Do you find you finish every meal wanting more? That you are eating well but are never satisfied? Or that you are always thinking about what is next even when you are still eating?
Below are my top 5 tips to help you get in tune with your natural hunger and avoid going back for seconds.
One. Eat slower – take your time and don’t eat on the go or standing up. This not only allows your stomach to have enough time to tell you, you are full but also encourages better digestion, easier weights loss or maintenance and greater satisfaction with our meals.
Two. Chew more – the recommendation for each mouthful is around 30 chews. Do you get that many now? Digestion starts in the mouth where we begin to break down the food we eat, it also sends signals to your stomach to start getting ready to digest. This means we have more time to listen to our “full” cue as well as the added bonus of less gas and bloating after we eat. I challenge you to count them out next time you eat and see if you can get a bit closer to 30.
Three. Drink water – often the feeling of hunger is mistaken for thirst, sending similar cues to the brain. Drink a glass of water before your meal or snack to tune into your body and make sure you are really hungry, not just thirsty. Aim for 2 litres of water every day, and no coffee and caffeinated tea don’t count. Water is essential for the transportation of nutrients around the body, aids detoxification and assists digestion.
Four. Avoid distracted eating – when eating in front of the TV it has been shown we can eat up to 14% more! Making a habit out of eating at the dinner table or away from your work desk can have a huge impact. This is something I aim to do each and every lunchtime, it’s a nice break from my work tasks and allows me to be more mindful around eating. Seems like a simple thing to do but 60% of Australians report they eat in front of the TV always, or often.
Five. Breathe – due to our fast paced lives and high stress environments we are often in our “flight-or-fight” nervous system. When we spend periods of time here our body diverts blood away from the digestive system and to organs that are required to survive. This means we produce less digestive acids, our digestive muscles contract less and we simply can’t absorb the food we eat as well as we should. When we breathe deeply we switch to our “rest-and-digest” nervous system, blood flows back to the digestive system making digestion more efficient and sending appropriate signals to the brain to tell us when we are full. So take some deep breaths before your meals, deep into the stomach to calm your mind and body.
With these small changes we give our body the time it needs to digest, assimilate nutrients and ensure we get the most out of the food we eat without eating too much or too little.
by Emma Barrett