What Grandmother taught me about dieting

pasta2Years ago people didn’t have the belief that eating quinoa and kale made them heathier. They didn’t have the impression that no butter, sugar or carbs was the right way to live. I mean they eat lard for goodness sake! Does anyone today truly think that we are an ounce healthier then we were 50 years ago? So what has changed since then? For these answers I look to the way my grandmother ate. No food was restricted, no dieting. Heck if you grew up in a house that suffered thought the great depression having an abundance of food was a rarity. So what were my Grandmas eating habits that kept her healthy and trim well into her 90’s

She enjoyed her food -My grandmother did not eat in a rush; she did not eat standing up. She did not eat at the counter. (This is starting to sound like Dr. Seuss) She sat down, took her time, eat what she enjoyed and

Yes , that’s Grandma Mary at 93 dressed like a Tellie Tubby for Halloween. She was awesome!

savored her meal.


She did not have forbidden foods – My grandmother was the typical Italian grandma and loved pasta dishes. By today’s standards she would have gained weight instantly at the mere sight of all the carbs, and no it was not whole wheat pasta either. It was the good stuff, covered in a meats sauce that was to die for. She ate that with a side of Italian bread from the bakery.

Her day was her workout– The amazing thing about the time my grandmother was raised in is that there was no internet, most jobs were not the one where you sit on your butt all day. There was movement, walking and labor involved in daily chores. There was laundry, cooking and housecleaning, not done by Merry Maids or Roomba but by Mom! They lacked the modern conveniences we have today. Yes, they made things easier but we have lost our ability to physically engage out bodies more frequently.

She only ate when she was hungry– She did not eat out of boredom, she did not eat out of sadness, she did not eat because she was stressed (here we go with Dr. Seuss again) She ate because her body signaled to her that it was time to fuel it. It was that simple. Today we over complicate out eating habits, create special low carb, high fiber, fake sugar weirdness and replaced real meals with the constant need to snack. Even when we are not hunger. (I am speaking from experience mind you.)

She intuitively ate the right portions – In her day there was not supersize. You eat the palm size serving of a traditionally balanced plate and once you reached fullness you were done. That’s it!

Meals were a family event – Meals were not just a time to stuff your face. They were a time to reconnect, face to face with friends and family. The traditional Sunday dinner was an event that brought the extended family together. Today, this might not be doable but there is something to be said for a lovingly created meal eaten around the dinner table at a leisurely pace.

So where does this bring us. Well it’s simple…no really in making this list I noticed one overriding theme in her eating habits. They are simple. There are no measuring Marcos, no special diets, no fancy ingredients. It was just simple. Eat a normal sized amount, when your body tells you to. Move around a lot and find joy in family, friends and food. Could it really be this simple?

13 thoughts on “What Grandmother taught me about dieting

  1. I have been working with a nutritionist and this is pretty much everything she has been telling me. If Grandma ate it, I can eat it! I am losing weight with butter and milk and organic meats! I feel better than I have in years!

  2. Wise words Melissa. Grandma would not have had overly processed foods. It is a bit frightening when you look in the isles of the supermarket, row upon row of processed food.
    Thanks for bringing this down to earth advice to the Bloggers Pit Stop

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