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Clean Plate Club

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I used to be in the clean plate club. When I was a child, my parents always told me that I needed to clean my plate. There were starving children in the world and children who didnt get enough to eat so I should make sure I eat every bit that I placed on that plate and not waste a single spoonful. If I was full while still having food on my plate there was two options: stuff it all into my mouth and swallow despite being full or have it wrapped up to be brought out for snacks, breakfast and lunch until I cleaned that plate of all the food on it.

I hated that rule. My waistline as a child hated it too. Ever expanding and my parents not seeing a connection. By the time the pattern was set, it was near impossible to overcome. Nearly all the time I polished clean whatever was placed in front of me, no matter if I was full or did not like the taste of it. If I didn't, the guilt that welled up made me an emotional wreck, leading me to go to sweet, sticky, gooey, calorie laden foods for comfort.

A vicious cycle that really only punished me.

When my own kids were born, something inside of me screamed not to ruin their relationship with food. I may be obese, but they had a chance to avoid it. Once they started eating food, when they were full, they were full. Food went in the trash instead of down their throats. They could skip meals or indulge in extra portions without negative comments. I was having a hard time escaping my demons, but I was determined not to pass it on to my children.

My mother and mother-in-law both were card carrying members of the clean plate club. It took over five years of insisting that my children could stop eating whenever they were full or skip meals entirely if they were not hungry before they realized I meant it. My children are still young and growing, but seem to have a healthy attitude, and waistline, without being denied much. They hear no to sweets and indulgences sometimes so they will have "real" food. They have developed a strong, healthy relationship with food that I never had. To them it is fuel, not comfort or a task to complete.

If you are in the clean plate club, rethink your membership. I am slowly being able to drop that club from my life. Think about a healthy relationship with food rather than worrying about waste. Most of the time, I would now rather have food become waste in the trash then add more to my waist.

Until Next Time,

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sometimes that club throws huge guilt bombs at us trying to leave!!! Still have issue with it, but have at least gotten closer to gaining my "healthy eating club" membership! That is a balanced club we all would like to be a part of.
    2058 days ago
    Great blog, thanks for posting, I have been a member of that club my whole life too and still do it. Working on cancelling my membership too, the club doesn't like it much when we try to leave though!
    2058 days ago
    What a great blog! I think many of us grew up the way you did and as a result hate "wasting" food. I've done the same as you and do not make my kids clean their plate. I try to balance letting them have treats to always saying no. I also want them to have a healthy relationship with food.

    I'm working my way to cancel my membership. However some days, it's just a nasty old habit.

    Thanks so much sharing!
    2059 days ago
    sounds like you have a good head of your shoulders!
    great job being a role model for your kids when it comes to eating!

    2059 days ago
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