You Can’t Waste Food! How to overcome the belief you have to eat all the food on your plate.

You Can’t Waste Food! How to overcome the belief you have to eat all the food on your plate.
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How many times have you heard

 “Eat everything on your plate because there are starving kids in Africa”

or “You can’t have dessert before you finished everything on your plate”.

It’s been programmed into most of us so much that now that the thought of not eating everything on our plates makes us feel bad.

Either we feel guilty for being wasteful when there are people in need, or  the back of our minds we know it is straight up wrong to waste food.

Here is the thing. Overeating is or never will benefit anyone who is going without food right now. The only person it is negatively affecting is you and anyone else you are passing this belief on to.

When you start learning to eat slower, and really pay attention to when you are full, you will begin to see that you actually serve up way too much food on your plate in the first place. Just like everything else you are doing, this is a process that you will begin to improve on bit by bit.

As you know there are serving recommendations for the quantity of food we eat. I remember when I started to pay attention to these. For example, I try to buy fish that is already in the correct portions. The thing is, in the past, I would always look at it and think “There is no way that is going to be enough” so I would purchase extra.

Resturaunts these days also perpetuate the notion that our normal serving should be large, because when you look at the portion sizes of our ancestors, you begin to realize that in today’s food industry, larger portions mean more dollars in extra food sold. So like good little consumers, we pile the food high onto our plates at home, just like we see the resturaunt doing and like we see in all the TV commercials.

I mean, how many times have we eaten the right proportion of something and still been hungry. But that was before. Before when you would eat fast and you were not really paying attention.

Here is how I trained myself to begin to see that I needed to eat a lot less than I thought I wanted, and the good news is, you CAN do this too.

Firstly, I went about my normal routine of heaping up the food on my plate. It is funny that for some reason I always had to have at least two of everything. For example, if I was going to eat an orange, I would not have one orange, I would always cut up two. Same with hamburgers, steaks, well pretty much everything. I would have two of them. Not that I needed two or was hungry enough for two, just that two was my default.

What I started to do was pay attention to what I was eating. This meant slowing it down, actually tasting the food and chewing it really well. Before I would eat so fast that I barely chewed my food, I doubt I ever really stopped to fully taste and appreciate it and by the time I did realize I was full, I had eaten way to much and I was feeling stuffed.

What this showed me was that I didn’t actually need all that food I was putting on my plate. The point of eating was to satisfy my hunger, and I could do that with much less than I thought.

From this point on I started serving myself less.

The other thing I sarted paying attention to, was the serving sizes. With this, it was a simple experiment.

I didn’t go in to it thinking, “This is all I am going to eat”.

That mentality immediately would have set up a belief system that I was going to end up hungry at the end of eating because I would be thinking I didn’t have enough food. I wanted to avoid that because that is when I go into over eating mode.

What I did instead was serve up my meal with the thought of, “I want to see if this does actually fill me up. If it doesn’t then I have the choice to eat more until I am full”.

This mental change reassured me that if I was hungry, I could still have more… but let’s just see first.

For me, the feeling of being hungry and not having anything to eat was one of the worst feelings in the world. It came from my childhood. And then from the size I was. As I mentioned before, what is logical and what we believe are quite often two very different things.

With those thoughts in mind, I would sit down to eat in the same fashion as before but being mindful… and honestly, most of the time the portions were enough to fill me up.

Just a little change that can make a big difference.

Now it is your turn…

When you first start out paying attention to your eating, serve up only what you feel comfortable eating. If you go into the meal thinking you will be hungry even after you have eaten everything then that is exactly what you will be. Hungry. Why? Because that is the belief you have and your mind always wants you to be right.

Now sit down to eat. Eat slowly. Really chew your food well. Enjoy it fully. As you do this pay attention to when you begin to start feeling full, because when you start to feel full chances are you ARE actually full, but your mind and stomach have not caught up with each other yet.

At this point you have a few choices. Yes, I said “choices”. If I was to just say “do this” and you did and it didn’t feel right, well you would feel guilty or you start making excuses. This whole journey is about you having the power to make choices. You are in charge!

Back to the point. You have a few choices. You can continue to eat the rest of the meal. Let’s face it, no one will stop you and that is what you would normally do. If you do this. No guilt. Just pay attention to how you feel as you eat the rest. Are you starting to feel a little sick from overeating? Are you still enjoying the meal or simply eating out of habit or stress? Pay attention. It is your decision from this point on how you choose to feel.

Your next choice is to stop eating and put the plate away from you. If you are sitting at the table with other people who are still eating, you don’t have to be rude and leave, but you will want to move the plate away from right in front of you. If it’s there right in front of you, chances are you will pick at it. Move it away from your line of sight. If you really want to finish it after a while go ahead but if you really don’t FEEL the need, leave it and do something else with the left overs.

Your next choice is to stop eating and put the rest of the food into a container to eat later. This way you are not wasting it and you are not over eating. You have choices again when it comes to this. You can put the leftovers in the fridge or you can put them in the freezer.

