Quit Being A Member Of The Clean Plate Club
Were you told as a child that you had to clean your plate before you could leave the table? I was. And to make me feel guilty about not wanting to eat my food, my Mom would tell me how there were starving children who would be happy to have what I wasn't eating. While I know that is true, having me clean my plate and overeat did not help starving children.
My sister-in-law was also forced to clean her plate before leaving the table when she was a child. She remembers still sitting at the table an hour after everyone else had left it with food on her plate that she was told had to be eaten before she could get up. Like me, she eventually learned to eat everything on her plate without complaining.
Is it any surprise that both her and I now struggle with weight issues as adults? We have the thought of "I have to clean my plate" so ingrained in our heads that even when we go to restaurants and are served giant sized portions that fill us up so much that we are actually uncomfortably full, we both still clean our plates. Well, we used to. We don't anymore. We've rescinded our memberships in the "Clean Your Plate" club and it's helping our waistlines and our pocketbooks.
We still go out to eat and enjoy ourselves. And the portion sizes are still way too big because I live in the United States and somehow giant portion sizes have become the norm at restaurants even though those portions meant for one could easily satisfy two or three people. But now when my sister-in-law and I go out to eat we plan on bringing home half our food for lunch or dinner the next day. I ask for a take home container as soon as I get my food so I'm not as tempted to stuff myself. My sister-in-law does the same thing.
And neither of us no longer eats food we don't like just to be polite or to not waste it. We decided it is much better to waste a little food than to compromise our health by constantly overeating and have huge medical bills to pay later on. That would be a bigger waste, both of money and of our quality of life. So when we go out to eat and order a dessert to share and find after the first bite that it's not nearly as delicious as we thought it would be, we put down our forks and don't finish it. We no longer waste our calories on foods we don't love. When we go to someone's home for a meal and try a food someone has prepared, we no longer force it down just to be polite. We adhere to our one bite rule. We try one bite. If we don't like it, we don't finish the food and don't make a big deal of it.
We have also both instilled better eating habits in our children. Although her children are still young, mine are all in college and none of them have weight issues. I never forced them to clean their plates as children much to the dismay of my mother. The rule at my house was the one bite rule. They had to try one bite of any new food. If they didn't like it, they didn't have to eat more, but they had to try it. There were some times when we were by my mother's house that my kids left so much food on their plates and I felt so guilty that I finished their food for them! That was not healthy for me and I forced myself to stop doing that.
I'm happy to say my children do not have issues with food. They eat healthy most of the time and do not struggle with their weight. When they are full they quit eating even if they have food on their plate. I have taught them to not feel guilty. To them going to a restaurant and being able to bring home part of their meal for the next day is the best part of going out to eat.
If you have a membership card in the "Clean Your Plate Club" rip it up now and don't feel guilty about it. It's not healthy for you to overeat. The medical problems you will likely face later on will be much more costly than not eating a small amount of food now.