Watching My Mother Eat

My parents are visiting and I’ve been paying particularly close attention to the way they handle their food. My dad has always been a little plump and has battled his weight ever since I can remember. My mom, on the other hand, is a tiny size 8, down from the size 10 she wore when she got married. Dad says that in the 56 years they’ve been married, she’s only varied about 4 pounds from her current weight except during pregnancy.

I, on the other hand, can vary 4 pounds in a week if I’m not careful. So I’ve been observing how she eats and approaches her food, not to judge or complain that we’re different, but almost as an anthropologist would study a different culture. It’s been interesting.

Balanced PlateShe eats a small breakfast with dairy (usually yogurt), fruit and natural fiber. Usually Mom makes her own bran muffins and has one with a little carton of yogurt. But at my house she’s having steelcut oatmeal with half a banana and a little milk, eating slowly from a small bowl that’s full and putting her spoon down between bites. I don’t know if she’s always done this but I can see that it’s a factor that lets her eat less and spread it out until she’s really satisfied.

Lunch is usually a half a sandwich on low-cal wheat bread and about 2 oz of protein, with a sliced apple and maybe a cookie for dessert. She eats slowly, the food nicely arranged on a small plate, while seated at the table. Unlike her daughter, she eats all her meals at the table with an occasional sandwich outside on the patio. I, on the other hand, eat mine in the recliner with my feet up.

For dinner, she mostly prepares simple meals balanced with unfussy protein, vegetables, and half a potato or sweet potato. And maybe there a small ramekin of low-fat ice cream for dessert, eaten with a small spoon.

That’s it. Simple food, small portions, served on smaller dishes and eaten slowly at a table with almost no snacking. Mom drinks water and her evening glasses of wine but no soda, goes for regular short walks, and gets plenty of sleep. When she eats out for one meal, she cuts back on what she has for the next so they balance out.

She doesn’t sit around and obsess or lament about the things she cannot eat; she can eat anything she wants but makes choices that let her enjoy flavors and foods in a sensible way. And she doesn’t act or talk as though she’s deprived, she simply does the next thing.

Mom does the things that we talk about in Weight Watchers and I’ve heard about for years in behavior modification programs. She doesn’t talk or complain, she just does it and moves on. I think there is a lot for me to learn and emulate here.

7 thoughts on “Watching My Mother Eat

  1. Lori

    I think my mom is the opposite of yours. She will sit and eat daintily and have one tiny teaspoon of something “fattening” but later sit down and scarf down some things. (Hmm. Family traits?)

    Perhaps we should capture some thin people and really watch them. We all know what they do but it’s another thing to actually witness it. Maybe we have to see it to believe it.

    I hope you all are having fun!

  2. Doobiegirl

    I love the way your mother eats, and I appreciate your sharing that. I too, go to WW but I am constantly battling nibbling which is the one thhing that keeps me from being mentally free and physically healthy. It keeps me from eating healthy food in proper portions. It just keeps me counting points for all these abstract foods that i eat. I love your mom’s simplicity in her eating.

  3. Doobiegirl

    I didnt do too badly over the holidays, in fact I did great compared to the years past where I spent many holiday nights feeling sick and food hungover the next few days. This didnt happen this year. I was motivated to eat better this year because of my past experiences, not by my WW meeting. I was simply so afraid of ruining my entire holiday joy with my eating. So I can say that in this way I was very successful. BUT..I owned up to the goodies that I ate by going to my WW meeting yesterday. No games anymore. I weighed in with jeans and gymn shoes. ALSO, I didnt run into the bathroom before my weighin to squeeze out 3 drops of pee pee. Yes, my weight was up 4 pounds including the clothes, but to me, this is one of the ways that I want to be honest with myself. Next week I’ll be wearing the same clothes.

    In being honest with myself, and not wanting to wastes my life away with games, I was laying in bed this morning with some important thoughts. Well yesterday I had planned on going on CORE, it’s pretty much the way I eat anyway. BUT I ended up eating too much, and eating regualr pasta(leftovers out of the pot) that I had cooked for my family, on top of the whole wheat pasta that I had for my own core meal. Well, I just wondered why this particular behavior repeatedly plagues me and keeps me from getting to my goal. This morning I figured out what my greatest influence has been. MY INTERPRETATION of the diet experts telling us that if we fall off the wagon, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up-going off is normal- just start out fresh with the next meal…things like that. Well, those thoughts are all true, but I carried it out too far. In other words, I can see that I’ve been living my diet like that, then expecting to loose weight. Well, I’ve been letting myself fall off everytime there is a goodie in front of me. Goodie meaning anything that wasnt planned and included in my points. This is something that Ive been fooling myself with for so long. Why am I so slow in learning these things? Two years ago I learned that “eat all the veggies you want” doesnt mean that you must eat 2 pounds of veggies daily in order to be healthy. I’m a very smart woman and I dont know why I have taken so long to figure out that good health comes from balanced portions of all foods, including vegetables, AND from sticking to plan.

