Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why I Ate What I Ate

(Today's post runs a bit long, but I hope it can be informative to others in some way.)

Okay, I sense that some of you are shocked at my food list yesterday, which showed the types of foods that I would often choose, prior to March 1st.  That is fine.  The total calories consumed at each meal was indeed huge (especially the lunch and dinner choices offered by most restaurants and fast-food places).  But please notice that my choices don't show 3 Big Macs, mutliple entrees, eating an entire plate of brownies, etc.   I don't judge people that have habits or food addictions that would cause them to order food this way.  It happens and we all have our struggles.  But that was never really my method of overeating. 

My method of over-eating was basically two-fold: 
  1. I was a member of what our mothers use to call the "Clean-Plate Club".  If I ordered a meal in a restaurant, I would finish it there.  At fast food places, I guess I grew up ordering the "combo meals" (burger, fries and a soft-drink).  Since we always drank diet soda in my family, that naturally gave us room to have ice cream or candy.  ;-)   At nicer restaurants, we would order the appetizer and entree...and I would finish the meal.  And often get dessert.  That just doesn't seem unreasonable at first glace, to think that someone would eat the food that is combined into a meal.  So, by choosing what they advertise, I would consume 1,600 - 1,700 for a lunch or dinner.  
  2. I would snack.   Because I love food (and we would always choose diet sodas), we would often have ice cream or candy as snacks.   Others in my family seemed to control this well and not eat excessively, I would even recently snack with ice cream or candy bars.  Again, never checking calorie content.  I just was used to snacking or desserts and they became part of my regular food choices, adding about 450-500 calories at a time.
Sure, I could rail against the fast food joints and the huge portions at restaurants (and yes, I do think that these corporations know exactly how their "combo meals" and menus get us hooked psychologically and physically).  I could rant about how their marketing campaigns tell us that the food is healthy and the portions normal (ever see fat people in fast food commercials?). 

But that is a futile exercise.  I really can't play the "victim" card here when I was the guy paying the money for the food and then putting it in my mouth.  Nutritional information cards have been available in most fast food joints for 10-20 years and all foods at the grocery stores display their nutritional content.  I just chose to ignore it.

 I've felt embarassed and defeated about my weight and health for a few decades now, but never really got serious enough to educate myself and work on this.  Certainly, I've tried gimmicky diets and pre-packaged meal plans from weight loss companies.  But I always knew that those weren't very reasonable or sustainable for long-term health.

I am not entirely without self-control.  I've chosen not to use illegal drugs.  I've chosen not to drink margaritas before I go to work in the morning.  I've chosen not to spend my entire paycheck on movies, toys and vacations.  Eventhough some of these might be fun in the short-term, they are not good for me in the big picture.  So, I exert some self-control and make good choices.   With food, it needs to be the same thing.

My point is this:  shame on me for making the bad choices and not being aware of what I was eating.  

I am awake now.  I am taking control of this and changing my habits, so that I will improve my health now and into the future.


Sean Anderson said...

You're so right my friend. I couldn't have written it better myself. Self-honesty is really the biggest mental element of this entire journey---without it, I believe it's impossible to have lasting success. We are responsible for our choices. Self-honesty---personal responsibility---that's what it's all about.

great post my friend,

Al (losingharry) said...

Great post, Clyde. One thing that drive me nuts is the McDonald's Commercials staring all the Olympic athletes.

I am also of the opinion that I am the one that chose to go there, pay the money and eat the food. I should not blame them for my poor choices...I can only blame myself.

Matty O said...

My wife and I ask for nutrition information wherever we go. We get A LOT of pissed off looks and attitudes from the employees (how dare they make us do something that we think is stupid) but they have to give it at your request.

We also look online prior to going out to dinner or we have calorie tracker applications on our blackberries. Point is, we were not aware what we were putting in our mouths either and now that we are, its actually easy to portion properly.

On a side note, I was the founding member of the clean plate club :)

Keep up the good work, no one gets overweight overnight.

Twice the Man said...

was not shocked here, you and me our food addicts, to those food abusers it may seem excess, but they misunderstand our relationship with food

CinciMom11 said...

Your evidence that you are not completely out of control put a big smile on my face.

Doesn't feel good to be educated about and aware of what you put in your body? I honestly feel enlightened now. Do you have kids? All of this is so important for us to pass on to the next generation.

Your posts are enjoyable.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Great post!!!

CactusFreek said...

This is an awesome post! You are right. How can we clain to be out of control when we chose to do other right things in our lives [like the drugs]
I don't make my kids clean thier plate anymore. In the hope that it won't pass on.

Susietri said...

Well said.