If you can relate to any of the following, then perhaps this post will shed some light on your situation.
- Do you feel compelled to eat every morsel off of your plate
- Do you ever succumb to peer or family pressure when it comes to deciding what you want to eat
- Do you feel guilty for not eating everything that was served to you
My clients are often invited to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings as they regard the food on their plate. In this group, some have reported feeling confusion, guilt, self-doubt, and even depression as they were trying to end a meal. Imagine a grown adult who still has it wired that kids are starving in third-world countries, ergo he must polish off the entire plate of sweet potato fries. It is useful to stare down those erroneous and illogical beliefs.
First things first: cleaning your plate does nothing to help the starving kids. If you want to help the starving kids, find a charity whose values you resonate with. Send money or donate time to help the kids have a better life.
What about when others expect that you partake? Try this experiment. Remind yourself it is your body, your mouth, your life, and your preferences. It is life-altering to get in touch with what you know would provide nourishment for your body, and what would help you enjoy higher levels of health. Gently breaking away from expectations of others will set you free. It might be hard in the beginning to just say no thank you. But when you ask yourself what would taste great and make you feel alive, it might be different than what others expect for you to eat.
The feeling of not enough that comes up toward the end of a meal is the trigger for eating more than you need. Going beyond comfortably full will pack on the pounds, especially if this behavior is repeated often. Eating food because someone sticks a muffin under your nose when you are not hungry is a habit worth modifying. Having a drink to be more social when what you really desire is sparkling water is another example of how you can be more aware and more deliberate in your choices.
Being proactive regarding your body and your health is the road to vitality. Taking responsibility for how you want to look and feel may require that you get firm about your own decisions and let others know. This might require some adjustment period, but it will be worth it over the course of your long and vibrant life.
With love and encouragement,
Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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