in fact I do have that choice and no one is holding a weapon to my head as I shove those foods that give me pleasure in my mouth, when in fact I know what I need to do to lose weight, yes it takes getting out of the comfort zone and doing things that aren’t normal like firing up the stove and making something that takes a little more work than just popping a frozen tray in the microwave, I have that stuff for days when I don’t have a lot of time or when I walk more and can use those foods then. But, if I am just sitting around here and have a few hours, then by all means get what I need and make the darn meal. Because my body will like it and my mother and father have been making these foods for a reason, because they have nutrients and they are helpful to my body and take care of it.

Also, I should note that two of my medicines cause appetite issues and therefore there are times when I want to reach out and eat everything in sight without being considerate to others or the future. Being on your own makes you not be in judgement of what others think or have to say because you have the freedom to eat whatever you want without anyone yelling at you for doing it or acknowledging that you have really had enough when you think you haven’t. Another part of living independently is accepting the fact that you can throw food away or save it for later and that you don’t have to be a member of the “clean plate club” as I have been told to in the past. A lot of older style families or families with limited budgets struggle with getting a bang for their buck and when one, especially an autistic averts the food plan by either overeating or leaving food wastes, this can frustrate the one caring for them. It’s a catch 22 situation that is a constant battle as it was when I lived with my parents. I had one parent that insisted eating and one who wanted me to eat light. Same with sugary product, one never had it in his life the other was OK as long as it was what SHE approved, while looking for my health, as many those in charge of caring for autistics often face.

I do realize it could’ve gotten to the point they could have locked the refrigerator and in fact some autistic parents have to result in that feature. Especially in my adolescent and adult years I didn’t have a care for what others wanted in the kitchen, this was especially true for the sugary drinks and the foods that I still avert to on a frequent basis. I know it needs to stop being that way. Today while at the local grocery store with my mom, she was looking at a two-liter bottle of diet soda that she liked. I reminded her that it was OK for her to buy it because I wouldn’t drink it all like I used to, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off her face at that moment.

These are some of the reasons that 2021 needs to be a year in change, especially in the weight department. I had my freedom before the holidays with eating the foods and drinks that were bad for me. This is the time to change, I fear for my health or that I will not be alive to see the next day. My Weight has gotten to an unnatural state and I need to address it before I cannot do so.

2021 must be a year of change.

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