You know the feeling. You’re dining out and you’ve just been served a plate that is twice the size of your head. And it’s soooooo good that you really want to eat it all. But then your brain steps in to remind you of the misery that would follow. Soon, you begin to feel uncomfortably full. Do you keep eating, or do you ask for a box?
This is the question we don’t ask ourselves enough, but should. We get lost in conversations and ignore our body’s attempts to signal to us that it’s full. Or we subscribe to the clean plate club, and finish what’s in front of us out of habit or obligation.
I know, I know. A box isn’t always an option. When we’re traveling and have no access to a refrigerator, or when we have other stops to make before returning home, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to ask for a box. But with the outrageous portion sizes we find in restaurants, it seems I’m almost always carting a box home with me these days.
More often than not, I use the leftovers the next morning at breakfast, incorporating them into an omelet or a breakfast taco.
Asking for a box is an act of self-care because it prevents us from overeating. It helps us eat mindfully, staying connected with our hunger and fullness levels rather than eating through them. When we continue to eat beyond fullness, to the point of discomfort, it usually means we’ve consumed more calories than we need. And we know where that leads.
What’s your clue that it’s time to ask for a box?