? As a Mindful Eating teacher, I often work with clients who feel guilty about not finishing all of the food on their plates, even when they are full. We spent time working on exploring our past conditioning and how sometimes it may feel that we have to finish everything “because there’s starving children!” in some country that was usually invoked by a parent or whoever else was in charge of your meals.

The thing is, you DO NOT have to finish everything on your plate. You can save some for later and you can also feed the compost bin. One of the best teachings I ever learned from my own Buddhist mindful eating teacher was simply this: “The compost loves your leftovers.”

It took a while to sink in that I didn’t have to join the clean plate club. The tight tendrils of the past can have such a hold on us and I was a kid who was forced to sit at the table and eat enormous amounts of food by my mother. Sometimes, it would be near bedtime before I could finish and that certainly created a lot of habits that I followed throughout much of my life. 

But through continual practice of learning how to give myself portions that I wanted and the freedom to leave food on my plate, I slowly learned to divest from the clean plate club and eat however much I wanted. If there is food leftover, it either goes in the fridge or in the compost bin and each time I choose to feed myself however much I want, it feels like a win. What will it take for you to let go of the pressures of the clean plate club?