Food Obligation…No It’s Not!

A Great Deal For A “Great Meal”?:

Last night my wife and I talked it over and bought a Groupon to try out a local Polish restaurant. A great deal, had eaten carefully all week, so thought we could enjoy a wonderful Eastern European meal (happiness to my Russian heart) with no ill effects.

Well, the food was fantastic and brought back wonderful memories of meals with my Baba (grandmother), Didi (great-grandfather), and Tetahs (aunts) in their warm home. The portions were huge and we started off with an order of potato pancakes. And the familiar dense, sweet bread, the periogis with their delicious potato and cheese filling, and the haluptky (stuffed cabbage) were a taste of treasured memories…and so heavy I felt like one big CARB!


The good news: we did stop eating halfway through and took over half of our meals home. However, we went ahead and ordered two orders of apple struedel for later in the evening (we ate dinner early).

Lesson Learned:

We waited until after 7 to have the struedel, warmed it up for 30 seconds in the microwave, and dug in. And the ball dropped. What a disappointment! The apples were more like applesauce, the pastry was not flaky, it was tart without even a hint of cinnamon, and strangely, it has sliced almonds on top. But we paid good money for that crappy stuedel – $6 for a rather small slice – so we ate it. We didn’t like it, it was mindless eating, but we felt obligated to finish it anyway.

We’ve come so far with being able to make healthier menu and meal choices, portion size control, and limiting “treats”. But we’re still saddled with the idea that, especially with desserts, if we spent good money on it, we HAVE to finish it.

THAT IS A FALLACY!  Better to put down the fork and decide never to order the item again, a lesson learned the hard way, than mindlessly eating empty calories that you’re not tasting, much less enjoying. That is the struggle we’re facing now and I’m sure we’re not alone. Splitting 1 piece of struedel would have been a much better choice. And then not eating it after the first crappy few bites.

** Just because you bought that piece of ______ doesn’t mean:

a. you have to eat the whole thing,

b. you have to eat it if you don’t like it,

c. you have to eat it at all!

There are times, especially for us emotional eaters, when we buy something for motives that have nothing to do with hunger. But if we can space out the time from when we bought “it” to when we’re ready to eat “it”, sometimes we find that we really didn’t want it after all. And you know what, that’s ok!

Toss out the “it’s not ok to waste or throw away food” mantra. If you can give the “it” to a friend or neighbor, great. If not, can you freeze it? No? Well, it’s ok to introduce it to “Mr. Trash Can or Ms. Recycle Bin”. Once it’s out of your face, you’re free. Free to congratulate yourself on not giving in to a perceived obligation. Free to congratulate yourself for not eating mindlessly instead of mindfully. Free to make someone else’s day with something they may enjoy (please trim item before giving!). Free to know: You Have A Choice!

I will be the first to admit this is still a struggle for me and for my wife. But at least we’re at the point where we’re able to recognize it for what it is. And that’s the first step to change. If we can work on this, so can you!


10 thoughts on “Food Obligation…No It’s Not!

  1. I have this problem all the time; do I toss it or eat it until I’m completely full? The one thing – that I’ve gotten better with – is conserving the food for another day. Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

    • Thanks so much! Yes, we just had the last night’s leftovers for lunch and plan to go get a green juice for detox. Looking forward to following you as well!! And it’s terrific to hear you’re getting better with the food conservation. It’s a struggle, it really is and it helps so much to have support!

  2. Oh the guilt of not finishing food! Reminds me of common phrases from growing up around the kitchen table….”you can’t leave til you finish your dinner”…”there are children starving in Africa”…..
    Sorry to hear your delightful dessert was a disappointment! It looks lovely. Perhaps it would have tasted better fresh at the restaurant? At least you enjoyed the flavours of home in the mains – those tasteful memories will warm the soul!

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