Week 1 Nutrition Habit: Eat Slowly and 80% Full
No matter what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, or with whom you eat, just eat slowly. It’s that simple. Not saying it’s easy, but it is simple. Eating slowly almost guarantees that you will eat less, feel better and be more in control of your eating. This may seem like a silly and insignificant thing to focus on but it is one of the most important and transformational habits you can practice. If at any time you wonder what to do when it comes to food, if you feel overwhelmed or out of control, come back to this habit. As you are eating, just pause. Slow down. Take a breath. Observe. There are so many benefits to eating slowly such as better digestion with less bloating, gas, discomfort, reflux or stomach aches. It creates a more relaxed state, as you slow down and really notice your food, you provide a calm space for your mind and body. A much needed break from the usual business and noise of life. As you slow down to really taste and enjoy your meals, you may experience greater satisfaction and changes in your physical, emotional, and mental health.
Eating slowly almost guarantees that you will eat less, feel better and be more in control of your eating.
To dovetail on the above habit – no matter what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, or with whom you eat, stop eating before you’re completely full. Eat to 80% full instead of 150% stuffed. The more automatic eating slowly becomes, the better you will be at detecting 80% fullness. Eighty percent full is all about HOW MUCH you eat and HOW IT FEELS to eat that type and amount of food. Many of us know what an 80% back squat or press feels like and this practice should become just as familiar.
While our focus for this challenge isn’t specifically weight loss, if you want to lose fat you just have to eat less than you have been. Just use the idea of 80% full to guide your own process of figuring it out. Only you can feel the sensations you experience during and after a meal. Do you feel good, energized, content? Or do you feel bogged down, heavy, and lethargic? Or something in between? You must tune in and pay attention to how you feel as you eat, as well as the effects you feel 20 minutes or so after eating to determine what amount and type of food is best for you.
How does eating feel? Why is portion control so challenging?
The two of these practices combined are the ultimate weight loss and weight management plan. You will almost inevitably lose weight if you practice eating slowly and to 80% full consistently for any extended period of time. Consider both of these the most foundational habits you can adopt in order to feel good, look good, and maintain a healthy weight for life.
So while you practice this new habit, don’t worry so much about changing what you currently eat. Of course food quality and nutrient density are important but those practices come later. For now, focus on slowing down, tuning in to your hunger cues and how you feel rather than mindlessly or quickly putting food in your face.
How Does the Week 1 Challenge Work?
You have two major challenges – 1: EAT SLOWLY and 2: ONLY EAT TO 80% FULL.
Newbies: You get a point if you make each meal last a full 10 minutes and if you walk away from the table UNSTUFFED. During those 10 minutes you can’t be on the phone, computer, or watching TV.
Ninjas: Your challenge is the same as the newbies but each major meal MUST HAVE GREEN VEGETABLES IN IT.
To earn your point you must do these things for each MAJOR meal i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Strategies for Making it Happen:
How to eat slowly AND to ONLY 80% Full:
These strategies work for both of our habits this week. Sit down to enjoy your meal rather than standing in the kitchen or driving in your car. Set down utensil between bites. Take a breath between bites. Pause between bites. Breathe. Become purposefully aware of how you feel.
Measuring before and After