Now that you have gotten in the habit of drinking your water, it’s time to practice another simple concept. This month’s habit: Eat slowly and stop at 80% full. This habit is straight from the pages of my coaching textbook, The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, second edition. The authors, Dr. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews, are experts in the field of exercise and nutrition.
Eat Slowly. How many times do we rush through a meal? We’re so busy sometimes that if questioned about what we had for lunch, we are clueless. Or perhaps we are distracted by the newspaper or TV. Beginning TODAY, focus on your meals and snacks and really taste the food. Spend at least 15-20 minutes enjoying your meal. It takes that long for your stomach to get the signal from your brain that it’s being fed. If you are with family or friends, it’s easy to savor the conversation and the food. The temptation to “hurry up and eat” typically happens when dining alone. If you customarily eat in 5 minutes, slow down and eat for 6 minutes. (Set a timer) Practice slowing down a little at a time until you master this. Turn off the TV. Remove the distractions. Savor the flavors.
Stop at 80% Full. When we stop eating because we are full, we have probably eaten more than we need. A good way to think about this habit is to stop eating when we are no longer hungry as opposed to eating until full. Although it may be a challenge to figure out the 80% part, do your best. Stopping at any level less than your current habit will be a positive step toward your goal.
By eating slowly and stopping at 80% full, odds are good that you will consume less food and over time, experience weight loss. You will truly enjoy your meals and your digestion will improve. This habit is awesome because we are not even taking into account WHAT you are eating! (The WHAT is a habit for another month!)
If you are one of those people that need to gain weight, eat faster and stop at 100% full.
For those of you who are still getting the water habit down, that is OK. Keep working on the water and practice this new habit when you feel ready. Remember, changing your lifestyle is a process. How many years have you been creating habits that may not serve you? Good things take time!
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” Lucille Ball
P.S. If you are looking for a system to help you stay healthier, lose weight and have more energy, contact me today! It’s never too late to form new habits.