There are so many factors that contribute to our overweight nation that it is really complex and no one aspect can be completely to blame. However, I do feel that one of the complex issues is that we don’t listen to our body to tell us how much and when to eat. We’ve all been there! We’re at a party; the chips and dip look awesome even though we’re not hungry. After dinner, we’re full, but the chocolate cake looks amazing, so we manage to find some room in our bellies.
I think everyone can relate to this at one time or another. I know I have certainly been in those situations myself. In order to lose or maintain weight, the above situations need to happen infrequently. Your body knows when and how much fuel you need; and it doesn’t cost anything for that special feature! Going from ignoring your body’s signals to being very aware may take some time. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Consider keeping a food journal. Not only should you write down what you’re eating, but also write down how hungry you were before you started and how satisfied, full, overstuffed, or still hungry you are when you finish. It is helpful to jot down your mood too. After a while, you’ll really start to see a pattern, which may be helpful in making a change.
2. Every 15 minutes, or sooner if you’re a fast eater, stop and ask yourself how full you are. If you’re not sure, give yourself a little break from eating so that your body has a chance to get the signal of whether you’re satisfied or still hungry.
3. Remember that getting that “satisfied” or “full” signal may take up to 20 minutes. If you’re eating very fast, it is a great idea to slow down so that your body can “talk” to you before you overstuff yourself.
4. Forget about reaching your “full” mark and aim for “satisfied”. In other words, think about eating until you are no longer hungry, but not until you need to unbutton your jeans or become uncomfortable. When you have reached that point, you have consumed more food than you need.
5. Don’t ignore hunger signals. Just like you shouldn’t over eat, you should also not avoid eating when you are truly hungry.