Why were we thin when we were young?

OK so I wasn’t thin, my Mum used to feed us LOTS of food, but my brother and I were a ‘normal’ weight and healthy, energetic kids. Mum made sure we never missed a meal, I could learn things from my Mum. But it made me think how did we eat such big meals and stay lean? I tried to remember a typical day as an 11 year old…

A large bowl of oatmeal with sugar
Lots of buttered toast

Packed Lunch
Large slices of freshly cut bakers bread with cucumber and cheese
An apple

Full Sunday dinner with roasted chicken, potatoes and lots of vegetables
Apple pie and custard

A slice of cheese on toast or some home cooking like a rock cake with a glass of milk

Our portions were really large but the food was delicious. There was NEVER any fast food when we went out (Mum always made sandwiches) except for the occasional ice cream if we went to the zoo and we had one glass bottle of coke and one small packet of crisps maybe once a month when Mum and Dad took us out to a beer garden..

I didn’t understand how school friends would say they didn’t have breakfast. I got a little jealous of school friends who had crisps and chocolate bars in their lunch boxes and always had a bag of sweets in class. I got annoyed that Mum would NEVER let us take anything out of the cupboard to eat… 4 meals a day and “no” eating between meals!

But now when I think about it Mum knew best! Not only did she ensure we had good regular food but she averted childhood obesity AND kept her food budget down!

When I look at the 1940s way of eating I see a similarity in an actual respect for food and for 3 or 4 square meals a day to provide adequate nutrition. No snacking or grazing, it was OK to feel hungry before your next meal.

C xxxx

PS: And OH as someone just pointed out to me, WE WALKED EVERYWHERE TOO! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Why were we thin when we were young?

  1. I was a stick until I was 15 LOL But that runs in my family and then we fill out hehe But you are right—they ate differently then but they also cooked everyday which people don’t do today. Such a different lifestyle, right? xox

  2. Well, there’s hormones too, especially for us women, for whom estrogen and insulin can be only too intimately related…Mother Nature, the female canine, doesn’t give a damn about our body image and self esteem, all she thinks about is keeping us in the breeding pool! Women need about 28% body fat to maintain a lactation, according to Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, whose book Mother Nature is a very good read. Pregnancy seems to permanently rewire bodies for some of us.

    For me, the thing that dramatically changed my body was a hysterectomy when I was 36, despite my ovaries having been left intact. I went from thin as in scrawny (up to then, except when heavily pregnant or recovering from pregnancy I was so thin that people thought I was anorexic) to this curvy wench with breasts and hips and cellulite that had never been there before and that still, 17 years later, gives me a jolt when I look down and see my cleavage! “Where did THAT come from??” is my kneejerk response – hah, that gives me cause to think! Obviously I’ve never accepted this change. And now that I’m in menopause, my hormones have been wiggling about again.

    But yes, I fully agree that little to no junk food, lots of good home-cooked from scratch food, and lots of walking are a great foundation for good health

  3. I was a wartime kid so I love looking back at these recipes! Notice no dried egg though – it made great scrambled eggs and cakes but pretty disgusting in anything else. I knew no better anyway.
    Nobody was fat – or thin for that matter. Then nobody had a car (or very few), and nobody had computers. Not many washing machines either so altogether a lot more physical activity.
    Hormones are interesting – I’ve been getting the famous middle aged spread over the years, but I suppose I ‘ve been far less active as energy levels have gone down a bit? Last three years the weight has gone up because I’ve been taking medication (Prednisolone). Now that’s stopped, lost weight. So sort of proves the hormone theory – well, in this case adrenalin.
    Only other thing to add is that there were very few fridges about. And first freezer I heard of was a friend who used what he called a “conservator” – it was an old ice cream freezing machine from his shop!
    Anyway, most people shopped everyday, not Sundays of course. The famous little “corner shop” did well.

  4. As Pam has said, adults were a lot more active in those days so that explains why they were thinner than us on the whole. But, we were more active as kids too. We didn’t sit for hours on end in front of the tv or computer. We were outside playing in the street or fields, and like everybody else, walking everywhere. I think that cars must surely be the main cause of obesity in our society. The trouble is, we couldn’t walk to most of our destinations now even if we wanted to: they are all too far away. Most people worked locally, not 10-15 miles away. Hence, we have to walk on treadmills instead. Soul-destroying!

    Carolyn, I seriously recommend you get off that treadmill, and get a dog! That is the best possible motivation for getting outside to walk. Last week I went back to walking outside with the dog instead of in the gym, and do you know what, it was mind-blowing! There was so much to see, hear, feel and smell. Plus other dog-walkers to talk to. Plus, my little dog was overjoyed to have me back. She’d been going out with Dad after dark for the past few months.

  5. I have a dog and we live right out in the countryside 😉 I walk A LOT!!!! I just LOVE it! 🙂 Ever since losing enough weight so I could there has been no stopping me 🙂 xxxxxxxxxx The treadmill is simply used for my couch to 5 k training (running) as it gives me distance and fitness and time etc 😉 xxx

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