On not being fed enough as a child.

This is one of the painful truths of my job: discovering that sometimes children, especially fat kids, or kids whose caregivers suspect they will one day be fat, don’t get fed enough. Sometimes those kids grow up and become my clients.

Sometimes considerable abuse and neglect in other domains comes along with being underfed as child, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes kids grow up in a family system that looks perfectly functional to everyone, even to themselves, that just happens to not meet their most basic needs. Like getting enough to eat.

A lot of kids respond to being underfed by sneaking, stealing, bingeing at a friend’s house. It’s expected. It’s universal. It’s survival.

The unfortunate thing is, they often internalize the idea that these behaviours are proof of moral corruption or badness, or some underlying eating pathology or addiction. It’s not true, but I’ll tell you what is.

If you were one of these kids, you were not bad. You did what you had to do to survive.

I’m glad you did that. I’m glad you’re here.

There is nothing wrong with you. You are not broken or bad. You were born into a world where the people responsible for your well-being failed in one of the most fundamental ways. I don’t know if they were abusive or neglectful or forgetful or just wanted you to lose weight. The bottom line is, they didn’t feed you enough, and that was their fault, not yours.

Eating is a human right, and you’re a human. Even when you’re a kid.

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