Have you ever studied someone else's eating habits with fascination?
You can't compare what someone does on vacation or staying with family to what they're doing at home every day. I'm a slightly different eater when I'm forced to socialize. I will eat what I'm served. I will go to the restaurant. I will participate in lunch and 2:00 and dinner at 4:30 shenanigans. I will finish your carrot cake. But that's not my every day. Snapshots of other people's food intake aren't necessarily the whole picture over time.
What's cool though, is that ability to go anywhere, eat anything, thoroughly enjoy yourself, and not end up in pain or with regrets. That is an amazing life skill and I wish I'd learned it earlier. I was always the fool on the special diet, bringing my own food, not eating what everyone else ate. In hindsight I'm pretty sure people just felt sorry for me. I don't think anyone else was going, "Wow, I wish I could have that plain salad and cup of pink glop. Isn't she awesome? What self-control..." No, I was just the weirdo on a crazy diet. LOL
I've always been fascinated with what other people eat. One of my favorite tiny subjects (like we're discussing rare birds) tends to put mayo on everything, order extra dipping sauce, get the biggest burger, definitely with cheese, but then be lucky to finish half of it. With food it's not always the "what" but the "how much". When I was struggling with weight and dieting I was usually too hung up on the "what," trying to eat "clean" foods in fussy combinations at correct times instead of just eating what I want to satisfaction and stopping. Who knew that was the secret?
In hindsight, I can see that my tendency toward being a people-watching food spy was actually a search for answers. What am I missing? How do they do it? What can I learn? I thought the answer was "out there." Other people had it, I didn't. Maybe I could copy them, or determine what I was doing wrong, or feel superior about what I was doing right. I had not yet learned the magic of "eyes on your own plate." Everything I need to know about what and how much to eat is internal. My body knows. I just wasn't listening. Those mysterious people who were eating in wildly varied ways with good results generally were listening to their own body, not to what they were supposed to eat according to diet culture.