“Eating habits are like a mother tongue you learn as a child and never forget.” – Sandra Haber Ph.D.
In High School I took 3 years of Spanish, then I took another year in College. I got good grades, and could read, and even speak a bit in the language, but I was never to a point where I would have considered it a second language. Today and skills I had are lost to lack of use. I may catch the occasional word on a TV show now and again, but nothing worth talking about. My mother tongue is, and always will be English.
Today’s meditation in Weight Watchers Success Every Day. 365 Meditations for Your Weight Loss Journey discusses how the habits we learned in childhood can have an effect on our eating today. I grew up in the late 60s and 70s, and I was taught to eat everything on my plate. Dinner at my house was a predictable mix of foods. There was a mix of cooking styles that she used, and she had a handful of things she made often. If I were to point to one thing about my food habits growing up it would be that we had a routine.
One could guess the day of the week by what was on my plate at dinner. We had a pattern that repeated. We didn’t eat the same thing every week, but over the course of a month or two the pattern would emerge. My mother was a creature of habit. When she used something from the cupboard, that item went on the shopping list to be replaced for the next use. My breakfasts and lunches were no different. I would eat the same cereal, with a cup of hot chocolate every day. She would buy me something relatively healthy, like Raisin Bran, then allow me to sprinkle a spoonful of table sugar on it. For lunch, I would eat the same, nearly exact thing, for an entire school year. Some years it was PB&J, others it was a salami sandwich. Whatever it was, I had it every day.
I am still the same today. Just yesterday a coworker was telling me she was hungry. I asked if she’d had lunch yet, and she hadn’t and was heading to the cafeteria. I had eaten, and before I could tell her what I had, she said “Ham sandwich?” She was, of course, right. One thing that has helped me stay on track has been routine. There are about 10 different things I eat, in various combination, that account for 2/3 of all my meals.
For me, the fact that I thrive on routine is a leftover from my childhood that serves me well. Along the way I have improved on what I eat, and most importantly how much I eat. But, the routines still drive me.
Today I weighed in at 245.6 pounds. That is a 3.2 pound increase from last Friday. I honestly don’t get what happened. I had 1 day where I was off track on my eating, but I didn’t consume 10,500 extra calories that day! For the rest of the week I was on track. I did miss one work out as well. My wife wonders whether my, umm, movements might be in play. And, we did go to our favorite diner last night, so perhaps there was a bit of extra sodium in my system. My guess is it is a combination of all these factors. I am discouraged, but honestly not surprised.
For the week ahead I will continue to work on doing what I know works. Track food, increase exercise. I am in this for the long haul, so a single week isn’t the end of the world.
Bobby-C’s thought for the day..For me, routines are comforting. They allow me to enjoy my life, without having to spend too much time worrying about food decisions. When I follow them well, and watch my portions, I get the results I desire.