Did you know there are three main components in controlling body weight?
1) Eating slowly
2) Stop eating when 80% full
3) Macronutrient ratios
Part 1 – Eating Slowly
The way you eat your food is more important than the amount of food you eat. When you stop eating matters more than following a specific macronutrient ratio (high fat, low carb, etc).
If you are eating slowly and stopping when you feel 80% full, then you are most likely making progress toward your weight loss goals.
Tracking and hitting your macronutrient ratios optimize the process of weight loss and choosing real, whole food further supports weight loss and sustainable healthy nutrition habits.
WHY EATING SLOWLY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN WEIGHT LOSS
When you eat slowly you create an opportunity for your body to send and receive satiety signals. These signals (body cues) are your built-in Calorie control messages.
Eating slowly aids in digestion, Calorie reduction, increased body awareness, and improved recognition of body cues and satiety. If you’re a faster eater, this leads your body to feel full on less food than you’re used to eating.
The practice of chewing food more thoroughly, focusing on your food, and enjoying each meal is a more powerful weight loss strategy than tracking your food, the time you eat, how much you eat, where you eat, who you eat with, and what food you eat.
Eating slowly can be done anywhere at any time. It can be used in any food situation: birthdays, parties, road trips, sporting events, and restaurants.
Simply put: it is the foundation of healthy eating habits.
HOW YOU CAN PUT THIS INTO ACTION IN JUST TWO STEPS
Step 1: Pick one way that will cause you to take more time to eat your food.
Chew each bite 30+ times before swallowing
Put your utensil down between every bite
Set a 5-minute timer for when you are halfway through your meal
Step 2: Practice that one strategy for two weeks.
Keep your ‘eat slowly habit’ in the front of your mind before each meal
Notice when you speed up your eating and go back to your ‘eat slowly habit’
You’re learning something new, don’t be so hard on yourself if you find it difficult
Part 2 – Stop at 80% Full
The action to stop eating at 80% full is the 2nd most important habit when it comes to weight loss. It’s the second of two anchor habits.
An anchor habit is a type of action that you can take anywhere and use to your advantage in any food situation to keep yourself on track with your goals.
1) Eat Slowly
2) Stop at 80% Full
It doesn’t matter what food is on your plate (or how much). If you practice these two strategies simultaneously, you’ll get closer to your weight loss goal.
Combining the habits of eating slowly and stopping at 80% full, your body becomes more aware of your hunger and fullness cues.
When you eat quickly, your body more often than not gets more food than it really needs, resulting in a Calorie surplus and unwanted weight gain. Eating more slowly gives your body more time to send and receive the necessary hormonal signals for hunger and fullness.
The stomach is not a Calorie counting organ; it can tell you how full or empty it is, but not how many calories are in there.
Here’s a quick test to see if you think I’m just making things up! Grab a glass and fill it with water. Drink the glass of water. Then fill the glass back up and drink the water again. By now, your stomach should feel pretty full. You just had zero calories and yet you can feel that your stomach is full.
This is important to remember: the stomach can ONLY detect fullness — NOT Calories.
If your goal is to lose weight, it is optimal to eat slowly and to stop eating when you feel 80% full. At 100% full, your body will maintain weight more often than it would gain or lose. If you eat until you are uncomfortably full more often than not, you will gain weight.
Eat until you feel 80% full if you want to slowly and steadily lose weight without changing the actual food that you eat. You can make the same food choices while creating new eating habits.
3 STEPS TO EATING LESS AND FEELING JUST AS FULL
1. Drink 16 ounces of water before you start eating your meal
2. Check in with your hunger levels as you eat slowly
3. Stop eating just before you feel like you’re going to be full
It takes 15-20 minutes for your stomach to send and receive your hunger and satiety signals. By the time you finish eating, wash your dishes, dry them, and put them away, you will feel full.
Part 3 – Macronutrient Ratios
After establishing the healthy lifelong eating habits of eating slowly and stopping at 80% full, tracking and following specific macronutrient ratios (macros) is the third and final champion of weight loss.
Beginning a weight loss program by tracking food intake and adhering to a specific macronutrient ratio can lead to amazing results. However, following a specific macronutrient food plan makes you more reliant on meal planning, meal prepping, and measuring food intake. This isn’t inherently bad, it is just a lot of new actions you’ll need to take in order to be successful. If you are inconsistent with any one of these actions the whole strategy suffers.
HOW TO START TRACKING MACROS
Continue to eat slowly and stop when you feel 80% full, but begin to log your food intake. This could be as simple as journaling which foods you ate, to as complex as listing each measured food item, the time you ate, your emotional state before and after, fullness level before and after, how the food physically made you feel, etc.
The important thing to remember with food logging is to stay consistent in how you measure food. It doesn’t matter which way you do it — pre-cooked, dry, cooked — just as long as you do it the same way each time. Again, it’s the consistency that matters here, so that adjustments can be made to improve your results.
Measuring, logging, and tracking everything you eat for 2-4 weeks can be a powerful and eye-opening experience. With all this data, you’ll be able to empirically know your current macronutrient ratios; and what to change to more efficiently make progress.
COMING UP WITH A MACRONUTRIENT RATIO THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Everybody is different. Some people like high carb diets and do very well eating sweets because of all the cardio they’re doing. Some people enjoy a low carb high fat diet because they love bacon and vegetables. Other folks need to be on a low carb diet because of complications from PCOS. There is no perfect ratio for everyone.
People with higher amounts of body fat tend to tolerate carb intake poorly compared to leaner people, as a result of this, starting off with a higher protein and higher fat macronutrient ratio is prudent.
Fat loss only occurs when there is a Caloric deficit. If you are struggling to lose body fat, the reason is that you’re eating and drinking too many calories to promote fat loss. This means that every macronutrient ratio will work for weight loss if there is a Calorie deficit.