I am in my 60th year, weigh 137 pounds, am 5 feet 6-1/2 inches tall, and have not had a weight control problem in years. A good friend looked at me one day and said to the person next to her, "She's been that way for as long as I've known her." (35 years) She sounded somewhere between exasperated, resentful, and mystified. It occurred to me that I might share just exactly what I do to stay this way, and a lot of that has to do with how I treat food. This post is going to cover mostly how I don't eat any more.
I grew up in a family that had a bounteous spread on the table every meal. We were taught several things about eating. First, you must not waste food. Second, you must eat everything on your plate. Third, you must never complain about food. These rules are not bad if put in the right context. However, they can be deadly to your weight if taken the way I was taught.
You must not waste food. Generally we did not throw out food that was still edible. It returned as leftovers or as an ingredient in a new dish. However, if there as just a dab of something left, the question was, "Who is going to finish that off?" It was practically criminal to put a tiny bit of leftovers into the fridge for another time. Finishing things off is a dangerous habit to get into, since those little dabs, if eaten dutifully to avoid wasting the food, add up to a substantial amount of calories. The only food these days that I finish off is salad or plain vegetables, and even then, they often go into a plastic tub and are enjoyed the next day in my lunch.
You must eat everything on your plate. If you do the dishing up on your own plate, then taking only the amount you should eat is best. However, as a kid, our plates were often loaded by a parent who decided how much was the right amount to eat. Kids' appetites change drastically depending on whether or not they are having a growth spurt. By being forced to eat everything on my plate, I was taught to overeat, to eat till it hurt, and that leaving things on my plate was a cardinal sin. I don't recall the line, "People are starving in China" used on me, but that logic never seemed to make sense, as if my eating something in America could do anything to help people in China. That line basically feeds into the idea of ingratitude, which is part of the next rule.
You must never complain about food. I don't. Food, especially ample amounts of high quality, is not something to complain about. Portion size is a different matter. So is pickiness. I am not a picky eater--I can eat whatever is served because I was not allowed to complain. But I did need to learn to recognize that it is OK to state preferences, and that is not the same thing as complaining. Being able to state preferences allows you to customize your food to your maximum pleasure. If you can do it without putting anybody to much trouble, you may do a better job of eating sensibly. For example, if someone is serving up grilled hotdogs, can you ask if you can have your hotdog without a bun? When I was growing up, that simple request was not allowed, so I had to eat the bun, even though it was nutrition-less, spongy white bread that only served as a holder for the real food.
Enough for this post. Eating is complicated, and how I eat has changed a lot over the years. I hope this and future posts are helpful to someone.