Living in Washington, DC where professional sports team performances are disappointing much of the time, and not being naturally inclined to sports anyway, the sports seasons come and go without much participation on my part. However, this week’s exciting win of the Capital’s (the Washington D.C. professional ice hockey team) over the Boston Bruins in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup playoffs, brought us all to attention. It also brought back a very fun memory.
Ten years ago, as a Weight Watchers leader, I attended the big annual meeting at the beautiful Bethesda Marriott Hotel. With all the whistles and bells that go with these corporate events, there were easily three to four hundred people attending and our ball room was packed. During the morning registration we were each handed a ticket for the big drawing for gifts and prizes to be held after lunch. Over the course of the morning, between lots of papers that were handed out and a fancy purse with too many pockets and zippers, I lost my ticket. Although I never win at these things, from past experience I knew that the prizes were always excellent and wanted my chance to win! At the lunch break, I went back to the desk, pleaded my cause, and got another one. As I settled in with my friends for the afternoon session, I found the first ticket! So I had two tickets. No biggie.
It was soon time for the drawings. With all the music, drama and fanfare that only a live DJ can create, they gave away the lower-level prizes: manicures, gift cards, etc. Then the big prize was announced: Two sets of two prime tickets to a live Capitals Hockey game at the Capital Center! With box seating, catered food, VIP underground parking, the works. Everyone oohed and awed. (Regular tickets for these games go for $90, so who even knows what these special ones were worth or how regular folks like us get them.) Since there were two sets of the grand prize, they would do the drawings individually.
As the first grand prize number was read off … to my shock, I was the winner! The music rose as I walked up to the stand, got my prize, had my picture taken with the directors, and sat down to applause. Then it was time for the 2nd set of tickets to be given away. The music throbbed as the director pulled out the ticket from the basket and read the numbers. You guessed it: I had the winning ticket … again! As my face flushed and with a beating heart that matched the pulse of the music, I quickly gave it to my friend sitting next to me. She was confused and flustered, but walked up.
As the directors made jokes and comments about what could the crazy odds for the winners to be sitting next to each other, I thought to myself … “And what are the odds that one person would have BOTH tickets?”
I was immediately swarmed by people offering to buy my prize and was shocked at what they were willing to pay. I, however, had a darling 12 year old son at home who loves professional sports, and we had a night to remember forever.
I’ve thought about that experience many times over the years:
The odds of double-dipping for the grand prize may be slim to none, but double dipping with the foods we are constantly surrounded by are part of everyday life for nearly all of us.
Oh… portion control! The alpha and omega of weight management success. For those who are learning weight management skills for the first time, it’s a shock to see wise-sized portions. For those of us who are veterans, we KNOW the amounts, but we often choose to ignore them. And when things are especially tasty, or we’re bored or stressed, not only do we take the first portion … but move on to the second … and even third or more.
When we willingly understand and accept that what we consume each day has a major impact on the state of our health and use the Word of Wisdom as our Heavenly Father’s health plan, we have our answer. It’s a simple truth that portion control – even self-control is a basic element to receive the blessings that are promised.
In D&C 89: we read: “All wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man – every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgivingYea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I the Lord,have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly.
“Prudence” and “sparingly”: Even the Lord himself tells us to control our portions, and be mindful of double-dipping! He also admonishes us not once, but twice that we are to eat with gratitude.
There’s more food than Joseph Smith and the first generations of Saints could ever have imagine when the Word of Wisdom was introduced. Food is everywhere-the mall and gas station, the ballpark and drug store. Super-size meals in fast food restaurants are almost too good a bargain to pass up, and servings in all but the most trendy restaurants are often enough to feed two. In the face of such plenty, it’s important to learn how to avoid overeating.
Here are ten strategies that can help defend against eating too much:
1. TASTE your food!In light of the Lord’s great desire to enrich our lives with delicious foods and the admonition to eat with thanksgiving:
T – Take
A – A
S – Second
T – To
E – EXPRESS thanks with a quite prayer to eat wisely, and to ENJOY it slowly!
2. Stay full with water and being adequately hydrated. It’s a lot easier to turn things down with a fully tummy. Another water trick: At social gatherings, carry a water bottle or no-cal drink in one hand. It’s hard to manage a plate and a water bottle at the same time.
3. Make a conscious effort to talk and socialize as much as you eat, both at home and when eating out. Focus your meal time on the fun and pleasure of being with friends and family.
4.Stop before you are stuffed. Learn your body’s signals and practice stopping before you feel full.
5.Be selective. It’s easy to eat food just because it’s put in front of you. Be mindful of what you are eating, and make sure that you are choosing what to eat.
6.Select small portions. Portions in most restaurants are over-sized. If you are eating with someone else, try sharing an entre, or order two appetizers instead of an entre. If you’re eating alone, eat half and take the rest home for another meal.
Beware of desserts. A single slice of The Cheesecake Factory’s Original Cheesecake packs almost 800 calories and an incredible 49 grams of fat (28 of them saturated, or 50 percent more than is the recommended maximum per day). Either share such a rich dessert several ways or skip it altogether and finish your meal with a piece of fruit or other lower calorie option.
8.Slow down. Eating fast short-circuits the signals that your digestive system generates to signal that it’s getting full. Slowing down gives your stomach and intestines time to send these messages to your brain.
9.Spoil your appetite. Having a snack or appetizer before a meal can dull your hunger and help you eat less at the meal.
10.Be aware of why you are eating. Sometime we eat when we’re bored, anxious, or angry. Try not to soothe your negative feelings with food. Dealing with them in other ways-talking to friends, listening to music, taking a walk, meditating, or working-can help you relieve stress without gaining weight.
It’s interesting to consider that while there are many pleasurable foods that require portion control, there are just as many, or even MORE pleasurable, rich things to fill us up that do not require any self-discipline at all! They are meant for double, triple and even quadruple dippings! At zero-calories per serving, there is music, literature, flowers and the beauty of the world, the joy of conversing with dear ones …. The list goes on and on of things to enjoy without restraint.