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Value is a funny thing...

As some of you know, I have spent my career talking to people about living a healthy lifestyle and in doing that I have had the privilege of hearing all of the interesting and creative ways that people make excuses for doing the opposite of healthy.

I don't have time. I'm lazy. It takes too much planning. I was starving, so I had to. I am the clean plate club champion. I hate cooking for one person. My kids won't eat anything else. That's all they had. My mother-in-law made me. I love food. I deserved it. It was a business dinner. I was traveling. It doesn't count-I ate it in another zip code. And so on.

Today's rant is about value when it comes to food. I so often hear people say that they have a hard time leaving food behind on the plate or allowing food get thrown away that they have paid for. And here it comes....there are kids starving in other parts of the world, I work so hard to buy the food and put it on the table, I paid good money for that food so I have to eat it, it's a buffet and I have to get my money's worth, that's what you pay for on a cruise (or an all-inclusive). All of the reasons you have to stuff your face and's about value. Ok. Pause.

Now let's see what happens when you don't have to open your own wallet and someone else is paying for the food. The elegant multi-course business dinner, the wedding with the buffet and open bar, the conference or seminar with free food, the free breakfast at the hotel....oh wait someone else is paying...I have to make sure that I take full advantage of this opportunity and eat as much as I can. Value wins once again.

What I tend to see is that we justify overeating no matter who is paying for it. Our brains create a value proposition out of either type of scenario. So is there a different way to define value when it comes to food? What do you want to derive from the food you eat? What would you like the results to be? How much are you willing to pay to get those results?

Would you pay someone money to make you fatter, increase your blood pressure, increase your cholesterol, give you diabetes, increase your risk of cancer, and decrease your energy? Many of us inadvertently do.

The next time you have purchased food or are on the receiving end of a pretty nice free meal, think about the true value of that food. Think about eating just enough to get energy, nutrients, and just enough eating pleasure to be physically and emotionally satisfied, knowing that what you ate and the quantity you ate is an investment towards a healthy, happy future filled with energy, enjoyable activities, and peace of mind knowing that you got the best value you could from food, no matter who paid.

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