Reality star Ruby Gettinger is an example of a personality affected by the “Finish The Food On Your Plate” syndrome. She needed hypnosis to help her overcome this problem. Her childhood trauma led her to gain up to 716 pounds in the 1990s.
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Is it a Faulty Belief System?
Do you feel strongly about wasting food? It is quite normal to feel very strongly about wasting as we are genetically programmed to conserve food.
But is it a valid belief system? You should definitely not waste food. But that should not come at the price of you storing that extra food in your thighs or bellies. The belief is faulty if it jeopardizes your well-being.
This is precisely what it does. Being forced to finish the food on your plate, you end up storing the extra calories as fat.
What about the starving children in Africa
“Finish up your food. Be thankful for the food on your plate. There are children in Africa that are starving.”
How many times have you heard this when growing up? I have heard this thousands of times. I would gladly eat every morsel of food if I knew it would help reduce starvation in Africa. I am still waiting for someone to come forward and show me how stuffing myself will help reduce starvation in Africa.
Believe it or not, there is no lack of the “finish the food on your plate” thinking in these current times.
These types of emotional blackmail have long-lasting effects on children. Even when they grow older and have the wisdom to discern the effect lingers. A child may grow up and may be wise enough to realize that the unfinished food on his plate is not going to affect the starving children in Africa. Yet there is a feeling in the gut that just overrides our logical thinking. We are emotional beings. Emotions win against logic every time.
Finish The Food On Your Plate
This is further exacerbated by the belief system ingrained into you when you were growing up. Parents may not even know that they are ingraining this faulty belief system in their children. Parents are the ones who decide on how much food they should place on the plates of their young children. How a parent knows what amount a child can eat, is anybody’s guess. Upon placing the food on the plates of their children, parents insist that the kids finish the food.
What If Your Plate Never Empties
You would be surprised to discover that you will continue to eat so long as there is food on your plate. Brian Wansink carried out a very interesting experiment with a “Bottomless Soup Bowl”. Participants were asked to consume a bowl of soup. Unknown to them, one group of participants had their soup bowls continuously being refilled via a tube under the table. This group consumed more soup. Check out this interesting experiment in one of our other articles entitled “How Do You Know When You Are Full“.
Our pre-historic ancestors did not have food in abundance as we have now. When there was famine, the they starved. When there was food available, they always tried to conserve it fearing that there would not be anymore food in the coming days. They would not have wasted a morsel of food. This is ingrained deep into your genes.
This belief actually stems from a scarcity mentality. We live in an age of abundance. There is more than enough food available. Off course the food does not reach everyone. But there is enough.
Problems With Eating Out
This problem is made worst when eating out. When having an ala-carte meal, you decide what you want to eat but someone else decides the quantity of food on your plate. The restaurant has no clue about how much you can eat. In order to be on the safe side, they just size the plate to suit the average man. Now a meal enough for an average man is just way too much for the average woman. Have you ever seen a restaurant meal that has different quantities for men and women. Even if there was such a menu, women would protest about why they are getting a smaller portion. Again our genetic programming also kicks in. We don’t want to have lesser food that the person next to us.
A buffet is a completely different experience for the average person. When seeing so much food, you have a natural instinct to fill your plate. Our ancestors would have behaved in the same way if they would have come across a buffet in those days. Once the plate is filled with food, you would probably feel guilty if you didn’t finish the food. Some people say that they do not always finish the food on their plate when at a buffet.This is true but they will definitely eat much less if they were aware of what they were doing.
The worst buffet scenario is where the restaurant reminds you not to waste. Worst still, they threaten to charge you extra for every pound of food wasted. This is the worst combination. One part of you wants to take as much food as possible and the other part of you wants to finish all the food on the plate. When you stomach is about to burst, you are reminded by the restaurant that you will be penalized for wasting.
How many of you have had the above experiences?
What ever does not end up in the trash will end up as fat in your belly
All the calories that you over eat will end up as fat. I would rather send the unfinished food into the trash than store it as fat in my body. It would cost more money and effort to lose the fat as compared to the cost of just throwing away the food.
Lets look at this problem completely out of the box. Does it make sense to finish the food on your plate and then pile more calories as fat. Does it make sense that the added fat that you carry affects your self-esteem and makes you unhappy. Does it make sense that you got to exert so much of extra effort to lose the fat. Would it not be easier to just leave the extra food on the plate?
Stop perpetuating this belief
Do not force your children to eat beyond what they are comfortable with. Let them decide when they are full. When children are hungry, they will definitely let you know. Have you seen how persistent and impatient a hungry baby is? By forcing children to finish the food on their plates, you could already be planting the seeds of weight gain. There is a growing awareness of the faulty belief of finishing the food on your plate.
Take a minute and evaluate how you deal with extra food on your plate. Do you try to finish the extra food? Is this doing any good or is this adding to the waistline?
What are your thoughts on this? Do you finish the food on your plate? Or do you finish the food and feel guilty about it afterwards?