Many clients I’ve worked with have sabotaged their shape-change goal with some belief about waste. It is usually along the lines of:

     “I’ve got it so I’ll have to eat it” or “I’ve bought it so I’d better eat it”

The belief that supports and justifies the habit is usually some type of moral position about throwing the food away. This ‘moral’ belief is usually established in childhood and is often because parents and other elders have told us how bad or ungrateful we are to waste food.  The problem was that they usually weren’t all that clear about the definition of ‘food’.

Here’s some different ways of thinking about waste.

Imagine a food manufacturer or farmer produces/grows a product that they can’t sell.

Q: Who has wasted the cost of production?  A: The manufacturer/farmer!

And imagine that the manufacturer or farmer is able to sell the product to a distributor but that distributor is unable to sell to a store or supermarket.

Q: Who has wasted the cost of purchase?  A: The distributor!

Then imagine a store or supermarket has bought the products from the distributor but customers don’t buy it.

Q: Who has wasted the cost of purchase?  A: The supermarket!

Now imagine you come along and buy this product, and imagine that it’s the sort of so-called ‘food’ that if you eat it, it will move you away from the difference you want – away from some goal you have for your health or shape-change; i.e., it will be like a poison to your goal.

Q: Who has wasted the cost of purchase?  A:  You!

Throwing away food’ that is junk to your body is not wasting it. In the bin is where it should be because it was already a waste product before you bought it. The only wasting you’ve done is wasting your money when you bought it.

But it’s the right thing to do!

So once you’ve bought the food, let’s call it junk, is there a voice you hear that tells you the ‘right’ thing to do is for you to eat it now that the junk has been bought ? Does the voice tell you it that throwing it away would be immoral, ungrateful or even despicable? This faulty reasoning is merely a flimsy justification for eating your poison.

If you have doubts about this line of reasoning; answer these questions:

     Can you recover the purchase price by eating the food?

     Will eating the junk make it a higher quality or more nutritious?

You cannot undo the waste by moving away from your goal. You cannot undo the waste by eating what will defeat your health.

You cannot undo the waste by consuming junk. Junk is junk. You can’t redeem its nature by eating it and letting it also junk your goal.

     Can you make the waste worse than just the loss of the purchase price?    

Yes! You can multiply the waste by eating the junk! If you’ve wasted your money, that’s one thing. If you then eat the junk that’s another, because you also then waste some of your goal.

What about the starving children

Have you ever been told to think about the hungry or starving children/people in the world before you throw food away?

Better to think about them before you buy the food if their hunger is really a concern for you because you cannot feed hungry people by eating junk. You can’t even feed them by eating nutritious food because your eating anything can’t relieve anyone else’s

If you want to do guilt about the plight of starving people do it before you purchase the junk, not after.  That way you can check and see if those hungry people are really so important to you in that moment of craving for the junk and then if they are, you can donate the money you would have wasted on the junk.  Good for them, good for you.