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Prepared vs. Set in Stone

Do you try to be prepared with snacks and meal planning so you don't get too hungry? If so, do you ever find that you end up eating everything you've prepared, because you feel like you should eat it after going to the trouble of getting it ready?

This is something I've been noticing about myself lately. I bring carefully thought-out snacks to work or prepare meals on the weekend to minimize my time cooking during busy weeks, and then I can slip into the mindset of finishing everything so my planning doesn’t go to waste.

It is so easy to get caught up in this, the same way I sometimes feel like I’m supposed to eat a serving

size of something. The problem is that this completely ignores where you’re at in a given moment. Maybe you’re truly hungry for all of it, or maybe half will do, or some other portion. You can't know that in advance, and if you try to act like you do, odds are you'll end up eating more than you need.

I fully recognize the challenge of this. After all, when you only have a small packaged snack, it doesn't seem like it could be overeating to finish it. And if you only have a bite or two left of a meal, why not polish it off? Wouldn't it be wasteful not to?

But there is another way to approach this. One is to remember that most of the time you can probably save the leftovers for later. And even if you can't, if you only have a bite or two left, getting rid of it isn't wasting very much. Plus, if you let yourself honor what you body is telling you, you may recognize that you don't need to prepare as much most of the time, or you could package it in smaller quantities, so you more often finish what you had set aside.

If you can do this consistently, you many find overall that you don't need as much – and even a few

bites can add up to a lot over time. The real key is to remember that you are only preparing, you are not setting in stone everything that you'll be eating.

When I remember that, I find it very freeing, because then I don't feel like I have to eat everything

when I'm not truly hungry for it. It also means that when I eat, I appreciate my food all the more and take satisfaction in finishing only what I need.

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