Clean Plate Club

Clean Plate Club                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I remember on the 4th day of Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God retreat, eating my lunch in silence. I had eaten half my lunch and was full/satisfied. Looking at my plate of food which would soon be dumped into the compost bin brought up so many old thoughts and feelings. I was brought up with the Clean Plate Club.  My parents and relatives would occasionally clap their hands when I had eaten all the food on my plate. I had to sit at the table until all the food on my plate was eaten.  Instead of leaning to trust my body as my fullness guide, I learned to use external signals, like a clean plate, to determine when I had had enough. Stopping eating when full was so foreign. To this day, sometimes I still feel a little twinge in my gut when I throw food away.  Occasionally I still hear the voice in my head that says, “Don’t be wasteful! Eat all the food on your plate. I had better eat this now because I might get hungry later?”  My response back to this voice is, “I’m not hungry. Throw it away or throw it in my body. Either way it’s waste.”

Imagine if we clapped our hands and praised our children when they stopped eating when they were full!  Imagine if we celebrated ourselves when we stopped eating when we were full!   I say, celebrate!


  1. Wow. That retreat would be amazing. When I read that book, I was thinking that it would be great to do that retreat. I ended up giving that book away to someone who I thought would really get a lot out of it but I miss it. I might have to buy it again.

    As for the clean plate club, my husband must have gotten this drilled into him. Well, I KNOW he did because to this day when we eat at his parent’s house, his dad goes a bit crazy for wasting food. I waste it anyways and Eric has been working on getting past that belief but it is hard when it has been drilled in since childhood. He is getting better, though! For me, it is not so much the clean plate club as it is wanting to keep eating stuff that is delicious – beyond when I was full. Eating less animal products has really helped with that, though. I hardly ever feel that sickly full feeling anymore.

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