    So now, I feel that I’m starting out the new year smarter, with the tools that it will take to bring my weight down to what I need to be a healthy woman. No more confusion about it.

    These aren’t amazing revelations, what is amazing is that I really believed that i was following the healthy suggestions given by the professionals.


  4. Good morning! Keaton, here.

    I thought that this was an interesting post and it resembles the way I also eat. I decided to write, thinking that thoughts shared can be helpful.

    Ihave never had a weight problem simply because I am careful about what I eat, and now that Im older, I have to really limit the amounts. I eat for health and well being, not to fill myself. I eat good food in amounts that will benefit me and my day. It’s not very tricky, though. I stick to the recommended : 2 dairy, 5-6 fruit and veggies, protein, fiber, whole grains, and plenty of water. No, I dont carry water everywhere I go. I need to be near a bathroom. I drink most of my water while Im at home. Besides, its a pain carrying a water bottle everywhere. If I get thirsty while Im out, water is easy to find. I dont pick and nibble on food that Im cooking for my family. My mother did most of her eating from everywhere but her own plate. I used to watch her and wish that she would wait and eat with us. She usually sat at the table with out food. I felt like she was separated from us when she did that. Needless to say, she was extremely heavy. So by watching my mother eat, I learned what I dont want to do. The other thing I dont do, is to take large amounts, or seconds. I have nice servings on my plate and stick to that. I usually eat differently from the two men in my life. I lcook for me, hubby, and dad. I give them the more beefy, heavy foods(not that they need it either), and I treat myself to lighter foods. So we all have what makes us feel good.

    So, what Im saying, is that these are choices that make me feel good. To do otherwise, will make me feel full, weighed down, depressed, and as though I treated myself badly. The same feeling that I would get if I slapped a child across the face for asking me for a kiss. I enjoy treating myself well, I feel joy from each act of kindness that I give myself. I will never be nasty to myself. Food and exercise are just a couple of the ways that Im good to myself. I also have a good balance between work outside the home, inside thehome, hobbies, friends (not very many anymore) travel plans, etc. I love my self, my family, my friends, and my life.

  5. Keaton, again,

    I forgot to mention hunger. Do I get hungry? Hell yes! I welcome hunger because it means that everythhing is working properly. I would rather feel a little need for food, than to have had too much. If I get really hungry between a meal, I’ll have an apple and water, a V8, or some carrots. Things like that. Then I havent eaten so much that Ill spoil my next meal.

    Have a good day !!!!!111

  6. I had a light come on in my head this morning, and I dont think that it was a stroke.

    Well, Ive been preparing for yoga training beginning in October, and one of the things that Ive been working on (very unsuccessfully) is to lose 25 pounds. Ive had plenty of time and opportunity to have lost most of it by the time p I decided on the schooling, and now. But…I haven’t lost a single pound. I loose a llittle, then overeat. In the meantime, October is approaching. Anyway, I keep telling myself and others that if this weight isnt off by Oct., Im going to postpone enrollment until the next session in March. Well, I know that I have time to get rid of most of this weight if I put my mind to it.

    Ok, so my daughter was over this morning and she told me that one of the people she works with is also working for a community center and she’s in charge of putting together programs. My daughter told her about me taking the yoga schooling and this woman was so excited because she knows me, and wants to reserve a position for yoga classes that I would be instructing!!!Needless to say, I was delirious with joy when I heard that. But guess what. As soon as my daughter left, what do you think I did. I STARTED EATING, EATING, EATING. Well, let me tell you, this was the first time I realized that I’ve been sabotaging my future with food. I would never think that I would do anything like that, but this just faced me head on! I’ve been so good at fooling myself, when all along I thought that Ive been very honest with myself. I’ve been learning other things about myself lately that have made me see that I haven’t been very honest with myself, but this is a new one and a huge one. Now I just have to work my way out of this.

  7. Me again.

    I’m working on why Ive been sabotaging myself.
    protected from adult expectations
    keeps me from responsible behavior & for taking responsibility for my future
    reliant on the success of others
    layed back
    casual attitude about things
    available to others
    nonsexual to my undersexed husband

    I’ts unreasonable to expect to wait until the next meal
    It’s unreasonable to expect to be hungry
    I need to evaluate the flavors in the dish
    I’ll never have a chance to eat that morsel again
    I can’t waste this opportunity to eat privately
    I can’t waste this opportunity to eat this thing
    I need to bolster myself
    I’ll get myself together after I eat this
    I deserve to eat this goodie

    I clearly make a lot of excuses to eat when Im actually hiding from my life as a thin person.

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