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Fifteen Cheerios

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I counted them. 15 cheerios, floating around in my bowl. I spooned them up about five at a time, and dropped them in the trash. Then, I poured the last 1/4 of a cup of milk or so down the drain, rinsed my bowl, and set it on the sink to be washed.


I measured my cereal this morning. 50 grams of cheerios, 4 oz of milk, and a cut up banana for good measure. It's a magic breakfast, one my mom used to make for me as a child, and it occured to me that it's the perfect post-workout breakfast. Plus, it just plain tastes good.

Well, I ate my cereal, and then, at the end, with just a few lone cheerios floating around in my bowl, I realized something.

I was full.

Now, once upon a time, I'd have eaten those fifteen cheerios. I'd have turned the bowl up, and finished off the milk. Not because I was hungry, but because they were there.

But now? I'm not a garbage can, and I shouldn't treat my body like it is. So what, it was just fifteen cheerios. That's literally not even enough to register on my food scale. But I didn't *want* them! My body was telling me "Hey, I'm full, thanks!" So, I decided that I wasn't going to eat them. I put those fifteen cheerios in the trash... not my stomach.

Sure, it wouldn't have made a difference calorie-wise. I'm not going to get fat eating fifteen cheerios and a fourth of a cup of milk. But that's not the point. I'm trying to reorder the way I think about food. Food is fuel. I LOVE food, don't get me wrong. I'm a TOTAL foodie... but when my body is telling me I'm done, I have to listen to it, because it's smarter than my brain is.

So I do. This is a major thing for me. And let's suppose I did this every day for a year, eating those fifteen cheerios and the fourth of a cup of milk. How many bowls of cheerios would I have eaten without having to?

I challenge you, my friends, to STOP cleaning your plate. Stop treating your body like a garbage disposal. Even if it's just a little, when you're done, you're DONE. Listen, and stop. Don't worry about the minuscule portions left over. Mom and grandma were wrong... cleaning your plate isn't something to be proud of!

And moms, I know you. You've been known to finish off your kid's plates when they're done, just to keep that food from going to waste, haven't you? I have. Well, stop it. Remember that your body is your temple, your only one, the thing you need to get from age 0 to your deathbed. You end up wasting the food anyway, because what does our body do with the food you eat that you don't need? That's right. Metabolizes it right into fat for storage. So instead of the trash can, it's on your hips now.

Stop treating your body like a landfill. It's better than that. YOU are better than that. You deserve BETTER.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You inspired me to not eat the dregs of the rice pudding last night. Way to Spark!
    2094 days ago
  • KRISTIN9924
    emoticon That is fantastic! Being a member of the clean plate club is a hard habit to break.
    2095 days ago
    I totally agree. I have spent too many years as a member of the clean plate club.
    2095 days ago
    That was a landmark action on your part. I havaea been holding for six years not, and I still eat more when I'm not hungry some of the time. It's a hard habit to change.

    2095 days ago
  • JENMC14
    I am totally guilty of eating off my kids' plates, especially the wee one, she rarely finishes her dinner. I hate seeing food go to waste, knowing I'm lucky just to have it! I do try my best to track it if it's more than just a bite or two of leftover veg, though. i've also gotten better about putting it in the trash, but damn, I get a little pang of guilt every time I do.
    2095 days ago
    I'm one of those people who hates wasting food, reason being I'm a student who doesn't make a lot of money. Wasting food=wasting money! At the same time though... your health is more important. I'm proud of you for not eating more than your body needed. 15 cherrios and 1/4cup of milk may not sound like much, but you are right, it all adds up!
    2095 days ago
    It's always good to listen to your body !
    Good for you !
    2095 days ago
  • MPLANE37
    Attitude is probably the single most correlated parameter with success. By assuming the right attitude, you are setting up yourself for success. Good for you!
    2096 days ago
    Excellent blog! You've learned something very valuable!

    The 1 thing I'd like to add is that if you find yourself becoming full with a little left over every day for a week, start giving yourself less in the first place. If you've been having 1 cup of cereal, try 3/4 cup or even just leave just a little empty space in that cup when you measure it. Over time your eyes will be retrained to the new portion sizes and you won't want as much to start and won't have as much to finish. Many people are afraid of finishing what they have and wanting more - if they're still hungry they can drink a cup of water, eat some fruit, or just wait a few minutes and see if the hunger passes when the stomach realizes it's full.

    You're doing great - keep it up!
    2096 days ago
    The clean plate club membership was the first thing to go, for me. I find it hard at restaurants, since the food is so expensive. Luckily for me, my boyfriend is a garbage disposal and never, ever has weight problems so he eats my leftovers for me. Nothing goes to waste and he was probably going to get seconds anyway.
    2096 days ago
    That is so like my wife. I don't care how small a portion she has, she always ends up with a bite or two left over and says, "I just can't eat anymore, you want it?"

    In the past, I was always the wife's and kid's trashcan since I was raised on a Farm and it is sacrilegious to waste food, especially meat. As I always tell them, an animal gave it's life so we could eat and be nourished. So I shed a tear for any meat that is thrown into the can.

    Now the kids are out of the house and my wife does better at portion control, but she still leaves that bite and offers it to me. Most the time, I just tell her that it is not in my plan so she'll just have to throw it. But sometimes, I still finish it up for her if it is really small. I truly do hate waste.
    2096 days ago
    Oh clever you. It's so hard to abandon those eating habits instilled into you as a child.
    2096 days ago
    Good job! I'm guessing your parents were part of the clean plate generation? My friends who were raised that way still have a really hard time with it.

    My parents NEVER made me clean my plate; they just saved whatever was left for later, knowing that SOMEONE would get hungry and want it later emoticon Rarely did food get thrown out or go to waste. Initial portions were smaller at my house, though, compared to my friends' houses, so more often we ended up asking for seconds - which we got. Maybe it was Asian mentality? I think I still do that - dinner is usually served on a salad plate or in a cereal bowl rather than the full sized dinner plate.
    2096 days ago
  • MSGO72
    Great post!
    2096 days ago
    Such a good reminder. I know I fall prey to the 'clean your plate' mentality often, and I generally either don't notice it happening or I'll stare at those last few bites, think 'shiz, I don't wanna eat this' and shovel it down anyway.

    I am not a garbage can.
    2096 days ago
    Circa 1955 as a child, money was tight and food was not to be wasted. My mother insisted we eat every morsel on our plates. Always. Every meal. Even the foods we despised. As I would sit there, a little pile of stone-cold lima beans taunting me, I learned a valuable life lesson: today I can swallow a throatful of pills with 1 swig of water!

    And by the way, lima beans are NEVER served in my home. Ever.

    So, dear Spark Friend, you got me on this one. It's much less stressful for me to serve up a smaller portion to begin with and take more than it will ever be to stand up and walk away from the table with food left on my plate. emoticon
    2096 days ago
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