Jul 16

Waist or Waste? You Can’t Have it Both Ways.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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I want to start this blog by telling you just a little bit about me. I have been hesitant to talk too much about fat loss (what people typically mean when they say they want to “lose weight”). I mean there is so much strong emotion out there on this topic. If you say something too far in one direction, you may be seen as “body shaming” or trying to imply that everyone should be on a mission to lose fat. If you stay too far in the other direction, the area where you don’t upset anyone, you really can’t say anything of any consequence. You spend your time walking on the fence rather than helping anyone.

Today, I choose to make a stand. Today I’m jumping down off the fence.


Today I’m going to publicly say: if your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or change your body shape in any way, one of the things you’re going to have to do is change the way you’re eating.


If you are unhappy with your current shape or size, doing everything you’ve always done, gets you everything you have now. If you don’t change things, nothing changes. That’s a fact. Period. Dot.


Another fact is that sometimes we just want to eat a pan of lasagna, loaf of garlic bread, and the entire Death by Chocolate Cake. I’m not judging any of that but I think we all know that when we eat that way, we pay the price. When we eat that way for a period of time, we may not be happy with the result but we understand it.

Did you know, though, you could be eating thousands more calories a week than you’re even aware of? These calories are “hidden”. They’re not accounted for when we think about what we ate. They’re “forgotten”. They’re the things we think don’t matter.

I typically do quite well when I’m by myself, but recently I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a bit of time with family. When I’m around the kids, I have a lot more BLTs. These are bites, licks, and tastes that find their way into my mouth. It’s the French fries I didn’t order but I steal off my husband’s plate. It’s the chocolate bar that I didn’t buy but my friend gives me a piece of.  It’s a handful (or two) of buttered popcorn I take out of my Hayden’s bucket at the theater.  A lick or two when the kids’ ice cream is melting faster than they’re eating it.


Here’s an example of just one day: Zoey asks for a yogurt in the morning but only eats two-thirds of it. There’s only one blueberry muffin left. It’s small and I don’t usually make muffins so this is a treat. I make Nathan a peanut butter sandwich and lick the knife. In truth, I might even put a little more peanut butter on it before I lick it! He left three uneaten tortilla chips on his plate, so I eat those as I’m clearing the table. No sense in throwing them out. I mean it’s only 3 chips.  I have several tastes of the chicken and rice while I’m cooking dinner: just to make sure it’s palatable. I don’t have a glass of wine but I do have a couple of sips off Ashleigh’s. There’s some rice left at dinner but it’s not enough to save so I have an extra couple of spoonfuls. I pack Blake’s lunch and there’s just a little too much fruit cocktail to fit into the Tupperware. I’d hate to throw it out.

In the evening when I think about what I ate for the day, typically these BLTs don’t even cross my mind. I don’t think they matter but they can really add up.

Take a look:


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In one day, my BLTs provided an extra 468 calories, 57 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat, 12 grams of protein and 517 grams of sodium.

If I do this pretty typically every day, that’s 3,276 extra calories for the week!! The issue is not that I ate these things. Rather, that I ate them without even thinking about them. Do you see the problem?


Now, why would I do this?

First, because I was raised being required to “clean my plate”. It was non-negotiable. The amount of food I ate had nothing to do with me. It had to do with how much food my mother decided to put on my plate. There were children starving in Africa…

This is still something I frequently struggle with. I hate wasting food. I still feel a pang of guilt if I don’t clean my plate. I can push it aside but it’s always there.


Also, I don’t want to waste my money. This could be the cost of groceries that I cook at home but the problem is magnified when we go out to eat. If I pay $xx for dinner, I have to eat it.  All.  It won’t save (or reheat) well and I don’t want to waste it.”


Do you know what I’m talking about? I know it’s not just me…..

….I also want you to know that it’s not just you. I struggle just like everybody else.


There are three tools I typically use to keep me from mindlessly eating BLTs.


  1. Whenever I am eating or drinking anything, my first question is. “Am I enjoying this? Is it worth the calories I’m taking in?” If so, I eat it. If no, there is no reason for me to eat it and I don’t. Instead, I have something else.


  1. I ask whether I would prefer waste or waist.

WASTE: This means I can choose to throw away that one muffin (or bag it for later), half a yogurt, and few tablespoons of rice: something I have considered to be “waste”ful in my old philosophy of “always clean your plate” or “you paid for this, you have to eat it.”

WAIST: If I choose not to discard the BLTs and I personally become the family garbage disposal, those calories are going to end up on my waist.

You can’t have it both ways. Throw the extra in the garbage or throw it into your body.


  1. The third thing I do is employ a shift in mindset. Yes, I may have paid $30 (or 10, or 80…the dollar amount is irrelevant….if you don’t believe me, check out the amount of food being consumed at a Cici’s Pizza buffet) but whether I eat only enough to feel satiated, or I force myself to eat the entire thing and become uncomfortably full, it still cost me exactly the same amount of money.



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  1. Not Your Typical Weight Loss Program. That's Not What you Want! -

    […] on this page.  {{scroll through the blogs:  here are three of my favorites to get you started Waist or Waste, Do What you Can is not a License to Ignore Personal Responsibility and What are you Putting in […]

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