Mindful eating or intuitive eating is a concept we see everywhere these days. But what is mindful eating?
Is as simple as eating when you are hungry and stop eating when you are not. Seems easy, but not everyone can do it. Have you ever been in a restaurant or in a family dinner where you are already full but you keep eating because it’s all so good you can’t stop? Yep you were not eating intuitively then.
If you are looking for maintaining your weight or losing weight without a diet this blog post can be very beneficial for you. Today we are sharing useful tips on mindful / intuitive eating for weight loss or weight control, particularly The Hunger Scale.
FOLLOWING A HEALTHY DIET – THE 80-20 RULE
Main two benefits or controlling how much you eat are: watch stubborn fat disappear and increased energy levels. Truth is, mindful and intuitive eating work best if you follow a healthy diet, not strict, healthy. That means that if you even want to eat a donut, or french fries you can, in moderation. Following the 80-20 rule is the best example, meaning that if the 80% of your diet consists of healthy whole foods, you can eat whatever you want in the other 20% window.
WEIGHT LOSS MISTAKE
Most people make the same basic weight loss mistake when they aren’t tracking their food, and they all believe in the same misconception “if you eat healthy foods you can eat as much as you want” that is a false statement. If you finish eating stuffed but not full you are not in touch with when you should start eating, and when you should stop. When overeating, even if it’s healthy food, we can get fat, and that’s when the Hunger Scale comes in.
MINDFUL – INTUITIVE EATING FOR WEIGHT LOSS
First step, we must do is recognizing our own personal hunger and satiety: “I’m getting full” or “I’m hungry” signals.
Second step, we need to learn when should we act on them.
You probably are a bit confused, let’s have a look at the Hunger Scale plus some tips to Identify when are we on a specific state:
- STARVING, RAVENOUS, FEELING WEAK OR DIZZY – “I’m dizy”
- VERY HUNGRY, CRANKY, LOW ENERGY, HUNGER, PANGS – “I’m Hangry”
- HUNGRY, STOMACH GROWLING – “I feel an empty stomach”
- STARTING TO FEEL HUNGRY, THOUGHTS ABOUT FOOD – “I’m ready to eat now”
- SATISFIED, FEELING NEITHER HUNGRY OR FULL – “If I don’t continue eating i will feel hungry in 30 minutes”
- FEELING GOOD BUT COULD EASILY EAT MORE – “I could stop eating now and don’t feel hungry”
- TOTALLY SATISFIED, WON’T BE HUNGRY FOR A WHILE – “My mind is on things other than food”
- FEELING FULL, STOMACH FEELS HEAVY – “I ate more than I needed”
- VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, STOMACH HURTS – “I’m very uncomfortable”
- STUFFED FULL, TO THE POINT OR SICKNESS OR DIFFICULTY TO MOVE – “OMG I need to lay down”
FROM 1 TO 3 – YOU SHOULD HAVE EATEN ALREADY
You ‘ll find yourself thinking “screw it I’m ordering the big Cheeseburger, big fries, side dish, dessert and milkshake”.
When we experience extreme hunger our body is looking for calories, at this point you crave unhealthy foods: high calorie low nutritional value foods like processed or fast food. If you experience this situations you find yourself binge eating, or cooking / ordering more food that you can eat, and will often find yourself in stages 8 – 10 after eating.
In this stage all our rational desires for healthy high nutritious foods have been overwhelmed by biologically propelled cravings, our body is asking for fast sugar.
4 AND 5 – TIME TO EAT!
“You will find yourself thinking “Is this going to be too much food? I’ll eat this first and if I’m hungry I’ll order more or maybe a coffee or dessert”.
You feel ready to eat but you are not starving or moody.
This is where you want and should start eating, your mind will logically think about the healthier option available and order / cook the right amount of food to keep you satisfied for a while without feeling stuffed.
6 AND 7 – YOU SHOULD HAVE STOPPED EATING
You’ll find yourself thinking “I could stop eating right now and don’t feel hungry, if I keep eating I’ll regret it”
You could keep eating, but if you did you’d lose that comfortable light feeling and end up bloated with your pants too tight. We need to learn to listen to our bodies and identify when we are satisfied but not full yet, believe me it’s not easy.
Reason is that it takes 20 minutes after you’ve eating for your brain’s satiety signals to kick in.
If you get up from the table close to full, 20 minutes later you will feel full.
If you get up from the table feeling a little too full, 20 minutes later you will feel really full.
FROM 8 TO 10 – YOU ATE TOO MUCH
You’ll find yourself thinking “Ah geez, I feel so big I need to loosen my belt’” or “Ugh, I should have stopped eating before”
Your stomach feels full, you are not comfortable walking but you need it to walk it down, you need something to wash it down and feel normal again. You don’t feel like yourself, you feel stuffed and now you have to loosen your belt or unbutton your pants.
This usually happens when we are very hungry before eating, or we are eating our favorite meal, or every year in thanksgiving or christmas dinner with the family. We all need a 1 to 2 hour nap after a food coma. The fact is, food comas are no fun in the long run. For 5 minutes of stuffing pleasure, we often get 5 hours of feeling crummy and fatigued.
DON’T STARVE AND DON’T STUFF
So as you can imagine, staying in the green area is the key to mindful eating which will result in a lower body fat percentage, a happier body, less bloating, increase energy levels.
To summarize if you wait until starving you will probably overeat and feel stuffed afterwards.
Real pleasure is being able to spend our days feeling vibrant and alive, and that’s what paying attention to our hunger and satiety cues can help give us.
WEIGHT LOSS TIPS TO USE THE HUNGER SCALE PROPERLY
Some days you might go for hours without feeling hungry, that may be a result of stress, vigorous exercise or that you ate too much at your previous meal. Give yourself some time to feel hungry again, drink tons of water and eat until satisfied in your next meal. (NUMBER 6.)
COME UP FOR AIR
In the middle of each meal, pause and identify your satiety level. Eat slowly, chew a lot and try to enjoy your food instead of shoving everything in the first 5 minutes. Half way through take a deep breath, put your fork down and ask yourself “where am I?” If you are at number 6 it’s time to stop.
One key to make good progress at the beginning is to stop eating while doing other things like working, watching TV , reading… when involved in other activities we are not aware of our appetite, we may not even be aware that we are eating! Did you ever had pizza while watching Tv and lost count of how many slices you ate? Or finish your slices without even realizing? If the answer is yes, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that we tend to overeat when not paying attention to food we end up eating subconsciously. And when that happens we don’t enjoy food as much, we basically focus our attention on other things rather than on the food flavour or our appetite levels.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Getting in touch with your hunger and satiety signals takes practice, people don’t automatically become mindful eaters, it’s a work in progress and you should allow yourself to make errors.
To get into The Hunger Scale habit and forget about the number one weight loss mistake : “starving to then end up overeating” practice to stay between the green range “Hungry” and “Satisfied”. Watch stubborn pounds disappear and energy levels soar.
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