I have found myself "breathing" at dinner each night this week. Of course, I breathe all the time, but this is a special breath. It is the subtle, but deep, breath you take when your hunger is satisfied. That's the point that you should stop eating because you are no longer hungry.
I was never made to clean my plate while I was growing up, but I can't stand leaving food on my plate now that I'm an adult. Other than greedy gluttony, I don't know why I've developed this habit. But I have it now and it is a hard one to break.
I've learned that I consistently put too much on my plate. Not a lot, around 1/4 to 1/2 cup, but it's definitely enough to add up over time. By stopping when I'm full, I have consumed about three fewer cups of food this week that I would have eaten otherwise. I keep telling myself that the food will still be there if I want it later; sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
I have also rearranged how I eat, consuming my favorite parts of the meal before anything else. I always used to eat salad first, but I'm saving it for the last thing to eat because I'm more likely to stop eating when I'm full when salad is all that remains. I don't even dress it unless I'm about to eat it because seeing it with a Tablespoon or two of my tasty semi-homemade ranch dressing would tempt me to eat it even if my hunger is satisfied.
I'm glad that I can hear what my body is saying and that I'm listening. And I'm pretty amazed at just how little I actually need (want is another matter!) to eat before I feel satisfied. Seriously, one night I only ate half of a stuffed red bell pepper and 1/4 cup of a delicious barley & mushroom side dish before I was full. I still had half of my dinner left on my plate. I'm very happy that I have an abundance of plastic containers for storing leftovers because I've been using them a lot this week!
All this isn't to say that I've been perfect because I haven't been. I ignored that special breath at lunch once and kept shoveling food in my pie-hole. I still didn't clean the plate though because I began to feel uncomfortably full after eating a few more spoonfuls of what can only be described as Sloppy Joe Salad. I wonder now if this is how I always felt after eating and I just didn't notice it? If so, that's really sick and I'm glad that I'm taking steps to stop this self-destructive behavior of over-eating.
I sure hope the scale reflects my efforts at my next weigh in. . .