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Eat Like a Man

July 1, 2011

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll mention it again: I am little.

(Not even as tall as a baby giraffe. Sad).

I barely break the 5’2 mark, and I (very unfortunately) have the metabolism of someone twice my age. What this means is that I need to be pretty diligent about how much I exercise and what I eat; otherwise, on a frame like mine, you’ll be able to visibly track every extra cookie I put in my mouth.

That being said, I would have to say that one of my biggest obstacles in maintaining my weight loss has been my desire (and impressive ability) to eat “like a man.” You know exactly what I mean: sitting around a table full of food and going at it without a care in the world, taking seconds (or thirds), and trying a little bit (or a lot) of everything available.

The men in my life eat without abandon: my dad, my brother, and Nick are like human garbage disposals. (In fact, my brother’s nickname is “The Eater of Things”).

(My boys, enjoying some home-cooked deliciousness)

It is both disgusting and strangely admirable, all at the same time.

Usually, I have a pretty good handle on myself, but sometimes it’s hard, when you’re surrounded by men like this, to realize that your body composition and needs are completely different. Nick and I lived together one summer, and I realized very quickly that the statistics about women gaining weight when they live with their significant others were true. Very, very true.

Nick can eat three times as many calories as me in a day and not gain an ounce, which is something I needed to constantly remind myself of when I wanted to match him bite for bite (in chips, or ice cream, or pie).

That summer was exhilarating, fun, and (not surprisingly) left me seven or eight pounds heavier. It was a wake up call for me: I couldn’t (and, honestly) shouldn’t feel like I need to “keep up” with the men in my life when it comes to food. I’m not built the same way, and there’s no reason for me to take in that many calories just because they’re there.

Now, when Nick and I are together (or I’m having dinner with L-Dogs or Funk), I follow a couple of tried and true “rules” to keep my waistline in check:

  • Use a salad plate. Now, this trick doesn’t work if I go back for seconds or thirds, but a salad plate full of food is more than enough for me at one meal.
  • Fill up on veggies first. This is actually something that has helped me maintain my goal weight over the last few years. Greens and other veggies are SUPER filling, so if I eat these first, I generally want less pasta (or rice or potatoes or meat…) later.
  • Slow down. I am a fast eater, an unfortunate trait I got from my dad. A plate of food can be set in front of us and disappear in under five minutes. Again, this is impressive and kind of disgusting, and I hate eating my food so fast that I don’t even enjoy it (or register that I’m getting full). When surrounded by speed-eaters, I try to slow down and savor the food and the company.
  • Eat intuitively. This is just a fancy term for “stop stuffing your face when you’re no longer hungry.” Pretty simple, right?
  • Remember: it’s not a competition. Just because my brother can eat an entire loaf of white bread in one sitting (true story), doesn’t mean I need to keep up. Nor do I really want to.

In short, spending time with the men in my life is great, but eating like them is not necessary.

(No one needs to eat a piece of naan the size of their head. Trust me on this one).

Are your eating habits ever influenced by the people you’re with? Anyone out there also surrounded by some seriously manly eaters?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2011 9:54 pm

    I’m with you on this. My boyfriend can eat SO much! I don’t understand it. In the beginning when we started dating I think I tried to keep up with him and then realized I just couldn’t eat that much and have adjusted 🙂

    And while I agree with you on your naan statement, I probably definitely could eat a naan the size of my head, but I wouldn’t 😉

    • July 2, 2011 9:15 am

      I definitely still try to keep up sometimes (especially when dessert hits the table!), but then I realize that he’s six feet tall and I’m…um…not. ; )

      And don’t worry; I demolished that piece of naan. It was just unnecessary to do so : )

  2. July 3, 2011 1:11 pm

    I’m like you, pretty little. Anytime I eat with almost anyone else in my life, it’s easy to forget that I’m a lot smaller and don’t need as much fuel as they do.

    And I still find it difficult to slow down and allow my stomach and mind to communicate. I need to get better at realizing when I’m sated. ::sigh::

  3. July 6, 2011 10:46 am

    omigod i’m terrible about eating too fast! i try to slow down but it’s like once i start eating my mind goes on autopilot and i just devour!

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