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Saving the Best for Last

February 29, 2008

So I’m working on this whole intuitive eating thing.  I don’t think I’m really doing that well, I’ll be honest.  I eat more than I need to feel full at just about every meal.  I’m trying to learn from my mistakes, but it’s not going too well.

 This evening however, I had a total breakthrough.  This may sound totally weird, but I always save the best food for last.  Example, tonight I had potato skins from a local restaurant for dinner.  Yum yum.  So I immediately size up the skins and pick out which ones are super yummy (Thinner potato, good cheese and bacon coverage.) and which ones are less (Thick potato, bad potato to cheese ratio, decidedly unchrunchy).  And rather than dig right in to the yummiest potato skin on my plate, I start with the worst and work my way up. 

You can obviously see the problem with this, I’m literally eating my way to the tasty food.  So by the time I get to the best skin on the plate, I am already full!!!!

 I dont’ just do this with the same kinds of food, I also tend to prioritize my food types, If I get a burger and fries I will eat the fries first and then the burger.  If I get soup and salad, I will eat salad then soup.  So on and so forth. 

Where the hell did this come from? I mean I remember eating like this ever since I Was a little kid, so it is obviously not new.  Also, it doesn’t seem particularly healthy.  I know that part of it comes from my desire to savour the food I eat and stretch out the enjoyment for as long as possible.  Because OHMIGOD what if I am never able to eat one of these amazing Potbelly’s Sugar cookies again!  (Oh wait… that’s unlikely.)  

Logically when it comes to food, the best will be better if you eat it first.  This should be obvious to me, it will be the right temperature, I will be hungrier and therefore not forcing myself to choke down this particular potato skin because it is the tastiest one, all kinds of benefits abound. 

From now on, no more saving the best for last! 

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14 Comments
  1. I used to eat that way, except it would be all the veggies, then all the carb, and then, finally, I got to the protein.

    Which I would be too full to really enjoy, just as you say.

    Strangely enough, it was being told I was “eating like a child” that first brought it to my attention, and got me to change it – first by eating things in “bite cycles” (veg, carb, meat; repeat), and then by gradually just eating what I wanted in any old order.

    It’s hard. It’s especially hard for me to leave food, having been a member of the Clean Plate Club for far longer than anyone should have to be. But it’s worth it.

  2. LOL I do the exact same thing, and have for as long as I can remember – I believe since before I started dieting/disordered eating. My thinking was that this way I got to save the best for last, with the idea that the flavor of the last thing I ate was what would last. Later I incorporated this into my disordered eating, e.g., trying to fill up on salad so I’d eat less of the main dish. But I do it all the time, still to this day. I still like the idea of stretching it out and savoring my food (I too often tend to eat absent-mindedly while doing something else), but you make a good point about the temperature, etc.

  3. Anna permalink

    Hm….I used to do this as well. Then I realised that if I didn’t eat the good ones first, somene else might come in and nick the good bits. Also, I realised I wasn’t REALLY enjoying the bit I was eating, because I was just looking forward to the end product.

    I always eat dessert first.

  4. anniemcphee permalink

    Hehe I do the same thing myself. But since I prefer my food lukewarm, the best temperature is also saved for last, along with the best taste. Being too full doesn’t bug me though 😉 It’s like that comedian (maybe Seinfeld or Richard Jeni or even Reiser) who asked if you’ve ever looked down at a bag of cookies and realized there were no more…and you *missed* that “last cookie taste.” Well…I don’t like to miss the last cookie taste. Or last bite of salad taste. I pick all my bites with care, and leave just enough of each element for the last bite to be absolutely perfect. Heh; just one of those habits. Doesn’t bother me – I’m not gonna overanalyze it but it IS fun to hear that others do the same. You are, of course, welcome to eat the best first or in the middle if you like 🙂

    In fact, if hubby or someone else wants something off a communal plate (homemade fries for example) they are generally nice enough to let me pick off my favorites first because they know it matters to me. Then we can split the rest. And I can eat those favorites last. 😀

  5. Mindy permalink

    it is a trick adults use to get kids to eat the healthy yet not as tasty food, or medicine….at least it is here sometimes…..but we are trying to stop it somewhat…maybe you got started with it that way as a toddler, eat this green bean then you can have the applesauce….take this antibiotic and then you can have the chocolate chip….

  6. The big problem arises when “save the best to last” eaters dine with “eat the best bits first eaters”. If you show the least sign of not finishing, you then run the risk of a partner stealing the VERY BESTEST BIT, saying “you left that one, I thought you didn’t want it”.

  7. lillian64 permalink

    It sounds like a leftover from one’s parents telling them to clean their plate. I always eat the best food first because I know that my appetite varies. There are days that I feel like I can eat everything I see and others when I feel like one bite is too much. I did that kind of behavior when I was trying to lose weight as a teen. Eat what you like first. That way you won’t eat too much or never have an appetite for the best food on your plate.

  8. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does this….

  9. Cara permalink

    I SO do this! I never thought before about how it almost guarantees eating past fullness.

    No more saving the best for last for me, either! Thanks for the insight. 😀

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this too! Though I totally did it again this morning, eating the bottom of my cinnamon bagel first, cause the top is yummier. Mmmm bagel.

  11. Midsize Lurker permalink

    I used to be pretty big on saving the best for last. Nowadays, I only eat the “boring” stuff first if the “boring” stuff is steamed or roasted veggies, something I know won’t fill me up and that tastes ok. Then I head for the protein. I’ll eat some of the carbos if there’s any room left in my stomach at the end. When I get a burger with fries, I almost never eat the fries ’cause I don’t like fries that much, unless they’re seasoned. The exception is when I get the (usually smaller) burgers at fast food joints like Burger King. I like the small fries better than the big ones, and have plenty of room after eating the small burger.

  12. Mrs.M,
    In my house that’s a good way to end up getting stabbed with a fork!!

  13. I might do this a bit, but I also like to alternate good with not-so-great bites around the plate. It also reminds me of how I like to eat mashed potatoes with meat and veg: Just mix it all together! It would have been a great plan if my Mom didn’t prepare such large amounts of everything. Imagine going through 3 large mountains of mashed taters, pork chops, pan gravy, and corn, with a Clean-The-Plate mentality. Oh-so-not-good.

    Of course, that’s what I’ve been hungry for for weeks, with the chops fried in cast iron, but around here you can’t get that at a restaurant and its a whole lot of cooking for just one meal…

  14. littlem permalink

    What Shinobi said, mrsm. Anyone who reaches into my plate in my house or at a restaurant without asking first will usually get their hand slapped.

    It’s another thing entirely if I’ve offered, or if we’re doing the “everyone orders a different entree so we share” thing (one of my favorites), but no one takes

    – my food off my plate
    – my clothes out of my closet
    – my hard office supplies (stapler, etc.) off my desk
    – my place in line at the grocery/drugstore
    – my unread newspaper sections

    without asking first! If you are a day or an overnight guest, you can help yourself to anything in the bathroom/cupboard/fridge, but that’s because I’ve usually offered when you come in!

    Rambling about teh boundaryz from one who can’t bring herself to eat dessert first. I’m sure those two things are related, but I’m not sure how.

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