Do you gorge on "free food"?

Possibly timely this time of year - this OP came to me after I grabbed my SECOND donut from the breakroom. Hell, if I were honest with myself, I think I don’t really even LIKE donuts that much. Heaven knows I NEVER think of donuts, until they are made available to me, and can’t remember ever buying myself one. But put them in front of me, and not only will I take 1, I’ll probably take 2 or even more!

Pretty much the only way I’m able to exercise food control is by not letting the food into my house. I simply don’t buy junk food - or intentionally only buy limited amounts. And I intentionally buy a bunch of fruit and veggies. Being cheap, I am easily able to resist buying snacks or going out to eat, and I eat the perishables instead of letting them go bad.

When preparing meals, I’m perfectly satisfied with reasonable portion sizes. But if I’m at a dinner party or a buffet and they have some dishes I really like, I’ll have seconds - if not thirds.

I’m very fortunate, that I either have the metabolism of a hummingbird - or a tapeworm - such that I am not overweight. (I also exercise a bit.) And if I really overindulge and gain a couple of pounds, I’m able to simply forego a meal or 2 and get back to normal.

Used to be a problem when I drank alcohol. If the beer - or premium gin - was flowing, I’d eventually end up on the floor. :rolleyes:

Do you have similar self-control issues? If so, do any particular foods give you problems? One of my worst is Italian beef. Seems like at a lot of gatherings, people will have a big tray of sliced beef w/ juice and peppers to make sandwiches. I might have 4 sandwiches - or more. Or pizza - man, I’ll eat until I almost feel sick.

If you have no problem eating in moderation, if you can pass up sweets in the break room, or if you dish up salad at a dinner party instead of the potatoes au gratin - does it involve an intentional effort or does it simply come naturally?

See, this is the thing. I used to eat whatever was being offered at work, until I realized that I was eating it for no other reason except that it was offered. If it wasn’t there, I’d not eat it and be perfectly fine with that. I was letting other people decide what I was going to eat? Screw that. Also, I suspected it was something of a behavior carried over from the days when I was poor (“Free stuff? Grab it!”) and I found it embarrassing that I could still be motivated in that way.

I spent 9 months learning to eat only when I was hungry. If someone offers me free food and I am not hungry, I ask if I can have one “for later.” Yes, occasionally I do overeat, but I never eat again till I am really hungry.

For donuts, I usually have one with coffee. And the 1/2 that someone left in the box.

“Gorge,” no, but I do sometimes take free food just because it’s there, and then sometimes (sometimes!) regret it. With me it’s not so much a self-control issue: I made a choice to take and eat whatever piece of crap it is, and I take full responsibility for making that choice; but, in retrospect, it maybe wasn’t the wisest choice.

It’s something I think I’ve gotten better at, though I’m certainly not perfect. But one of the Life Lessons I’ve learned, one of the rules I’ve made for myself (though I don’t always follow it) is: “Don’t eat it just because it’s there.”

Losing weight, or just not gaining weight, isn’t easy. It involves self-denial. But some self-denial is easier than others. If I can deny myself the stuff that I don’t really enjoy or derive much pleasure from, I have more room to indulge in the stuff that’s really worth it.

Ain’t that the truth?! As I recall it from my impoverished student days, my mindset was, "Eat any food that is available, even if you aren’t hungry, because eventually you WILL be hungry and will wish you had eaten the food!"

I find it especially difficult to pass up things like chips - real junk food like Cheetos or Doritos. I think it is because I like them, but NEVER buy them for my home. So when I encounter them, something in my reptilian brain kicks in…

Probably my worst “work-food” experiences was one day when I was going to be heading home in less than an hour. I was feeling hungry - most likely was bored. So I figured I’d stroll around and see if there were any filled candy bowls on anyone’s desks. I only found 1 bowl, and it had some unidentifiable hard candy with some Asian writing on it. So of course I took one. Didn’t taste very good either. Punchline - I bit down on it and it pulled a cap off of one of my teeth! :smack:

Last night I attended “customer appreciation night” at a bar where I’m a regular. Pints of Bell’s Two Hearted for $1 instead of the usual $5 and a great free buffet; pizza, mac&cheese, eggrolls, etc.

Although the bar tries to keep it quiet, word always gets out. The place was packed, with <50% of us being regular customers. I hung out for a half hour then I left. Yes, people gorge on free food. People suck.

My wife is the pupu queen. She’ll have us go to events just because they’re having free food. I’ll go with her, but I’m more selective about what I’m willing to eat. And I now refuse to go to “appreciation” lunches, which invariably serve rubber chicken and inedible vegetables (except for Oregon Public Broadcasting, who always put on a good spread).

I never understood the “eat more, it’s free!” thought process. It’s not like you can store it in your cheeks for later. Why eat to the point of discomfort just because someone else is paying for it? Ok, now I’m uncomfortably full, but I really got one over on the suckers who paid for me to overindulge, didn’t I? Ha!

I’ve also found that most of the time, free food is unhealthy & filling, or junk/lower quality. So, no thanks.

