Eating Disorders and Waste

I imagined writing a breezy, Friday-friendly post, but this entry on eating disorders sparked my interest.

Karen Koenig, an expert in the psychology of eating, writes that people can’t change their unhealthy eating practices without first changing their underlying beliefs about food/body/weight. (I have a similar belief that people won’t stop wasting food until they change their attitude about food value and wastefulness.) In relation to trying to stop eating when you’re satisfied, she writes:

If you irrationally believe that you shouldn’t waste food, you must finish everything on your plate, and more is better, you’ll need to reframe these beliefs to make them rational.

Is it irrational to think food shouldn’t be wasted? Is there a lack of reason behind this idea? If so, I’ve totally lost my mind. 

Now, I’m certainly no expert on eating disorders and I agree that a person’s health is more important than a half-eaten drumstick. In addition, I can empathize with people struggling not to eat too much/too little and understand how trying to rectify that problem could result in some food waste. But does that mean that, as she writes, “…it’s okay to waste food?” 

Finally, I agree that the “clean your plate” mentality can be harmful. Yet, instead of saying waste is fine, how about advising folks to take less on their plate and/or save the leftovers? What do you think?

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