Leave something uneaten (Renoncement)

July 28, 2010

Would you finish this?

Lorna's tribute to the Old Man of Hoy
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lee Carson

I’m pretty sure I would, if I’d already decided to eat it.  Even that knocked-over blob of whipped cream on the side would get swept up.  If i was home alone I might even lick up the crumbs. When I eat, I usually clean my plate.

A new goal : Leave Something Uneaten

I wrote on Monday that this week I’m starting to work on a new goal, “renoncement”.    The word that fits best for me is the French word that I learned almost 3 years ago from Dr Hope.  Earlier this week I  struggled with how to translate this word from French.  In fact, “renouncement” exists in English, but that’s an SAT word if I’ve ever seen one, and I don’t think I’ve ever come across it in normal life.  Basically, it comes down to “leave something uneaten” on your plate.  The French word is full of meaning, however, it’s somewhat about letting go of something that should be yours, almost, but not quite, “forsaking” — anyway, it’s a powerful concept that’s getting lost in translation….

The concept is one that needs explaining even if you can find a good definition, so here’s the explanation : leave something uneaten at each meal.  A bite, a quarter of it, most of it, a crumb, whatever.  But don’t just finish it all.  For me, this is a very powerful mindful eating concept.  It’s actually just a part of my greater goal to think-while-I-eat, which is what I aspire to be able to do, and it’s my end goal for where I think this path to Low Stress weight loss will take me – to a path of Low Stress weight MAINTENANCE where I think-while-I-eat, enjoy my food immensely, naturally make good choices, don’t sweat the treats, and exercise joyfully.

So learning to think-while-I-eat is a key goal, and there are a great many aspects to it.  It turns out  that “leave something on the plate” is the one of the “food rules” that Michael Pollan (author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and other foodie books) has included in his new book.  I recently watched him lecture on video and it made me want to read this book anyway, but for now I’ll stick with just this one task.

One task, but it’s a biggie!

A new behavior, not just breaking the old

I think it’s more than just breaking the “clean plate club” mentality.  I’m a big believer in putting focus on the positive instead of the negative.  Eating more servings of fruits and veggies, drinking more tea, etc instead of just putting focus on the negative of cutting things out.  For me at least, I find it’s much easier to change my behavior by focusing on building in a behavior I want to have, instead of trying to stop a behavior I already have.

So, instead of telling myself “don’t clean the plate” it’s infinitely more acceptable for me to focus on what I DO want to do, which is to “leave something left over”.

I’m starting with this goal this week, and I plan to make it a big focus over the coming weeks (on vacation).  Follow along, we’ll all discover how I do…

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