I am as guilty of this as anyone, but I do regularly stand back and watch the frenzy near the sample stations at Costco. It’s just a meatball, folks. You’d think they were giving away gold bars.

We just returned from a 10-day cruise. For most people, when you say “cruise” they say “buffet!!!” Oddly enough, I only gained about 3# over Thanksgiving and the cruise, and I’ve pretty much lost that. Except for the accursed ice cream station (OMG, do I love me some ice cream!!) I was able to enjoy sampling bits of different things without feeling like I needed to load tons of everything on my plate.

Once upon a time, I’d snarf it all down, and then some, but lately, it’s just not worth it. The first brownie might taste OK, but not enough that I’ll work my way up to a 4th. And sometimes, I don’t want anything. Sadly, it’s taken nearly 65 years to get to this point, as my excess poundage will attest.

Even at our company party yesterday, I was one of very few folks who grabbed some raw carrots and cucumbers. And that piece of fudge? One bite, and I tossed it - it just didn’t appeal.

What’s wrong with me??? :eek:


I don’t have this trigger. Free available food presents no real lure, even if I’m hungry. Maybe it’s from years of catering/serving when you’re always around available food? There has to be something I truly like or feel like eating, and I’m a small portion eater, so it never nears gorging.

I don’t keep chips at home, low sodium diet, so I’ll have a few of those because…treat. But that’s the full extent of it. Free or available never affects what I’ll eat or how much.

At work we have been in the “go-live” period of the project. So, for the last 2 weeks they have been catering lunch and dinner in order to keep us onsite working long hours. I find it is a struggle to not eat “all-you-can-eat” when you don’t have to decide what to eat / shop for it / pay for it / prepare it / clean up after it.

Actual conversation from several years ago:

Me: It’s all you can eat.

Grandma: Yeah, but who can eat that?

Medical labs are notorious for employees bringing in food.

The break room often is a repository of potluck stuff or “event” foods, with a heavy emphasis on baked goods.

Likewise, there’s commonly overflow of extra food in the docs’ lounge.

Add in special holiday goodies and you have a recipe for disaster for healthy eaters/dieters.

There was a “free” holiday meal offered in the cafeteria today, which I avoided. A good thing too, as I hear there were first graders serenading visitors with Xmas carols. :eek::smack:

Ya gotta be strong. :o

I decided age might be encroaching on my outlook a few years ago when hearing a radio ad for a “gentleman’s club” which went on and on about their fantastic women/exotic dancers and then mentioned a 40-foot buffet. My mind instantly snapped to attention - wow, a 40-foot buffet! :slight_smile:

I remember my father telling me that when he was a kid, he was told not to accept food when offered, even if he was starving. I never understood the reason for this.

These days, I’m never in a situation when I’m offered free food, but I have to admit to pigging out at a buffet. I’ll go back for 2nds or 3rds, plus dessert. But lately I don’t eat out, because I’m trying to lose weight.

I don’t generally overeat food just because I don’t have to pay for it, but I will overeat food because it tastes good.

I used to overeat just because the food was free. As noted above, the student years were hungry years, and I remember replacing a couple of meals a day with coffee, especially in the winter, because a) it made me feel less hungry and b) I didn’t have a coat - just a fleece - so it also kept me warm during the trek across campus. Life is much more plentiful now, as is my ass.

At work I will have left out leftover food after lunch since I’ll be getting hungry around then and it’s cheaper than getting something from the snack machine. If there’s a lot of it yeah I’ll overeat but it’s still cheap and just as good for you as junk food.

Other situations, not so much. I’ll avoid most sample-offering places because I don’t want to encourage them to take up space that usually causes traffic jams. If it looks good and the servers aren’t too pushy I try some once every few years.

I eat my share. It’d be impolite not to.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

yes, I tend to overeat when there is food at work. For example, this week we had Christmas breakfast at a staff meeting. I am not used to eating in the morning so after I loaded up my plate, I found I was full after some bacon and two sausage biscuits. I was embarrassed to throw away so much food…

Are you Asian, particularly Japanese by chance?

I posted this on another thread that I picked up the habit (my parent’s don’t know where or from whom) of always refusing things, especially food when first offered and even more so if I’m one of first being offered and it looks like there may not be enough to go around to everyone. My parents would say “He’s so Japanese!” and their friends would agree.

It’s part of that odd “You shouldn’t have”, “it’s nothing” parry that’s supposed to go on when someone gives you something, especially a gift.

Them: “I got you something.”
Me: “Oh, you shouldn’t have.”
Them: “Oh, it’s nothing” (no matter how expensive it is).
Me: “Really, you shouldn’t have”
Them: “It’s really nothing, just something small” (no matter the size).
Me: “Okay, thank you so much!”

Then you’re supposed to open the gift and and ohh and ahh of it. (no matter how bad it is)

The funny thing is my parents always told me to always take something when first offered or else they may not offer again, at that time or in the future.

I don’t know what the Mandarin equivalent is, but in Cantonese, the formal way to say “You’re welcome”, “mm sai hak hei” translates to “no need to thank (me)” or “you’re too kind/polite”.