While lecturing in the Clearwater, Largo region of Florida last week, I ate out for dinner one evening at an Italian restaurant near my hotel. Lasagna is one of my favorite dishes, and very time consuming to make at home, so I order it while traveling.
When the waiter brought my dish my eyes bugged out because the platter of food was so huge! It was enough noodles, meat and cheese to feed my entire family, and have leftovers to spare.
Huge portion sizes served at restaurants is nothing new. The growing mounds of food placed in front of customers for consumption has been increasing for years, and it doesn’t seem like anyone minds. I suppose customers want it or restaurants wouldn’t keep serving it.
But I don’t like it! Yet, I have to deal with it, because I eat out frequently while on the road.
I’ve found I cannot be passive about the large portions of food served, or I eat too much.
I have a number of ways of exercising discipline over eating more than I need, but one truth that has helped me immensely is, “Just because they serve it, doesn’t mean you have to eat it.”
I was raised in a home where food did not go to waste. Nothing went to waste. We couldn’t afford to waste food or any other resource! The routine of eating what was on our plate was so ingrained into my behavior that it has required conscious mental discipline to say “No, I don’t have to eat all this food,” when served too much at restaurants or a neighbor’s home.
We’re always dealing with thoughts. Material conditions are material beliefs expressed. So, when a huge mound of food is served, there is an underlying suggestion, and often aggressive, that says, “You should eat all this food I’m serving you. It was prepared for you.” And if one is not alert, he or she will listen to that suggestion and eat more than is appropriate.
So, it takes alertness to not take in mental suggestions that distorts one’s normal eating patterns. And one argument I consciously use is, “You don’t have to eat everything you are served. You are a spiritually content child of God. Leave the extra.”
So, I’ve gotten pretty good at staying spiritually alert and not eating too much when traveling, but…and there’s a whole lot more I want to say here…so continued tomorrow…