One of my biggest struggles with intuitive eating is the fear of leaving food on the plate. Years of dieting and a feast/famine mindset has made it difficult for me to stop eating when there’s food in front of me. But I have some helpful tips that I’m working on that might also work for you.
Eat slowly. It takes the body fifteen minutes or longer to register fullness. If you wolf down your dinner, your body doesn’t have time to realize when it has reached a nice, satisfied full zone. You’re more likely to plow through everything on your plate and pile on seconds. Wait a few minutes between servings, drink some water, put the fork down between bites. Do whatever your have to do to slow yourself down and give your body time to recognize its fullness.
Leave the serving bowls in the kitchen. If the serving bowl is right in front of you it will be easier to mindlessly pile a second helping of pasta on to your plate without stopping to think about it. If you have to get up and walk to the other room you have time to ask yourself if you really need more.
Eat from smaller plates/bowls. Look at these three cute Asian inspired bowls. One is gigantic, one is middle sized and one is a little small. Most people decide how much they’re going to eat when they load up the plate or bowl so if you go for the large bowl, you’re likely to eat more. If you go for the small bowl, however, you may feel deprived. If you feel like you’ve deprived or cheated yourself, you might be more likely to load up a second bowlful and eat more than you intended. Stick to the nice middle sized bowl unless you really aren’t very hungry. If you’re still hungry when you’re done you can always have seconds but you’re more likely to feel satisfied with less and avoid the guilt and fear that comes with leaving food on the plate.
Remind yourself that it’s ok to leave food behind. This is the hardest tip because it relies on your ability to feel ok with less. It’s entirely mental. America is a land of plenty. There will always be food if you need more later. It won’t hurt you to leave a few bites of your sandwich or even half a piece of cake. There is always more food and as long as you promise to nourish your body when it needs it, you can trust yourself to leave that last bite behind!