Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's not really a "happy" plate

If there is one thing I've learned, this journey is all about overcoming mental challenges, changing habits and ways of thinking.  When I'm able to change those things, the rest follows.

Growing up, when I ate at my grandparents house, we were forced to finish our plates.  Nannie (my grandmother) called it making a "happy plate", and if we didn't, we were in a lot of trouble.  Leaving the table without finishing your food literally had consequences.  As a result, all of my adult life, I have done this.  In fact, I have always noticed a difference between my plate and others... my plate was really always clean when I finished eating.  No morsels to put in the garbage disposal or trash, usually nothing to rinse off before putting in the dishwasher. 

This has been an incredibly hard habit to break.  When I eat at home, I'm usually okay, because I just put a lot less on my plate and am able to finish it.  When I eat at a restaurant, this is much harder.  I know it sounds dumb, but it is just really hard to leave food on a plate.  If there's enough food to take home, that's okay, I don't feel like I'm being wasteful.  But since I often order from the kid's menu these days, sometimes it's just a few bites left and I feel GUILTY for leaving it!

I promise myself that when I have kids, I will never force them to eat after they say they are full.  I think as a kid this was my family trying to teach the kids not to put too much on our plates, but in the end, it didn't work out that way...  It was conditioning me to overeat.  I'm not blaming this for my obesity, but I'm sure it hasn't helped.  My 'sisters" grew up in the "happy plate" household too, and neither of them have ever struggled with their weight.  There is something to be said for having different genetics.

Here's a picture with my sisters last year in May, at my heaviest weight of 344.  I CANNOT WAIT to re-make this picture with a skinnier me!

8 comments:

  1. When I was growing up - we were told to eat all the food on our plates because there were children starving in China. (I think the next generation was told that there were children starving in Africa)

    I still struggle with the "Happy Plate" too!

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    1. Yes, I still imagine African children that are nothing but skin and bones when I leave food on my plate...

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    2. I've had this exact same problem, though I'm getting better about it. And it's actually helped that I'm not trying to pass this on to my kid. He's always allowed to say that he's full and leave the table, regardless of whether there's food left on his plate. I always remind my husband that wasting food isn't desirable, but whether or not we eat that food has no effect on the starving children in other countries. Since it's not like we can mail them our leftovers.

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  2. The opposite was true for me. I was shamed by adults in my life for my weight and my food choices... which drove me to eat in secret.

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    1. This also happened to me, but much later in life. I was told to eat more in elementary, then shamed in high school.

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  3. I have the same problem and I've also vowed to never force my kids to eat all their food. Got to break the vicious cycle!!

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  4. I love pictures! They are the best way to see our progress, especially when the scale isn't being very kind to us! I'm sure your next sister picture will make you smile!

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  5. Ha, I do the same thing, and for the same reasons. You're right about changing the way you think about things...you can take all the advice people give you and try as hard as you can, but until you change your relationship with food and learn from your past behaviors, it will always be a battle. You're doing so well! Thanks for always motivating me :)

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