Leave a Bite for the Gods

By Aubrey Marcus February 14, 2017

"Finish your plate" might be the worst advice a parent gives a child. Patterning insensitivity to one's own satiation signal is a lubed waterslide to obesity, and that's just a start. The contrived guilt-trip used as justification generally goes like this: "Johnny, there are starving people in the world that would do anything for that food." Oh really? So overeating makes other people less starving or more happy? It doesn't take a master logician to realize that the only way that would work is if somehow you could feed people off the size of the turd you produced.

How about this fact: The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs (source). Do you know how helpful $190.2 billion dollars would be in aiding world hunger? Aid organizations place the donated cost of feeding someone in impoverished nations at about a dollar per day (source). That would mean there is enough money to feed over 520 million people every year, which is over half of the estimated worldwide total (source). So basically, if people in America weren't so fat that they needed health care, we could fix over half of the world's hunger.

Sure, ignoring your own satiation signal is not the only determining factor in obesity, but it sure helps pile on the LB's. I have a different idea, and I call it "Leave a bite for the Gods." Back in ancient times people rich and poor would leave plates of food and drink as a sacrifice for their beloved deities. While clearly most of the motivation for doing this was straight-up bribery, it was no doubt a valuable act of discipline.

To leave a portion of your best food for some invisible force meant you had to learn NOT to devour everything in reach of your grubby mitts. It was an exercise in control over your appetites. My idea is to duplicate this with a daily sacrifice that is a part of every meal. Save one of your best bites, or any portion of whatever you are eating, and consciously relinquish the privilege to eat it. If you don't want to "waste" the food, save it for later, and then you can roll it over like phone plan minutes and start your next meal with the old bite.

Not only will this deprogram the idea that one has to "finish their plate", it will also teach a certain amount of self discipline in controlling your animal urges. And a backbone of self-discipline with occasional orgiastic excess is the Epicurean key to living an optimized life.

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