As I mentioned in ‘Are you really hungry?’ a previous blog I wrote, we are all born with the innate ability to stop eating when we are full. The vice-like, closed mouth of a baby who has had enough milk, is impossible to open and get more food into. You may also know some adults who have retained this ability to stop eating easily and naturally once they have had enough food. These adults still have the signals we all had as babies switched on and are able to notice them and listen to them.
As I mentioned in ‘Are you really hungry?’ for many of us, the hungry and full signals have been switched off because we are eating for reasons other than hunger on a regular basis.So being full ends up meaning many different things for adults.
Full can mean ….. I have to clear my plate
Full can mean ….. I have space for pudding because I want something sweet on my palette
Full can mean ….. I am not stuffed so I will carry on
Sometimes, though, eating has happened so fast that the full signal just cannot be felt until the person is stuffed and bloated.
So, what is different about the naturally slim person? What are they doing that most of the rest of us are not which allows them to realise that they have had enough food and stop eating?
If you have been out for a meal with a naturally slim person you may well have noticed that slim people eat more slowly, finish later than everyone else and often leave food on their plates. It is this combination of factors that has allowed them to feel their full signal and here’s why.
Once you feel hungry and your brain receives a signal and it then takes about 20 minutes for the next hormone to be released and tell your brain that you are full. If you’ve eaten too quickly you will have by-passed the body’s natural signal to stop eating and therefore you will probably feel bloated rather than comfortably full or, even better, just satisfied. You could easily eat 10% more than your body requires at that time which means that you will put on weight.
So, how can we work to change this habit and switch back on our full and hungry signals? Here are some top habits changes which can help you slow down whilst eating so you can regain your connection with your full signal and stop eating at the point of satisfied and not stuffed.
1. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls: Focus on chewing and enjoying the mouthful you are eating right now, not on moving on to the next mouthful as quickly as possible. That way you will feel satisfied as well as full sooner.
2. Chew every mouthful 20-30 times: To start this habit you will need to count every time you eat but after a while, it will become more natural. Not only does this slow down your eating but it also helps your food be digested better.
3. Use a smaller plate: What you see affects what you think you have eaten, so if you put the same amount of food on a large and small plate, your mind will view the small plate as containing more food. You will then feel satisfied whilst eating less food than before.
4. Leave something on your plate: To start with, you may find this very hard (I sometimes have to make myself do it) but if you just start with a small amount of food like one pea, you are telling your mind that it is safe to leave food on your plate. Once you have the internal permission to do this, you will find it gets easier every time.
5. Stop eating when you are full: When you have adopted some of the other habits above you will start to notice that you feel full sooner. NEVER override that signal! Stop eating as soon as you feel full and quickly get rid of the rest of the food. Store it in the fridge or throw it away.
6. Brush your teeth: For many people, the desire to finish a meal with a sugary dessert is almost overwhelming. Try brushing your teeth as a means to stop that craving. Doing this can also cut back on evening, TV watching, snacking.
When you adopt the strategies above you will find that your full signal comes back, and you can start to listen to your body, hear your full signal and eat less food at each sitting. However, it is not advisable to make all these changes at once. Chose one habit and stick to it every time you eat. Starting small is the best way to change our habits otherwise we can become overwhelmed and end up doing none of them.
If you would like help in changing your eating habits so you can attain and maintain your ideal weight, shape and size, easily and naturally please get in touch to find out more about Slim Habits Hypno, the revolutionary new eating habit change program.