PDA and healthy eating.

Healthy eating, it’s something we think about daily.

Everything that’s good for us seems to come in the shape of a demand.

  • Going to school can get us a decent education which can lead to a better job – a demand given to us from society.
  • Getting dressed, washing, grooming ourselves – a demand from our families, friends and society.
  • Healthy eating – demand from society.
  • Exercise – society.
  • Cleaning and tidying our homes – society.

See a pattern.

There’s no:

  • Eat lots of chocolate – demand from anyone.
  • Lay in bed till midday – demand from anyone.
  • Watch TV while refusing to move – demand from anyone.
  • Pursue hobbies instead of going to school – demand from anyone.

Life’s not fair.

Someone once said to me that life would be so much easier if all the things that are good for us were fun to do, and that was from a non-pda-er.

Now I’m moaning.

But while for others these demands are a nuisance, for PDA people they become demands that, no matter how badly we want to do them, they are avoided.

Which brings me back to my title – healthy eating.

Like I said, this is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Every day I eat 3 whole meals and several snacks. The fact that my partner does most of the cooking probably contributes to why I don’t live on biscuits and somehow manage to eat regularly (and somewhat healthily). I think I may have led him down the path of temptation though as we eat far too many unhealthy food stuffs such as chocolate. Ironically though, the more chocolate and unhealthy stuff he buys the less I eat of it. That’s become a demand too.

When you have a busy family and kids running around, getting under your feet, it can become easy to become lax in the healthy eating department. You just don’t have the time or energy anymore.

Back before my family included lots of kids and another adult, I varied between living on biscuits and being the healthiest person on the planet. Food and mealtimes become too big a demand that I avoided them completely, living on snacks with no real order. The demand to cook and eat healthy would drop with my mood (probably due to bad diet) and I would get the urge (followed by real motivation 😮 ) to eat healthily. I’d buy lots of fresh fruit and veg, cook my own meals, eat 3 meals a day with healthy snacks like rice cakes and yogurt with fruit, I’d drink water and fruit juice. This would last for a few weeks, before the demand avoidance reared it’s ugly head again. I’d find myself wanting to cook but being unable to get up and do so. Several times I’d enter the kitchen with the intention of making a fabulous meal but it’s like my body became frozen, I couldn’t do it. I’d end up not eating at all because I wanted to eat good stuff but couldn’t and I refused to just binge on unhealthy snacks. Eventually the hunger would become too much and I’d cave (bad me! I know). I’d go for weeks unable to eat anything healthy, before I’d give up and commit myself to a life of fatty foods. Then the cycle would start all over again.

Now I know better. Now I know what the problem is. Demand avoidance.

My partner does the cooking which takes the demand away. So when I get the urge to go all healthy mama, I am able to do so, knowing full well there’s no demand and I can stop whenever I like. Some weeks I cook cottage pie and veg, spaghetti bolognaise with lots of peppers and mushrooms, boeuf bourguignon, soup and many more healthy meals. Other times I let my partner do all the cooking. All in all I say I eat healthily enough, we definitely have a varied diet.

Some days I can’t eat anything as my demand avoidance is too high. If I’m recovering from a meltdown I won’t be able to eat for at least a day, sometimes more. Other days I eat and eat and eat. It’s not the best diet, it could definitely could be better, but I’m already doing the best I can with the skill set I have.

So many families with PDA people find is so difficult to manage mealtime, there’s such a great demand from society to eat regularly and healthily. When we look back into the past, we used to eat when we have food or when we were hungry. There were no such thing as mealtimes. Sure I’m going back a long time before schools and timepieces were invented, but I believe that the human body was created to eat when food was available. We can go for up to a week without eating before health implications start to become a problem. 3 meals a day with 2 snacks is a relatively new thing and for most people it’s not a problem. For PDA people though, it can be a veritable battleground.

My advice is, relax. If your PDA person doesn’t eat every meal it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes forcing the issue can make the whole thing worse. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take a step back and let the person’s natural instinct kick in. And if necessary, stop buying so many biscuits. (I’m a lazy person, if the food isn’t in the house for me to eat then I won’t eat it. Sometimes the key to healthy eating is all in the shopping 😉 )

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