Do you feel a compulsion to finish what’s on your plate, even when you’re no longer hungry? Do you wince at the thought of throwing away left-over food or food that’s no longer fresh? Have you ever questioned the logic of “You shouldn’t waste food”?
“There Are People Who Don’t Have it”
I remember my sister offering to mail the food left on her plate to the “children who don’t have any food at all” when told that was the reason she should continue eating what she didn’t want or need. That genuine, sincere offer from a 6-year-old was met with a response of: “Don’t be ridiculous!” So…. Why shouldn’t you waste food? I could be missing something (and if I am, please feel free to let me know in the comments), but I haven’t been able to come up with a logical reason for why we shouldn’t waste food. Now, that may hit a nerve at first, but bear with me…
- Where does food go when you waste it? In other words, could you have given it to someone who doesn’t have food? If so, then, of course, do that. If you’re able to give the food you don’t want to someone who needs it, absolutely do that. But, if you can’t do that… why would you use your body as a garbage can?
- Where does the food come from? Presumably you’re not taking it from someone who needs it and then throwing it away? So, where did it come from? There were people who grew it; harvested; processed; packaged; sold; marketed; delivered that food. The fact that you’re throwing away what you don’t want or need does not reverse the fact that all those people made a living (and got to eat food, themselves) from that food. You do not need to eat it in order for them to have benefited from it being in front of you or in your fridge.
- “There may come a time when you would be grateful for that” —possibly, but how is eating it now going to save you from experiencing that lack in the future?
- Of course, if you don’t have enough money to buy more food, that would be a logical reason for not throwing food away that you could keep for when you need it. However, if that’s not the case, the question remains.
Why shouldn’t you waste food?
The majority of us have a powerful and automatic reaction to the “wasting” of food. And the reason for it is: We learned it from our parents — who learned it from their parents, and so on. And it’s certain to have started out for very logical reasons. Somewhere, in a generation back there (in many cases, not that far back), there were parents who did not have enough to feed their family, and perhaps didn’t know when they would be able to have food on the table again. This makes sense. Don’t waste it because you may need it tomorrow since we won’t have any tomorrow.
And as those children learned from their childhood experiences that there are life-threatening consequences to wasting food… they passed that on to their children. And so, that bag was passed from generation to generation, even when the contents were no longer inside it. In other words, when the families had plenty of food, with money to buy more, that powerful automatic response was passed along, even when there was no logic left in it.
The REAL Reason for “You Shouldn’t Waste Food”
If you’ve had the “You shouldn’t waste food” compulsion, you’ll probably find that what you’ve read so far is resulting in some kind of an emotional reaction inside you. The reason for that is: Unless you’re in a position where, if you throw food away, you won’t have any to eat — or, if someone else throws food away, you or your loved ones will go without — the reaction to food waste is purely a connection in your brain created in childhood.
You learned, automatically, during childhood that you shouldn’t waste food. But rather than just being given that information, it was presented with an emotional component. And this was interpreted by your subconscious to equal danger. In other words — there’s a link between throwing food away and danger.
Because we are not designed to live alone, and certainly are unable to survive from infancy without at least one other person, the subconscious prioritizes pleasing those who are raising us. When “they” are displeased or disappointed, while the conscious mind may recognize that for what it is, the subconscious interprets it as life-threatening.
So, when you have plenty of food, and you don’t want the rest of what’s on your plate, or something is no longer fresh in your fridge, and you think about throwing it away, your subconscious is referring to the “fact” that it’s “dangerous to waste food”. It then triggers a small boost of stress chemicals, which create a “warning” sensation that your conscious mind interprets as “You shouldn’t waste food”. And what you choose to do then, is based on that sensation; not on logic.
Whether you continue to eat after you’ve had enough, or you eat something you don’t like, or you keep something in your fridge until it walks to the garbage can on its own— is caused by a chemical reaction in your brain based on childhood experiences, not logic.
I’m not saying you should waste food, of course; I’m just saying it’s worth questioning why you shouldn’t. And here are a few reasons for that:
- If you are trying to be healthy: finishing all of the food on your plate when your body has already had enough is, of course, not going to support your quest to be healthy. In addition to that: throwing away food that is not fresh - and instead, giving your body fresh, nutritious food - would be more respectful to your body, and effective for your health.
- The attitude of “you shouldn’t waste food” can be an indication of a “lack” or “poverty” mindset. Which is okay, but may be keeping you from creating abundance of all kinds of things in your life.
- Finally, it’s worth questioning because — if this is an automated, unconscious response based purely on childhood conditioning rather than logic… what other unconscious automatic responses do you have running in your life that you’re unaware of, that are holding you back from what you want to achieve?
So, the next time you find yourself tempted to eat something you don’t want or need, just so as not to “waste” it, ask yourself: “How is eating it not wasting it?” And then remind yourself that what you’re actually doing is simply using your body as a garbage can.
What’s Happening in Your Brain?
“You shouldn’t waste food” is a perfect example of how the subconscious controls our choices, judgement, behaviors, and actions — without the conscious mind’s awareness.
- The subconscious cannot use logic or reason; cannot tell the difference between reality and imagination; and cannot judge something as unrealistic. Its top priority is to keep us alive by doing whatever it takes to keep us the same, and in alignment with our “tribe”.
- The conscious mind’s job is to make sense of experiences, using logic and reason. It will come up with reasons for feelings, sensations, impulses, and emotions. And the conscious mind is the one that is constantly attempting to discern between reality and imagination, and will use judgement and strategy. This is why we think the conscious mind is in control. However…
- Since the subconscious is the “security system” that is designed to keep us alive, it overrides the conscious mind. And, in order to do this effectively, it has to do so in a way the conscious mind doesn’t recognize. So, in order to keep us “safe” the subconscious is constantly referring to the “facts and evidence” collected from childhood, and then prompting the brain to trigger the organs to produce chemicals. These chemicals create sensations, feelings, emotions, and impulses — often so subtle, the conscious mind is unaware of them. The conscious mind then automatically and instantly provides “meaning” and responds accordingly, using logic and reason.
The Good News
The reason it can be so difficult to change core subconscious beliefs — even when the conscious mind recognizes them as damaging — is because of that survival mechanism. Change could mean death, as far as the subconscious is concerned. So, no matter how much you want more money, or to be healthier, or to enjoy a happy relationship, or to do what you love for a living — as far as your subconscious is concerned, you have the highest chance of survival if you stay the same (you’re still alive, right?). So, it will do whatever it takes to maintain the status quo. “Self-sabotage”, anyone?
The great news is, there is a way to create change in your life — automatically. Think of a burglar alarm going off when there’s no burglar. It sounds really loud and scary — very convincing! But, if you know there’s no burglar, you have to ignore the sound of it and the instinct to run and hide or call for help… and instead, walk over to the control panel, and reset it there. In the same way, you can “reset” your subconscious emergency system by changing the “evidence” from your childhood. For more information on how that works, watch the video below, and read: Can We Change Adverse Childhood Memories? or visit: www.subconscious-reprogramming.com
This video will give you an 8-minute, fun overview on how your subconscious is controlling your emotions: