I, like many of us, was taught to “clean my plate” as a child, so I would often end up overeating and then feel miserable. My portion of food was chosen for me by my mother, who perhaps didn’t take into account the fact that children’s stomachs are smaller than adult’s. Also, as an adult I would eat too quickly on my lunch break. Because I ate so fast, I’d get the signal that my stomach was full way past the point that I should have stopped.
I’ve read that it takes 20 minutes after you are full for your brain to send you that signal. In those twenty minutes it is possible to eat way more than you need. Then you’ll feel terrible. But by eating slowly you have a good chance of getting the signal in time. Also, it doesn’t matter if you “feel full” yet or not. You know that you have just eaten a whole meal, so stop. The feeling will come. We have to retrain ourselves how to eat after years of treating ourselves badly.
I’ll share some tricks that I’ve learned. I’ve learned to cut a frozen dinner in half after it is cooked and put the remainder in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ve added an apple and some nuts to my lunch so that I’m getting some variety. I also divide a meal at a restaurant as soon as I get it, taking the rest home. I try to eat slowly, chewing each bite well. It requires a lot of discipline to eat slowly after years of wolfing things down
I try to get less at buffets. Just because it is “all you can eat” doesn’t mean it is all you should eat. Sure, you’ve paid for as much as you can eat. But there is a hidden cost. If you eat 4 plates of food, you are going to gain a lot of weight. For some people who are trying to be mindful about their weight, buffets are too much temptation. However, I like buffets because there is a lot of choices and a lot of vegetables. Stick with colorful food and you can’t go wrong.
I try to eat slowly at buffets, but it is harder because I haven’t halved my food. When I notice that I’m looking at my plate and thinking that there is still a lot of food left that I have to finish, I take note that I’ve gotten too much and try to get less next time. I’ve also noticed that when I unconsciously push back from my plate, I’m full. I’m trying to notice this sign from my body as a clue it is time to quit. While I don’t want to be wasteful with food, I also want to make sure that I don’t eat more than I need.