How many times have you heard “Eat what’s on your plate”, “Clean your plate”, or “No dessert until you finish all of your dinner”? As well-intentioned these sayings may be, they have a big effect on our eating habits, and inversely, our health.
As babies our bodies tell us what we need. It tells us when we are tired, cold, stressed, and hungry. Babies will let you know when somethings wrong, especially when they are hungry. They also seem to know exactly when they are done. These signals are important to our survival.
As we grow up, our culture may confuse the way we interpret these signals. As adults we want to see a full plate of tasty foods. We also eat quickly, distracted, and hurry on to snacks and desserts if we don’t feel “full”.
This is not just a bad habit, it becomes a lifestyle for many Americans. As we live this type of lifestyle we increase our chances of becoming overweight and having poor health.
So here are a few tips to retrain yourself to listen to your body, and avoid overeating.
Learn Your Bodies Cues
Listen to your body. Recognize what it feels like when you really are hungry. Sometimes your body my simply be communicating other needs. Knowing your bodies cues will help you stay on track.
Eat Until You’re Satisfied
The ancient Japanese proverb hara hachi bunme says, “Stop eating when you are 80% full.” The wisdom in this proverb is that our bodies take time to move the food around, and when your stomach is full it will signal your brain to stop eating. It can take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain. So if you eat until you’re feeling full, you’ve gone too far.
Know Your Portions
It might help you to know that your stomach is roughly the size of your fist. So it won’t take a buffet to fill you up. The Japanese eat small portions that are rich in nutrients and lower in calories. You can decrease the size of your meal, and calories, substantially by replacing energy dense foods (those containing a higher number of calories per gram) with fruits, vegetables, and broth based soups. In some studies, doing so resulted in an average of 800 calories less per day, all while feeling completely satisfied.
Take Your Time
Today, we eat on the go and while we’re distracted by TV and computers . We grab “fast food” because we have deadlines and busy schedules. We snack constantly because of boredom, and false cues from our stomachs. We no longer take our lunch break, or sit down with the family to talk about our day. Slowing down and enjoying your food will allow your body tell you when you’re done.
Drink More Water
Your hunger pains may simply be thirst. Even if they are not, consuming more water during a meal can help you feel satisfied quicker and help you to consume less. And may we suggest adding your favorite flavor of GreenTeaHP for the added flavor and health benefits.
Keep in mind that things like stress, nervousness and anxiety may give false cues. As well, painkillers, alcohol, and other drugs may also limit your ability to feel your bodies needs. Paying attention to your body’s cues will help keep you in control of your lifestyle and health.