What has Bambi’s mum being shot dead by a hunter and Simba’s dads paw slipping from his hold into a stampeding herd of cattle got to do with obesity?
I was brought up onDisneyland. I watched it every Sunday night with a roast chicken dinner with my nuclear family in suburbanSydney.
I learnt that:
- Roast potato smells good
- When I grew up, everything would be alright – I learnt Polly-anna-ism
- The good guys always won – I learnt a “just-world” attitude
- I could wish upon a star to get what I wanted – I developed an entitlement attitude
- You get the Prince if you are pretty, good and skinny – I developed a borderline eating disorder and fat phobia
True to middle class 1970’s homophobic, whiteAustraliawe didn’t talk about things like death, mental illness and suicide even though my Uncle was Gay, my mum was chronically depressed and my cat Benny alias “Prince Planet” died.
The truth is, Disney does not reflect reality and my parents didn’t teach me the skills to cope with uncomfortable feelings. Come to think of it, I haven’t taught my kids either.
Comfort eating is a ‘maladaptive coping strategy’ like gambling, workaholism and over-exercising. Eat-to-cope is highly visible. The other compensatory behaviours can be hidden or even admired.
What happens in our childhood shapes us through conditioning. Consider the meaning you gleaned from the books and movies you read/watched as a kid. Is there a reflection in your current attitudes and habits as an adult, in particular in regards to your identity, taboos and eating habits? It is not only people and places that influence our attitudes. Willy Wonka could too.
Mandy, COC Dietitian.