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100 Days restart - Day 18: Retrain eating habits

Jenn J

Day 18: Retrain eating habits

If you've lived by the clean-your-plate rule for a long time, you may continue to struggle with the idea of throwing food away. If so, focus on how to stop giving food so much power that you can't leave some of it behind. Remember that your weight and your health are always more important than a leftover piece of cake.

One pea at a time

If you just can't bring yourself to throw away what's left on your plate, retrain yourself gradually by leaving one small piece of food at a time. Jan was raised in a family that had strict rules about never throwing food away. As an adult, she couldn't let go of this pattern, even though it caused her to overeat.

One evening at dinner, Jan decided to leave one green pea on her plate. Each of the next several nights, she left a little bit of food on her plate, increasing the amount each time by the size of a pea. Eventually, she broke her habit of feeling anxious or guilty if she didn't clean her plate.

The restaurant trap

Starting at home, intentionally leave some food behind at every meal. Once you're comfortable doing this, apply the same concept to restaurants meals.

Of course, you can always take leftover food home and use it for a meal the next day. But be careful with this because it doesn't always accomplish what you planned.

Restaurant meals are often higher in fat and calories than what you might ordinarily eat. When you take your leftovers home, you often end up eating excess calories twice instead of once.

If you want to get two meals out of your restaurant food, make sure you select items that match your healthy eating goals. On those times when you decide to eat great food that's not quite as healthy, enjoy the taste of your meal while you're at the restaurant, then leave the rest behind.


Think about all the places you've heard messages related to cleaning your plate. Recall any family members, school lunches, restaurant staff, even strangers who glared if you left food behind. Tell yourself these old clean-your-plate messages no longer apply to your life.

In your notebook, write some "Never clean your plate" rules that show your new attitude.

In your notebook, write some "Never clean your plate" rules that show your new attitude.

  Lyn💛 Replied:

I think I have done pretty well at coming around to the realization that I don't need to eat everything on my plate, it is more of a waste on my body than it is in the trash.

  flower Replied:

I grew up with the saying " waste not want not " and I applied it to the way I ate , not leaving anything on my plate to be wasted. Now I put less on a smaller plate or bowl and come away totally satisfied .
My husband and I will at times split a meal at a restaurant and it is plenty for each of us

  Lyn💛 Replied:

My husband and I could save a fortune if we ate any of the same foods. LOL

  Jenn J Replied:

My retraining focuses on sugar intake. For decades I would eat candy in excess. (A full bag of Twizzlers in one day.) Now my focus is about enjoying the sweet treat I choose to have. I'm not denying myself candy, just very aware of how much and when.

Today I spend 105 minutes doing yard work. After my shoulder surgery my stamina disappeared. I'm slowly rebuilding that along with healing my shoulder. Today was the first time since last summer that I've done any yard work. My shoulder did quite well. It's tired of course. I was able to use my hedge trimmer, but had to keep switching which hand was doing the movement and which hand held the weight. Both were a chore for my arm. Since I did all that I wanted to, and a bit more, I'm allowing myself a treat. I got the holiday KitKat mini's when I was shOpping. Half a serving (2 small bars instead of 4) keeps me within my sugar intake, and I'm making myself take small bites and pause between bites. This way I'm really enjoying the treat.

This is the beginning of my low sugar life plan, and so far I think it's working out. I'm losing weight, and the desire for sugar/candy. I know I have a LOOOONG road ahead of me, but at least I'm on the road for this journey.

  flower Replied:

Jenn J I hit a BMI of 25 this morning which surprised my socks off !! Thanks to this site and the support that is given . I can tell you that sugar laden products were my go for any reason i could come up with and they sabotaged my weight loss . I could stay within my calorie limit but the fat stayed on my body & weight loss was slow . When I keep my sugars/ carbs in the 20- 40 range my body has to burn my fat for fuel . Sugar for me is addictive and if I have a little I want more . My desire for it now is diminished if this gives you courage to continue your journey as a victorious woman ~~

  flower Replied:

Lyn ~ your humor cracks me up ~~ yea , I understand about that ~ it has been a slow transition for both of us ~ my husband used to dislike broccoli and now that I roast it with a bit of olive oil sprayed on it he eats it a least 3x / week

  Jenn J Replied:

Rjaatt, my mother did a similar food plan. Each night we made a fresh salad (washing each leaf, tearing it up, cutting up other veggies to add, and either Italian dressing or oil & vinegar), meat of some type, and a beverage. Rarely potatoes or rice, never pasta (my dad won't eat pasta at all). As a result I love salads, but always craved the carbs. So I started eating candy in grade school and just never stopped. My struggle is replacing the sweet craving in a healthy way. Right now fruit is out as it has too much sugar for what I need. So, that's why I allow myself a small sweet candy at night, and savor it.

The opinions expressed on this forum may not represent the opinions of Please consult your physician to determine the weight, nutrition and exercise levels that are best for you.