A while ago, my wife, Claire, and I dropped a friend off about half-an-hour away from where we live. We decided we'd go out for dinner. We found a place called Mongolian Buffet. It was a weird combination of Old Country Buffet and a Mongolian Barbecue. I started with a huge plate of salad and tried to get a lot of veggies in, but I'm sure I went over my recommended daily intake that day.
I noticed a lot of people trying to get their money's worth. Going up for thirds, fourths, and fifths. Helping themselves to plenty of soft-serve ice cream and loading their plates with deep fried food.
Two years ago, I would have been one of the people piling my plate as high as I could get it. I would have tried to race against time to eat as much as I could before my stomach could tell my brain I was full. Then I would have tried to shove down a dessert.
This got me thinking about the nature of the buffet. Why does a restaurant exist where we can eat as much food as we can possibly eat? For the $15 I paid to eat at the buffet, I could have bought a pretty nice meal at a much classier restaurant and still probably have taken home some leftovers. Why are we compelled to go to a place with unlimited food?
I think the buffet really comes from the fear inside all of us that we won't have enough food. A number of years ago when I was in Germany, I got upset that there weren't free soda refills a McDonald's where I ate. Why did I need more soda? Why did it make me so uncomfortable not to have a limitless supply of carbonated sugar water?
Here's my point. Go to a restaurant that serves limited portions. Limit your portions. The next time you eat a meal, stop before you're full. You're not going to starve to death.
Stop being afraid of being hungry.