Use this trick to help you manage your nutrition and lose fat.
Healthy Eating Habit: Eat slowly and STOP EATING when you are 80% full.
This is a great rule to follow around the firehouse and any house, especially when you are stuck at home.
To understand why this works, let's look at the science to support this notion. The brain is always behind the stomach in signaling that we are full. Hunger and satiety cueing are based on the release of hormones within our body. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the body to signal the brain that you are full. If you are eating too quickly while watching TV or distracted then you won’t even sense these subtle changes going on internally. Then, you go back for a second (or third) helping because you still feel hungry. A couple of minutes later you discover you are too stuffed! This is a common occurrence in most firehouses.
Eat too fast and miss the "stop" sign our body sends us and consume too much food and over tax our digestive systems. We have all experienced that feeling at one time or another (some more than others).
So, slow down eating, chew your food, limit distractions like TV and get in touch with how you feel while enjoying your food. Try to take at least 15 to 20 minutes to eat your first helpings, then re-evaluate if you are still hungry. Then, wait another 5-10 minutes before getting any second helpings and check in with yourself one more time before proceeding. By checking in, you will get a better sense of hunger and satiety cues plus detach emotions from food.
Just by building this simple habit, you can naturally decrease your caloric intake and improve your health and wellness. Be patient with yourself, experiment a little and really check in to what your body is trying to tell you. Listen to your body and start to identify when you are full and when you are eating due to emotion or stress.
How to identify what 80% full feels like.
You probably know what “stuffed” feels like, right? When you are just about struggling to breathe and unbuttoning the top button of your jeans to ease the discomfort…
-Let’s call that “150% full”.
You also might know what absolutely “starving” feels like. Thankfully very few of us experience true primal starvation, but when that 10am snack feels like such a long way away from breakfast, I’m sure you can guess what it must be like to go without food for days…
-Let’s call that “0% full”.
Somewhere in between all of that is the sweet spot of “80% full”.
You may need to first identify what 100% full or even 150% full feels like first so that you can work your way backwards from there to find something closer to 80% full.
At times you may even overshoot and eat too little, finding yourself still hungry and in need of a snack 20 mins later. This is part of the process. It takes a little practice.
Ideally, you should be able to finish your meal no longer hungry (possibly even a bit doubtful that it was enough food) and then find that 10-20 minutes later you surprisingly actually feel comfortably satisfied and satiated.
I know this technique can help. Give it a try and a chance.
Let me know how it works for you.
Stay safe and Get FRF.
Aaron (Zam) Zamzow
TRY FRF for Free! I created the FRF 28-day Catalyst Program to help first responders, gain strength, lose fat and improve performance. You can try it now for FREE. The program includes workouts, exercises, nutrition guidance, and access to our FRF app.
Reference: Precision Nutrition, The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition