The Clean Your Plate Club

Our natural human tendency is to fill our plate up with food and then eat all of it. We eat all of it because as a kid, our moms told us to eat every last bite (not sure the connection between people starving in Africa so that means I need to stuff my face, but my mom knew that connection or at least said that often enough that I believed she did).

The "clean your plate" behavior was instilled in me and probably in you, too. The message is ingrained. Now as an adult I still clean my plate – every last little bite. Changing that habit for a day is a no-brainer. But changing it permanently? Now that’s hard. That is why so many people who diet gain their weight back. It's why people rarely follow up on their New Year’s resolutions past January. It is also why it is so difficult to reach your goals for long.

So why change the behavior? Why not change something else?

Think about it. You’ve tried other plans but the voice inside your head still shouts that you need to ‘Clean Your Plate’. Consider changing something else to seek the results.

  1. Use a smaller plate. Smaller portions will fill a smaller plate. Eating less food while still cleaning your plate.
  2. Only fill your plate once. Many of us serve our meals family style with bowls of extra food tempting us to have seconds while we haven’t even finished our first round yet. Try either making just enough for your family to have a serving, or serve it like a restaurant. Dish out your meal and then put the rest away for another time.
  3. Change up what you put on your plate. Start planning your meal by asking, “What protein am I going to have?” and then “What vegetables am I going to have?”. Starting with protein and vegetables is going to massively increase how filling any meal is. You then add some healthy fats and if there is room you can hit it with some carbohydrates afterwards.

The “Clean Your Plate Club” is important to me. Without realizing it or actually meaning to, I’ve taught my kids the same principle. But its not entirely bad. It only becomes bad when we overstuff ourselves just because its there.

My whole point is to become more aware of what you are eating, why you are eating it, and how much you actually need.

To Your Best Health,
Coach Nancy

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