Habits for Proper Nutrition Tip 1 of 5 – (Eat Slowly and STOP at 80% Full)
Many of us eat far too quickly. At each meal, we expect to eat to the point of fullness. Unfortunately, this type of eating will always present challenges to leanness, performance and health – regardless of whether we choose lower quality foods or high quality foods.
That is why this habit plays such a critical role in helping you get the body you want. It teaches you to slow down. To listen to your hunger and appetite cues. And to stop eating at the right time, which usually means stopping before you have to loosen your belt!
As you may have noticed, this habit doesn’t really have much to do with what you eat. Rather, it has to do with how you eat. This may actually make it the most important habit of all.
But why? Well, for starters, it takes about 20 minutes for our satiety mechanisms to kick in. In other words, the communication from our gut, to our brain, and back tour gut is slow. Because of this, if you eat quickly, you are likely to eat far too much in the 20 minute time period before your grain finally says: “I am content. You can stop eating now.”
An excellent goal is to strive for about 15-20 minutes per meal (at a minimum). But this may be too ambitious at first. So, in the beginning, the goal is for you to have a seat; slow down; turn off the TV; eliminate distractions. Once you have slowed your pace; take smaller bites; chew the food completely and taste it. You can even put your fork down after every few bites; have a drink; chat with your dining partner.
The idea here is to take your time and really experience the process of eating. Interestingly, when you slow down in this way, you tend to eat fewer calories with each meal, drink more water, and better tune into your appetite signals.
Of course, if you currently rush through meals, you may not feel ready to slow down to the point of spending 15-20 minutes with each meal. That’s ok. Slowing down just a little, adding just one or two minutes, or removing just one distraction can make a big difference.
In other words, if you currently eat standing, maybe you can try sitting. If a current meal takes you 4 minutes, you could try just making it 5 or 6 minutes. Make slow and steady progress here until you are eating with few or no distractions and taking the full 15-20 minutes.
Besides helping you eat less, another big asset of slowing down is that it allows you to gauge your fullness more accurately. With this habit, the next goal becomes to stop eating at 80% full. This can be defined as “eating until satisfied” instead of “eating until full.” This will take some practice. Eating more slowly and short of fullness will be brand new territory for most people.
Some additional benefits of slower eating and stopping at 80% fullness include:
- Enhanced appetite cues for the next meal
- Improved digestion
- Better performance with exercise/workouts
- More time to enjoy meals
- Better sleep if you are eating before bed
In the end, this habit can be as simple as chewing each bite more, setting a time or stopping just short of your usual intake. It could mean stopping at 95% fullness, 90% fullness, or any level below what you are currently eating that gets you moving towards your goals.
FITNESS with DAISY
FWD & Associates LLC