Weight Loss and “Gone with the Wind”

There’s a great scene in “Gone with the Wind” about eating at a food fest. You know, a food fest like the big barbecue at Twelve Oaks. 

Scarlett had her head set on Ashley Wilkes, but Ashley had his heart set on Melanie Hamilton. But, that didn’t stop the firey Scarlett from going after Ashley at the barbeque where she was going to yum it up with Ashley. 

However, in a classic scene, Mammy talked some sense into the love-stricken Scarlett, and Scarlett changed her eating plans. Here’s the scene. 

I love food fests. I’ve been to some mighty fine political rallies for my State Senator friend, Bill Jackson, where plenteous, good Georgia barbeque with all the sides was served. I’ve officiated weddings where barbeque was catered for the guests. Then, there were the covered dish after church dinners where I served as pastor with Southern fried chicken, every casserole you can imagine, and a dessert table with banana pudding, red velvet cake, and my favorite, carmel cake, and a host of other sweet temptations. I enjoyed it and enjoyed lots of it. After all, the pastor is expected to eat some of everything especially Aunt Mae’s delicious fried apple and fried peach tarts. 

When you are invited to a food fest like a big barbeque or a party, how do you respond?  How do you keep from overeating? How do you keep from binging like I used to do?  How do you maintain eating smaller healthy portions?  

Mammy has the answer. She persuaded Scarlett to eat before the grand barbeque event in spite of Scarlett’s protest. Mammy said, “I ain’t gwine let you go to John Wikes’ and eat like a field hand and gobble like a hog!”  

That’s great advice!  Eat healthy small portions  BEFORE you go to a food fest. That way, you won’t “eat like a field hand and gobble like a hog” when all the delicious food and aromas hit you like honey attracts Winnie the Pooh.  In other words, go to the food fest with a full stomach. That way, your cravings will be satisfied, and they won’t get out of hand to produce a guilty feeling afterward. 

Scarlett didn’t need to lose weight. She had the perfect figure but ate before the barbeque to curb her appetite because it wasn’t proper for young society women in the mid 19th century to gorge themselves at such an event. But for us who are trying to lose weight, the overriding reason not to binge is our issues with food and weight gain. 

Chantel Hobbs relates in her very helpful book, Never Say Diet, about the issue that she had with parties and the fest food they always served. 

She was baking cookies one Sunday afternoon while her husband watched a Miami Dolphins game. She heard the announcer say that an offensive lineman came out of training camp out of  shape. He was six foot four and weighed 320 pounds. She heard her husband say, “Would you look at that guy!  I can’t believe he got so fat. What a lazy bum!”

Those words were like a knife in her heart because she weighed 330 pounds on her five foot nine frame – ten more than that lineman. She was bigger than anyone on the Dolphins team. She was twenty-eight years old. 

That was a wake-up call for Chantel. She began eating healthily and exercising. The pounds slowly and steadily started dropping off. 

Then came the major challenge of a cookie fest. She had been invited to a party at a friend’s house. She writes, “I knew there would be cookies – my weakness. It was a nightmare. Every homemade cookie recipe I loved had been made. I sat there and started to shake.”

She rationalized, “What’s one cookie, right?”  But, she knew that one cookie was never enough. She did some self-talk reminding herself that her addiction to sweets had not been broken and that she had made a promise to herself not to cross that line. 

She left that night without eating a crumb. She had victory and had taken a major step toward gaining control over her life!  And, that success empowered  her to continue making good decisions when invited to food fests. 

There were many other food fests she went to,  and she was victorious at each one. She writes, “It’s stressful. My suggestion is to eat healthy food (like Scarlett did) before the event. If you show up hungry, you’ll start picking, and soon you will have picked up a crazy amount of calories. It’s easy to break down quickly. But don’t skip these events just because you fear the food. That’s just another way of letting food rule your life.”  

Eating before a food event is a tried and proven way to avoid binge eating when surrounded by delicious offerings. Ask Scarlett. Ask Chantel. Stay committed. Remain true to yourself. Choose to eat healthy before you go. You will be glad you did and pat yourself on the back after it’s over rather than leaving with a truckload of guilt and regret. 

“Let us behave decently and not in [binging]. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:13-14). 


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