“Eat everything on your plate because there are starving children in Africa!” How many of us heard this growing up? The guilt-ridden command from our parents, even if well-intentioned, caused problems for many of us. We became trained to eat everything on our plates, even when full, leaving us to feel stuffed and a little out of control with food. Our parents didn’t realize this, but they were initiating us into the Clean Plate Club.
Trying to give up your membership? Getting out of the Clean Plate Club can feel as difficult as breaking a gym membership or timeshare purchase. You’re stuck. But it is possible and there is hope. Here are 5 tips for working toward ditching your membership to the Clean Plate Club.
1. Avoid Setting Yourself Up
When we are ravenous it is near impossible to eat slowly or to stop when comfortably full. When we enter a meal overly hungry our biology is screaming “Eat fast, eat a lot, and don’t eat a salad!”. This is because our blood sugar has dipped and now we are needing to do more than simply maintain a nice, even blood sugar. Now we are in recovery mode because we waited too long and our bodies want to recover the blood sugar and homeostasis ASAP.
Dinner seems to be when most folks are experiencing this disadvantage. The remedy? An afternoon snack that will keep you feeling even until dinner. This might mean keeping a box of granola bars in your car for emergencies so that when you enter the restaurant or your home for dinner, you feel like YOU are in the driver’s seat and can navigate the meal with more intention. When we begin eating a meal with the disadvantage of low blood sugar, we don’t have a fair shot at stopping when we feel comfortably satisfied.
Learn to trust your “gut” instinct and more tips to healthier eating: