Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
I’ve said it before but it doesn’t hurt to repeat. Obesity is NOT a lack of care or simply a failure to exercise. Obesity is an imbalance between the energy going IN and the energy going OUT. Exercise more? You can’t outrun a bad diet.
In my research about WW2 eating habits I became very aware of how portion sizes have grown over the years. We supersize everything these days. We’ve got the biggest cars. We’ve got the biggest houses. The biggest appliances. The biggest kitchens. And…. the biggest food. Americans seem to equate bigger stuff with having more money. Unless you have lots of money you can’t buy bigger stuff. So, bigger equates to wealth and buying power.
My research had led to a realization of how modern day people seemed to equate larger food portions with social status. Its a mind game played by advertisers. I must have been one of those seeking a higher status because a lot of my life had revolved around eating super size meals. We have a phrase used quite often in our neighborhood that goes like this; eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner as a banquet. Meaning? Breakfast would be at Burger King, lunch at Dairy Queen, and dinner at Golden Coral where its all you can eat. For those who don’t know, those are three popular fast food restraunts in this area.
A few days ago I was watching a tv commercial of a woman taking a bite out of a giant sized burger. The burger was so large she had to hold it with both hands and open her mouth as wide as possible. If I didn’t know it was a commercial for a burger restraunt I would have sworn it was a trailer for a porn movie. What I actually saw was a nice looking skinny woman promoting the idea that over eating is sexy and pleasurable. That if you eat more you’ll feel satisfied. I wonder how many fell for that one and bought one of those humongous burgers?
I become aware that the images of influential people and celebrities in food commercials remain thin at the same time they promote over eating. They get paid big dollars for convincing us to destroy our bodies with junk. There is some kind of disconnect in our brains between those skinny commercial people and our kitchen table. The portion sizes remain tied to social status. The suggestion given is that if we want to be thin, sexy, healthy, etc, etc, we only need eat what they promote. Gosh, how fooled we all are. I knew I had to wake up and overcome that mindset if I was ever going to put my diabetes in remission.
Barring an accident or genetic disease, I knew I would eventually pay for how I was treating my own body. I had to find a way to overcome the feelings of deprivation associated with eating smaller portions. It was when I realized that I had complete control over the food going into my body three times a day within the limits of my time and finances it was like a light went on. Only I would choose what I put into my body. It’s my own choice to eat healthy or unhealthy. My food choice is not controlled by the commercials I see or the celebrities I watch. Its entirely me.
Today I look at food quite differently than I did just a couple years ago. Now I look at food choice like it was the earning and spending of money. This is going to be difficult for me to explain but I’ll try. Ok, I’m a frugal person. I do my best to keep a balance between what money I have coming in and the money going out. When I’m frugal the amount of money going out is less than the amount that came in so that I have a small savings toward future need.
Now think of your food as money. Not the cost of the food but the type of food you have being stored, eaten, or wasted. The dollar value of each food is the amount of energy it gives your body. More energy, higher dollar value. Everybody understands the concept of food storage, right?
Ok, now think of bringing food into your house as income. Your food paycheck. When you get a paycheck for working you put your money aside to pay the bills. You do the same with your food income. You put your food income aside to fix meals. Eating food and wasting food is the spending of your food income. The difference between what comes in and goes out of your pantry is your food savings account. Still with me?
Living frugally means spending less money in order to have a better life. These days I see each meal as a food lifeline that leads toward a more abundant life. I have power over my food the same way I have power over my finances. Eating smaller portions is not about being deprived anymore than spending money frugally is about doing without. Eating smaller portions is simply spending my food frugally.
When I really need something and can’t avoid that need I tap into my savings. This is the same with eating. If I’m really hungry and can’t seem to avoid the hunger then I tap into the food storage and eat. Making sure what food I do spend (eat) is going to last longer within my body.
How satisfied I feel after a meal has nothing at all to do with how big or supersized the meal is but rather how dense the food is. Its like when I weigh the difference between quantity versus quality with my money. I have the power to choose either. I almost always prefer to go for the quality for lasting power. In the long run I’m rarely disappointed. This is the same choices I have when choosing the food I eat. I have the power to choose a larger portion of nutrient deficient quantity (that would be fast food) or I can choose smaller portion of really healthy quality food (that would be vegetables and fruit). So, eating smaller portions of dense food is like feeding my body quality instead of quantity.
Did I explain that ok?
This mindset of frugal eating has really helped me with eating smaller portions. I don’t feel deprived, I feel empowered. When I’m hungry I eat but I also don’t eat if I’m not. I eat meals of good quality food instead of fast food and there won’t be any searching for junk food later.
You know what? I like eating frugal.
TO BE CONTINUED
Its time to disconnect the computer for a few days. Things are happening really fast now. I need to finish up packing all but the essentials. There are utilities to disconnect and connect. Phones and internet switching. Stuff like that. I should be back up and posting within a few days barring any problems getting connected to internet at the new house. If there are problems I’ll walk to the library to post a message.