Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I'm one day into measuring foods, looking at labels and learning about servings sizes and already I've learned a very valuable lesson: I get pissed off very easily.
My husband always jokes about my temper. On occasion I'll be sitting on the couch and he'll throw a sock at me. Unlike most people who might go through steps at having a sock thrown at them, I skip a few. I slide right through confusion ("Was that a sock?"), quickly run through curiosity ("Why would you throw a sock?"), and I even leap over anger ("You suck.") and I go straight into redhead fury ("What the !@#$!"). And then we proceed into a battle where socks are launched across the room at blinding speeds toward one another until he surrenders or I realise that I'm touching dirty socks and I don't know who they belong to anymore.
Something similar happened yesterday as I went into the kitchen to make myself food. I looked at the labels of everything I wanted to eat. "Ramen has two servings in one package?! It normally takes two packages just to fill me up!" "Wait... how are five meatballs one serving?" "Are you kidding me?! One and a fourth of a cup of cereal is supposed to equal breakfast?!" Straight into the fury.
But I'm not angry at the servings. It's not their fault. It's the fact that I've been going to restaurants my whole life where I've been taught what servings mean, in restaurant language. We all have heard that in America the serving sizes in restaurants are at least double, sometimes all the way up to five times the serving size around the globe. We like things big. We like more of a good thing, and sometimes, too much of it. We pride ourselves on getting our moneys worth. Being poor growing up did not help my cause. When we were able to afford eating out, we often went to buffets and my siblings and I would hear, "Alright, get your moneys worth." Which to us meant that if we didn't eat until we were bursting at the seams, we were being wasteful.
Likewise, when I learned how to cook for myself and my husband, I would make recipes using all of the can, box, bag, etc that whatever ingredient came with. When making spaghetti it only seemed natural to use all of the pasta in the bag. After all, that's how I saw everyone else doing it. So when it came time to eat dinner, portions were skewed. Sure sometimes we would have leftovers, but if the food was good we would often say, "Is there enough for seconds?" never wondering how many servings we've already eaten in one sitting already. Even if I was full, sometimes looking at the massive amount of leftovers, my brain would think, "If you don't eat it now, it will go bad and that's wasteful."
So as per Charlie's instructions, I observed yesterday, but did not change. At least for one day. And I realised that as far as labels go, I'm eating twice as much as I should be. Twice the cereal, twice the soup, hell, even twice the Subway sandwiches!
This is why dieters fail so often. Because diets tell you how much everyone should be eating. Not just to lose weight, but to survive (and thrive), and because we're all so indoctrinated in our youth to not be wasteful, to eat what's on our plates and what we're given, our bodies get used to overeating without even realizing that we're overeating to begin with!
I'm officially moving to France.