Whenever I am grocery shopping, I can’t seem to help myself, I almost involuntarily check out what items are in other shoppers’ carts. I will be walking down the aisle, singing along to the typical supermarket tunes like Sheena Easton’s, “My Baby Take the Morning Train” and I’ll glance over at a passerby’s cart. There may even be silent commentary going on in my head: “I wonder how you prepare jicama,” or “Those avocados are overripe.”
Maybe it’s basic human nature to be curious what other people are eating, as even when I’m dining out, if a server walks by me with a tray full of meals, you can bet I am peeking.
Among my many failed attempts at dieting before I finally shed almost a hundred pounds, I spent a lot of time observing what everyone else seemed to be eating. I remember having work lunches with a skinny co-worker and I swear she would be munching on salami sandwiches with mayonnaise along with a plateful of potato chips while my lunch seemed to consist of a wilted piece of lettuce and a glass of water. Everyone else apparently could eat bagels and cream cheese for breakfast or load up at Chinese food buffets, yet the number on my scale would continue to climb no matter what I seemed to do. I eventually learned that if I was going to have success in losing weight, that I needed to stop comparing the inside of my journey against the outside of everyone else’s.
Recently, I was eating dinner at a local restaurant with my family and I couldn’t help but notice the couple sitting next to us. The woman’s meal arrived and was a salad with grilled chicken and her companion was served a large pasta dish. I saw something very familiar in the transaction. The woman took her fork and sampled several generous bites of the pasta dinner. Then she ate the soft breadstick that lay across her salad plate. Then she poured the two side containers of salad dressing onto the salad and then ate her salad. I wasn’t judging her choices; I just recognized an old pattern of what I would do without even realizing I was doing it. I know that when I was on whatever, “diet of the day” I was trying, that I would mindlessly sample what the rest of my family was having. Without thinking, I would have “just one” Buffalo chicken wing appetizer, finish my son’s pizza crust or take a bite (or more) of whatever yummy looking special entrée or dessert my husband ordered. The problem was that I was not taking all the extra calories into account when I would stare quizzically at the scale and wonder why the number never went down.
I learned the hard way to keep my eyes on my own plate. Quite frankly, and you know nothing good comes after someone says, “quite frankly,” it was none of my business. While some people may have super-speedy metabolisms, I had to accept mine was more sloth-like in nature. I simply had to find what worked for me. I also needed to be honest about what I was actually consuming. BLTS (bites, licks, tastes and sips!) can easily add hundreds of unintended and unaccounted for calories to your daily intake. Want to the scale to reflect your efforts of clean eating? Keep yours eyes on the prize…and on your own plate!