Sunday, February 28, 2010

You Eatin' That?

Lately, I've been noticing that many of my clients are having problems with leaving their kids' and husbands' leftovers on their plates. Feeling guilty for seeing food go to waste, they choose to eat the leftovers of their loved ones. For some, it seems financially irresponsible to see food get thrown out. Others think about the starving people around the world who would be grateful for that half a grilled cheese, and just can't throw out perfectly good food.

I get that. But let me tell you something. If you eat someone else's food, and you are not hungry, it is still wasted. It's not in the garbage pail, but it is in your body. And if your body doesn't need it, not only is it wasted, but you've shown more respect to the food (and the garbage pail) than you have to your body.

As women, we sometimes martyr ourselves for, what we believe to be, the greater good. The extra chicken tenders, or the uneaten half of the sandwich. As Teri Hatcher once said, if the bread burned in the toaster, her mother would eat it rather than serve it to someone else, or to waste it. Eating miserably burnt toast is not doing any good to those who are hungry, nor is it thrifty. It's believing that we aren't worth a good piece of toast. It is about our respect for ourselves and our sense of self-worth.

I love the idea of ordering one meal and sharing it with my boyfriend. He doesn't, though, so we order separately, but I'd be happy to eat off his plate. Not out of any sense of savings, but because I love him and we eat the same foods. Portion sizes are double anyway, so it makes sense. However, if he were eating something that I didn't like or want, eating what he left behind wouldn't make sense.

Eating should be both nourishing and comfortable. We should eat foods that we enjoy and that are good for us. Eating half of my son's french fries just because they are there and uneaten is not the best choice. I have done it, too many times to count. So when I share this advice with you, trust that I have been there and know from where I speak.

I was raised with the "starving children" backdrop, and the "clean plate club" was often praised in my friends' homes. Sadly, both cause overeating, stuffing, and disrespect for the signs our bodies are giving us like, Enough. Put the fork down. It's not about being thin, or being fat. It's about listening to our bodies, and loving ourselves enough to follow through with what our bodies are telling us to do.

When you eat, you control what happens. Making a conscious choice to ingest what nourishes you, and tastes good, and to stop eating when you feel satisfied, is a respectful way to eat. When we see food on the plates of others, or even ours, that is soon to be "going to waste", we can let it go and be thankful that we trusted our bodies enough to stop when we felt ready to stop, and chose not to take the "waste" into our bodies.

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