Are you one of those people that eats everything on your plate no matter what? I’m a former member of the Clean Plate Club myself. Actually, I often had second helpings at meal time. You can say I was a member of the Two Clean Plates Club ;). It didn’t matter if I was hungry or full. I just ate what was in front of me, and then some. I started my journey to transform my relationship with food and my body because I knew I was overeating and overstuffing. Sometimes when I was hungry, I felt empty. Not just physically, but emotionally. When I was full or even very full, I felt calm and a little sedated. These emotional causes and side effects of my overeating created a very well-ingrained habit that was in place for many years. It took me a while to break this habit, but after trying and failing a few times, I found a practice that made a big difference. Try this exercise to eat just enough and leave every meal satisfied:
- Sit down to eat your meal when you are hungry. Please notice the two important things: Sit down to eat. Eat when you are hungry.
- Create the intention that you are going to eat mindfully. Eat your meal slowly.
- Put your fork down occasionally to check in with your body. Drop your awareness to your belly and notice.
- When you have come to that point when you have moved past no longer feeling hungry and begin to feel satisfied, PAUSE. Promise yourself that you are going to temporarily set your food aside for 15 minutes. After that time, you can freely and without guilt, eat what’s left on your plate. Wrap up any remaining food, whether it’s one bite or 10 bites, and put it away.
- After 15 minutes, check in with your belly. Are you hungry? Does the idea of finishing or eating more of your meal appeal to you? If so, sit down and eat. If not, save your remaining food for another time.
People overeat for a lot of different reasons. You may find that overeating has become a habit you would like to break. Stopping overeating takes awareness, patience, and practice. Try this exercise when you eat your next meal, and you will be well on your way to honoring your body and yourself in a very powerful and loving way.