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For the last few months when Debbie and I sit down to eat lunch or dinner we do a little ritual and say a somewhat variable prayer. It’s not really a prayer to an unseen external being but rather a prayer to our habitual inner being.

Let us remember to eat just the right amount of food to bring us to our next meal.

It seems to be working in a subtle way, in that the little idea embedded in our habits makes it easy to ask ourselves when nearing the end of a meal – am I still hungry and in need of food to get through to my next meal, or am I just eating because it tastes good, or am I still eating just to clean up the plate, or am I still eating just because another serving of food has been offered to me, or am I eating the food in front of me because I paid for it and I don’t want to waste money?

There are lots of little encouragements to keep on eating, and all of them are very bad for our long term health, and psychological  well being, if we don’t need the food. Thus, in times of plentiful cheap food we should cultivate the ability to control our eating habits. There may come a time when there is a true shortage of food, but if that time ever comes, having the ability to control our eating habits may be just as essential on a minimal diet as on a maximal one.

Practice eating just the right amount and then stopping.