I’ve been thinking about temperance lately and trying to figure out different ways I can implement it into my everyday life. When I decided to emulate the virtues that Benjamin Franklin is said to have lived by, my first thought in regards to temperance was food, and the consumption of food.
Eating food isn’t bad. It’s necessary. But sometimes we’ll sit down to a meal that tastes so good that we can’t help but go for a second or third helping. Have you ever sat back after a meal and thought that your eyes were bigger than your stomach? If you have, you know where I’m going with this. One of my biggest weaknesses when it comes to eating is Chinese food. I think it’s great, but I have the hardest time ordering “just enough.” There’s a number of dishes I want to get each time, but there’s no way I could all of them by myself. The various chicken dishes alone are enough to make me stare at the menu for 10 minutes.
About once a week, my mom makes pizza. She’s done it for almost 20 years (to my memory) and gotten very good at it. Depending on who’s present for dinner, sometimes I’ll be hard pressed to limit myself to a certain number of slices. “It’s so good, though. C’mon, just one more slice.” That’s what I’ll tell myself at least once.
I don’t have a magical formula, or a series of steps to take in order to not eat too much. I know that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. I’m not saying that it’s not okay to have a second helping of a good meal. By all means, if you like what you’re eating, then have another plate or bowl. Everyone needs to know what their limits are, though, and not cross them. Know where your weaknesses are, and watch your step around them. Take things slowly if you have to. Let someone know what you have trouble with so you have someone to be accountable to.
I don’t always have a second helping of something, even if there’s a half plate/bowl-full left. At times like that, it’s more about getting into the practice of not eating too much than making sure there’s no leftovers or having more just because it’s there. Sometimes someone will comment on that, but I’ll just say something along the lines of “No, I’m good” or “I’ve had enough.”
Hopefully I’ll do better the next time my eyes are bigger than my stomach.