Trashing Food

A dieter emailed me recently after she had watched a three-minute TV segment in which I suggested putting food in the trash. She was concerned, and understandably so. For this dieter and for most people, the notion of trashing food, instead of saving and reusing it, is absurd.

I explained to the dieter that while the TV segment she watched was three minutes long, I had actually been interviewed for about two hours. So, unfortunately, viewers didn’t get to see the whole story about the Beck Diet program or about throwing away food.

In The Beck Diet Solution, I provide a cognitive behavior program which teaches dieters many techniques to lose weight and keep it off permanently. One technique is learning to throw away food–initially–that is too tempting. This doesn’t mean throwing away healthy food that they or someone else could eat in the coming days. Of course, they should keep that! This does mean throwing away junk food that’s too tempting or portions of food that are too small to be part of another meal–but that will be tempting for the dieter to eat as she’s clearing the table or as an unplanned bedtime snack.

A later step in the program is learning how to have tempting food around while resisting it and not having to throw it away. I’ve just found most dieters can’t go immediately to this step, and that throwing away some foods is an essential part of building resistance to tempting foods.

4 replies
  1. Amy
    Amy says:

    I’m glad you posted this clarification. I don’t ever want to throw away healthy leftovers I could make another meal out of. Even restaurant portions can come home with me. On the other hand, food that isn’t healthy or is more fattening than you’d want to eat, should be discarded or not put on your plate in the first place.

    I notice my thin co-worker regularly throwing out bits and pieces of her lunch meal that turned out to be bigger than her appetite. I marvel how she does this, when my dieting hunger makes me want to eat everything I’ve brought. But if I’m traveling and there’s not fridge, or I’m served more food than I need and can take with me, or the food is unhealthy or too high in calories to take for another meal, leaving it behind to be thrown out is the only good option.

  2. Calen
    Calen says:

    I have a hard time throwing food away also, so here is how I think of it:

    If I eat more food than I need, then I am essentially wasting that food anyway! I’m just carrying the garbage around on my body instead of taking it out to the curb.

  3. Fran
    Fran says:

    One of the things I tell myself is that “I am not a garbage can.” So the garbage goes in the garbage can and not in me.

  4. Cecile
    Cecile says:

    Dear Fran, I’m so glad I ran into your posting! I was raised hearing “finish your plate, many poor kids around the world are starving”. So I finish my plate all the time, and I take some more, because I don’t want to waste food. On top of that, I have a very hard time throwing food away, and I have been overeating because of that bad habit. I’ll have to remember I”m not a garbage can! Thanks for sending your good words.


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