The “Entitlement Factor”

1663397450_1644c386fd1When I lost weight, my tummy shrank.

This might sound like a big fat “duh” response to weight loss … but my appetite for food didn’t necessarily shrink, too.

And it irked me, especially once I settled into a comfortable weight range, that I could be satisfied on less … especially when “less” was becoming smaller and smaller portions.

The truth is, I like to eat, and always have. I’m not an over-eater, but I’ve always enjoyed food — talking about it, thinking about it, and now as I’ve gotten older, reading or writing about it, too.

And if I go to the trouble of weighing and measuring my food like I do, I want to be able to eat it. All of it. I feel “entitled” to it. It’s “mine.”

This is why my plate is usually loaded first and foremost with fruits and veggies: I get the biggest bang for my buck with them. I can be part of the Clean Plate Club if I want to be, and not feel uncomfortable about my choices.

I want to finish it, I feel “entitled” to finish it. So I call it … the “Entitlement Factor”.

In yesterday’s post, Weights & and Measures, blog reader Nikita shared in the comments that she, too, finds it hard not to finish everything on her plate if it’s been measured … Entitlement.

Likewise, some of the biggest fights I had with my husband (that led me to realize, “Houston, we have a problem!”) were about wanting to finish food: him affectionately snagging a bite of something I’d pre-measured for me, or him wanting to share something that I’d already budgeted in a whole portion of for the day.

To him, it was just a bite, a shared taste. To me, it meant (at my worst, not so much now) that I’d have to go back and re-measure “my” portion to be sure I was getting exactly what was “due” to me. Entitlement.

(Ugh … Listen to that language … I shudder myself as I read my own lexical choice — “what’s due to me” …)

You’re probably reading this thinking, “OMG, she’s nuts! She is so selfish she won’t share her food with her husband?! A measly bite?!”

Or, maybe you have done the same thing, found yourself protective over what’s “yours.”

The “Entitlement Factor” also translates to wanting to be able to eat as much as I could before when I was losing (and I don’t mean stuffing myself; I just mean I am usually full on less now) and the ugly truth about that is that I can’t. I simply can’t.

I used to get annoyed that I’d be sated with a couple bites left on my plate. This was the hardest part for me about the Core program on WW (the no-counting plan that has since been replaced with the two-pronged program called Momentum). Accepting that I might very well be sated on less than a serving size of X was hard for me.

I’d wait for the “sigh,” and if I felt it, I’d Stop. Rest. Assess. But often I’d still go back and finish, simply because I was “entitled” to it.

I guess you could say I am funny about food. Like if I am at a steakhouse, I have no problem eating 1/2 my filet and 1/2 my baked sweet potato and all my veggies. It’s a real meal (not “diety”).

But put a salad in front of me, and it’ll all be gone.

I feel “entitled” to all the salad, because it’s “diety” and I know how many Points are in it: 1/2 breast chicken, veggies.

On the flipside, I know from a serving size standpoint that 3-4 oz. meat and 1/2 potato (plus veggies, I always eat mucho veggies) is generally ok for me — I won’t be stuffed. So I am ok with leaving half of it on my plate … or I guess if I were obeying true hunger, I’d be ok with eating the whole steak (though I can’t recall ever doing that).

These sentiments of entitlement aren’t easy to shake; they manifest themselves in many different ways and they aren’t pretty to witness or to bear.

I don’t have an answer here, or any real words of wisdom but I wanted to open up the floor to see what the rest of you think about this notion of entitlement, if it’s even an issue for you.

How about you? Have you struggled with similar “entitlement” issues since losing weight or in relation to your DE or ED?

10 thoughts on “The “Entitlement Factor”

  1. When I was recovering from my eating disorder, I welcomed anyone to eat from my plate! Of course, as I “recovered” (healthier weight but not necessarily shaking all my habits), I was obsessive about my food. I would eat the same foods over and over and I didn’t want to share. I definitely understand the feeling of entitlement.

    Just the other day I went out with some co-workers for lunch. They had more substantial sandwiches and fries, while I chose a salad. They both left half their lunches unfinished and packed it to go, but I ate my entire salad and fruit plate. I obsessed over it for a few minutes (should I have left half my salad and packed it to go? Did I appear to eat too much?) but my entitled self told me that it was lighter and healthier.

  2. I so understand this,

    “Likewise, some of the biggest fights I had with my husband (that led me to realize, “Houston, we have a problem!”) were about wanting to finish food: him affectionately snagging a bite of something I’d pre-measured for me, or him wanting to share something that I’d already budgeted in a whole portion of for the day.”

    I have experienced this many times and know full well what you are talking about in this post. I love that part of this post. Thanks.

  3. Oh my gosh, I do not think your nuts. Ask my husband…if he tries to snag a bite of my post dinner dessert or swipes some cereal from by bowl before I add the milk, I freak out on him. What are you doing? That’s MY portion – don’t even touch an ounce of it! I totally understand where you are coming from…and I just thought I was super selfish.

    I’m definitely working on my “entitlement” issues. Thanks for this post – so comforting to know others struggle with this as well.

  4. Faye, I’d still rather eat the big salad and be done with it than half a regular meal!

    Glad to know Faye, Run4Change and Heather that I am not alone with that habit though of being terretorial about my food! It’s a hard habit to break …

  5. Oh, this hit close to home. I hate it when I carefully measure out a portion of something and my SO snags some. I have started to budget his thieving ways 🙂 But in all seriousness sometimes I still do snap at him, and I feel guilty afterwards. It’s definitely something I’m working on.

  6. Hi Rachel and thanks for sharing — I know they don’t mean any harm to us, but it’s hard sometimes!! I use it to my advantage though if he wants a dessert I’m not all about (but yet I want something sweet and don’t order my own b/c I don’t want to eat my own) — I can take two bites and be done with it and then I don’t worry if he polishes off the rest 😉

  7. thanks 🙂
    its exactly what i meant in my comment lol

    since i have ED, every food is mesured, and i feel safe like this. my food is also very precious when it has been planned or calculated, i hate if someone takes a part of it because i want to eat the whole thing by myself. because i planned for it, i want to eat everything to be (over)satisfied.

    i think its because of this. i know i wont eat this food soon again, so i wanna make sure im fully satisfied for not craving this food during the next days. so even a little piece is messing up with the whole planning :/

  8. My pleasure, Nikita!!

    I, too, feel “safe” but it’s something we kinda I think have to get over in a way because life isn’t so perfectly-packaged … meaning we can’t always control everything …. and it’s not an easy concept to grasp. Lord knows I struggle with it.

  9. I feel like this all the time, when my husband takes something off my plate. It just makes me so angry because I feel like he is taking away MY FOOD THAT I DESERVE. I am trying not to let it bother me. Trying 😉

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