The reason I am telling you this is because when I first started doing this, I would put the leftovers in the fridge and I would then eat them a little later because it was there and I still felt like I HAD to eat it. Then I started to put it in the freezer because that extra step to heat it up, was enough to stop me a little.

Another trick If you enjoy eating out, is to have your experience during the lunch hour instead of at dinner time. Lunch portions in restaurants are usually smaller than later in the evening. You will still probably want to take some home with you. Plus, lunch entrees are also usually less expensive. A win/win in my book.

Your next choice is to throw the rest out or feed it to the pet. Do this the moment you know you are full and before you can second guess or give into the belief that you just have to eat it. Chances are you will not wrestle your dog for the rest of your food or fish it out of the bin.

These are some of the choices I used, but what you choose it up to you. It is what feels right for you at the time. Remember, no guilt.

Here is what you do at your next meal. Serve a little less. Simple right? It is, but it’s also very powerful. You see, it is about proving to yourself that you really don’t need to eat as much as you think you do and if you keep cutting back bit by bit your mind KNOWS that yes this is enough to fill you up because that is the whole point of eating now, to be full, and that you are also not wasting food.

If you are served too much, you know now that you can put it away for later or relocate it somewhere else or give it to someone else because you know you are full and that is exactly what you want to be.

It will take a little bit of time to find you sweet spot when it comes to this and that is ok. You didn’t create these habits overnight and they will not go away overnight. Bit by bit you will get better. Remember, there is no such thing as perfect. There will be pig out days.

Something I didn’t mention earlier is the quality of the food you are eating. This is something else to consider, but at the start you don’t have to change up what you are eating, simply eat less and things will change.

This is a process of understanding yourself and how you eat. Bit by bit you will retrain yourself to what you really need and want. Take time with each bit because you are building habits for life.

At your next meal, plan now to STOP overeating.

STOP are the four steps you need to do at your next meal to help you conquer your overeating.

Slow

Taste

Observe

Practice

Step 1: Slow it downFar too often we binge eat rather than just simply enjoy our meal. We live in a world where we are so busy that we eat on the run, eat in our cars or eat in front of the television. We shovel it in so quickly it just becomes something we do without thinking about it and before we know it, we have eaten so much food that we either feel sick, are too full of regret or we are still searching for something else because we don’t think we have had enough.

It is time to start practicing mindful eating where you slow down the whole process of your food consumption.

  • Rest a little between bites
  • Put your utensils or food down in between mouthfuls
  • .Eat the portions that are right for you
  • Rest a little before you go for seconds or dessert because you might not actually want them at all
  • Enjoy the experience instead of rushing it

Step 2: Taste

 

 

 

 

It might sound like a weird thing when it comes to eating when I ask you…

“When was the last time you really tasted your food?”

“Well duh, the last time I ate”.

I’m sure you’re thinking.

Well I beg to differ. Before I started slowing down my eating and really focusing on the taste of each food, I just ate so fast I wasn’t really tasting anything. It is amazing how things you once thought were nice actually don’t taste very good at all once you slowly eat them and really begin to experience the flavor. Actually some foods I thought I enjoyed had no flavor at all.

Think of it like the judges on Master Chef for example. They take small bites and really taste the food, looking for the flavors and how they work together.

Now you don’t have to spend every meal eating like your are a judge but you do have to really taste you food and most of all…

Chew it!

By chew it I mean, really chew it. Chew your food so that you almost automatically swallow it as it is nothing but mush. This will not only give you time for you brain to catch up with your stomach in terms of feeling full but it also gives you the feeling of having eaten more food than you actually consumed.

Eating like this also takes the burden off your stomach to have to digest all those big chunks of food you swallowed without properly chewing them.

It is a win, win, win situation all around!

Step 3: Observe

 

Pay attention to the whole process, especially the way you feel. The whole point of eating is to fuel your body and satisfy your hunger.

Yes, you can get enjoyment out of it but it is never to solve another problem. Emotional eating is something you will more than likely have to conquer at some point – but for right now, observe how you are feeling when you eat.

  • How hungry were you went you started eating?
  • How full are you feeling?
  • Are you feeling good about your meal or is your stomach feeling off?
  • How do you feel a little while after your meal?

All of this stuff will become of great use to you in the future. You don’t have to change too much right now, just observe to see how you are feeling and notice that moment when you really begin to know you are full, stop eating.

Keep this in mind…

“If hunger is not the problem then food will never be the answer”

Step 4: Practice

 

You have build up these habits over a lifetime so it is going to take some practice to get the hang of changing them. Change comes after first seeing there is a problem, identifying the causes and learning what works for you.

Each of us is very different, so it is impossible to give one solution that works for everyone. You need to find out what works for you and what will become YOUR new normal.

It may not feel like it now, but bit by bit all these things add up and are working  together to help you achieve things that you once thought were an impossible dream.

Next time you plan to eat, simply practice S.T.O.P. to really gain a better understanding of the amount of food you are eating and how much less you really need to fill yourself up.

 

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