CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT CHANGING WHAT YOU EAT?
Slowing down and eating to 80% full are probably the two most important changes you can make in your weight loss and overall health journey. If you’re struggling with everything else, keep returning to these foundation habits!
Life is busy, we are always in a hurry with and endless list of to-do’s and deadlines that we just never seem to meet. Eating has become about convenience: we will grab a snack on the way to the office or we will quickly shovel down our lunch before our next meeting; or we skip lunch, arrive home, starving and have a huge dinner in front of the TV, right?
Chappies moment: Did you know that weight gain is not only about what you eat, but also about how you eat? The faster you eat, the more you tend to eat. Here’s how it works: When you eat, your stomach sends signals to the brain about how full you are and whether you need more food or to put the breaks on, drop the knives and forks and call time out, you’ve had enough! The thing is, it takes roughly 20 minutes for the signals coming from your stomach to reach the brain, so what does that mean?
If you were trying to gain weight, you should eat as much as possible in that first 20 minutes before your stomach signals to your brain that you’re full. After 20 minutes, you start to feel that horrible, uncomfortable sensation that you’re going to burst, and all you can ask repeatedly is WHY DID I DO THAT? Most of us are not trying to gain weight, and yet, this is how most of us eat! It’s not surprising when we struggle to lose weight since we’re practicing a tried and tested strategy to gain weight
It stands to reason that if you eat slowly, it takes a lot less food before your stomach signals to your brain that you’re full. By slowing down, you “need” a lot less food to feel satisfied. So the challenge is: without changing what you eat, slow down at every meal, take at least 20 minutes to finish the meal and see what happens to your weight after 2 weeks. Chances are you will be pleasantly surprised.
Here’s another cool thing: When you slow down, you become a lot more aware of appetite cues and eating until 80%. Don’t worry for now about the exact percentage, the point is, learning to recognise when you have eaten enough to no longer feel hungry, without feeling over full is an essential skill in weight management!
TIPS TO HELP YOU SLOW DOWN AND EAT TO 80% FULL
- Remove distractions at meal times: switch off the TV, put the smart phones away and interact with people. This will make you more conscious of slowing down and enjoying the eating experience.
- Use a smaller fork. Having less food with each fork full will remind you to slow down.
- Taste your food: Chew for longer and try to identify different flavours. You will be amazed at how much more you start to enjoy food.
- Put your knife and fork down periodically and breathe.
- Use a smaller plate and time yourself for 20 minutes while you eat your meal.
- Drink water during your meal, and have a sip after each mouth full.
- Gage how you feel during the meal. When you feel satisfied but not over full, stop eating, even if there is food on the plate.
- Notice how much food you eat: what does the portion size looks like when you feel satisfied but not over full. This will slowly develop your intuition for what the right portion size is for you.
- Notice how different foods make you feel. How do you feel after a meal comprising lean protein, quality low GI carbohydrates, veg and some healthy fats vs a pie and chips. How do you meal choices affect portion size?
- Preparation is key: When you are on the go, prepare a health smoothie the night before, to sip slowly, or keep some fruit in the car, rather than stopping in at the nearest convenience store or take out when hunger hits.
Experiment with new things, try the tips above and add your own to help you to slow down and eat until 80% full. If you can master this, it could literally change your life.
Have a look at the awesome super shake guide below for ideas on how to prepare the perfect super shake/smoothie!