Eat Everything on Your Plate?

by Tony Yost

I don’t know about you, but I was raised to eat everything on my plate at meals. I believe the reasoning had something to do with hungry Asian youths. I was not allowed to leave the table until I had cleaned my plate. Sometimes that meant sitting there for a couple of hours waiting to see who would give in first. A couple of times I tried to sneak the remaining vegetable into the trash without being seen. I had a lot of trouble with the “without being seen” part. :(

(And now for something completely different) I was talking with my friend the other day. He now works with several people from other countries. He said they were commenting about the huge meal sizes at most restaurants. I told him I thought the restaurant industry found that larger portions were an easy way of selling more food. This, of course, meant they would make more money. And you can’t argue with that. When you go to pay the bill, you can’t say you didn’t get your money’s worth.

Ok, some of you already see where I’m going with this… If I’ve been trained to eat everything on my plate, and the restaurant delivers huge servings, then one of two things is going to happen. Either I, too, will become huge, or I will have to reverse my ingrained habit of eating it all.

The other piece of the puzzle for me is that, for business reasons, I learned to eat very fast. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to finish everything on my plate.

People well versed in science tell me that it takes 20 minutes for a full stomach to notify the brain. (It’s a good thing that it doesn’t take your fingers 20 minutes to tell your brain that they are touching a hot stove!). I don’t know why the stomach and brain have this relationship, but it comes in handy when you’re trying to finish a huge portion of food before your brain figures out what’s going on.

Ok, so to summarize… I’m given a very generous portion of food that I must completely finish, quickly. See the challenge here?

I’ve not had much luck getting the restaurants to serve me half portions (and charge me half price). My wife and I like different foods, so sharing is usually out.

So, it looks like the solution, at least for me is:

  1. Slow down, so my brain can find out that I’ve had enough in time to do something about it.
  2. After my brain figures out that I’m full, STOP EATING! Even if there is still food on my plate. (That is sooo hard).

And most importantly, I am NOT training my children they have to eat everything that gets served to them! In fact, I praise them when they quit because they are full.

How about you? Can you relate?

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