Part 1 of this blog will discuss something that seems simple but so many people get wrong. Understanding how your body works will help you become healthier and lose weight.
SLOW IT DOWN: Eat slowly and stop at 80% full
Many of us eat far too quickly and at each meal expect to eat to the point of fullness. The fact is it takes around 20 minutes for our bodies to realise they are full. By the time the message goes from your stomach to your brain, you have already overeaten!
It should take you 15-20 minutes to eat a meal. Sit down at the table. Have a glass of water before you start to eat, then take small mouthfuls and chew them properly. Take a sip of water after every few mouthfuls.
By following these basic principles you will be able to gauge your levels of hunger and fullness more accurately and be able to stop eating at 80% full. It's that simple! Here is a guide to 'how you should feel' along the timeframe.
Hour 0 - immediately after eating you may still be a little hungry. It will take 15-20 minutes to get a sense of satisfaction from your meal.
Hour 1 - you should still feel satisfied with no desire for more food.
Hour 2 - you may start to feel a little hungry, but it shouldn't be an overwhelming sensation.
Hour 3 - you should start feeling like it is time for your next meal. If you used a scale of 1-10 (10 being ravenous) you should be around a 7-8, dependent on your lifestyle and activity levels. Not hungry at all? You've probably overeaten on your last meal.
Hour 4 - your hunger should be between 8-10 on the hunger scale. At this point you would typically be at the "I'll eat anything" stage. If you let yourself get to this stage then you will probably make a poor food choice so make sure you eat before you get ravenous!
Additional benefits to slower eating are:
- enhanced appetite cues for your next meal
- improved digestion
- better performance
- more time to enjoy meals
- better sleep if you normally eat before bed