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Keeping My Mouth Shut!

Posted on Nov 18, 2015

Three years ago I lost 25 pounds by learning to keep my mouth shut. One day I just decided that enough was enough, and I stopped eating. For the first few days I ate only an avocado and a banana. Then I added some crackers, maybe a boiled egg. The pounds simply melted away. Part of this decision was to avoid eating leftovers.

I don’t mean dinner leftovers. I mean left over snacks on evening snack plates, and uneaten lunches brought home from school by my kids. Having been poor most of my life, I’ve always been very careful with food – don’t waste it! Every part of the food was eaten, very little was thrown out. I even eat the little green parts of the tomatoes where the stem attaches! My friends think it’s gross. *shrug*

Remember your parents telling you “there are poor people in Africa who are starving! Eat your dinner!” I never understood how MY eating food was helping those folks, but I obliged. Usually. I remember many a night being stuck at the dinner table for hours after dinner, my full plate of food left to stare at me. I will not use this tactic with my kids. If they don’t like something, they are not forced to eat it. They can go help themselves to fruits or vegetables or other snackables, but I’m not making a whole other meal just for them. But I’m also not going to begrudge them for having preferences – the only rule is that they have to try a bite before refusing to eat.

Now both kids are in school and the school rule for kindergardeners is that snacks are only allowed to be fruits and/or vegetables. It’s a great rule, really, and I stick to it steadfastly. But more often than not, the snack comes home – half eaten or completely uneaten. My little social butterfly was too busy chatting to eat. Or he wasn’t in the mood to eat baby carrots, snap peas, cucumber, apple, cantaloupe, etc. That’s okay, he’s healthy and eats tons of fruits and vegetables all day long so I’m not worried.

But what I have a problem with is these leftovers! GAH! They have been in a plastic bag or tupperware container all day, in room temperature, in a backpack. They are warm and limp and often smell ferment-y by the time I open the container (sometimes not till the next morning because I forgot to empty the backpack). Ugh. I cringe, and then prepare for the wave of guilt to wash over me as I lift the lid and toss them into my ice cream bucket compost.

Why do I feel so guilty?? What was the alternative? My kids won’t eat it, my husband won’t eat it, my dogs won’t eat it. So I’m to eat it? And then what? Then I poop it out and it’s¬†recycled anyway! I don’t have a compost in my own yard because they attract rats, and why do I need one? The City picks up the compost bin every week – I assume putting my food scraps in there is the best possible thing for our environment. Isn’t it???

I need to stop feeling so guilty. I stay slim by not snacking, and keeping my mouth shut when I’m not hungry. Eating leftovers is not going to save the world, or teach my kids to respect food, or make me feel better for not wasting food. Nay, it will only make me feel worse because I’ve opened my mouth when it should’ve been shut! (This is also a good rule in general, haha!)

Is it just me? Or do you feel guilty too??