“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings” is a well-known expression. Every adult I asked had heard the expression, and I assumed that it had been around forever. However, according to Wikipedia, it was first coined in 1976 by Ralph Carpenter, the sports information director of Texas Tech, referring to a sports competition. The “fat lady” is thought to refer to the often overweight sopranos of the opera, particularly Richard Wagner’s operas, in which the soprano sings herself to death at the end of the opera.
In trying to rein in my eating, I have been thinking that more care with brachos acharonos (blessings after eating) should be a big help in curtailing or controlling compulsive overeating. How does one make brachos properly in a situation when one eats, tries (and intends) to stop but then continues? If you wait after eating something and don’t say a bracha acharona, you are implying that you are not done eating yet, that you anticipate that you will eat more. If you make a perfunctory bracha acharona, not meaning it, and then resume eating, and continue to repeat this behavior, you could be making tens of brachos a night. (This is not a halachic discussion; consult your rabbi for his guidance.) But, if you could bring yourself to make the bracha acharona with kavana (intention, concentration), you are saying that you are determined to end your eating session. If this idea could be internalized, it is possible that, even if only for a short time, “It is over when the fat lady bentches.” We could work on keeping that commitment of ending a food session. Even if this “holds” for only a short time and then eating is resumed, at least some interruption in the compulsive eating has been effected.