With Christmas fast approaching and of course, Christmas dinner, we all know this is the time of year when it’s a bit too easy to overeat. Perhaps you associate Christmas with food, food, food?! Perhaps you’ve been brought up in a ‘clean your plate’ environment and told not to waste food. On top of this the size of your plate, and the amount of food on it, is also an important factor. Even if you don’t clear your plate do you wait to feel uncomfortably full before stopping?
Of course everyone loves a Christmas dinner and there is often a wide selection of foods to choose from but do you really need to eat 4 or more pigs in blankets and/or Yorkshire puds, or half a plate of roasties? When you do what happens afterwards? You can’t move, you need to sleep – on comes the food coma! Is this really a pleasant feeling? This is often why so many people put on even more weight over Christmas and panic diet in the New Year.
The key to this is to be more aware of your body and the signals it gives you. The signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Do you take your time to eat or do you wolf it down? Your body may not signal your fullness if you bolt down your food until it’s too late. To digest food properly and obtain the nutrients from it it’s essential to take the time to smell your food and appreciate it to get the digestive juices flowing. Chew slowly and for at the very least, 20 times. Pause in the middle of eating and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what your current hunger level is.
Identify your comfortable satiety which is of course highly individual. It might be a subtle feeling of stomach fullness, feeling satisfied and content or nothingness – neither hungry nor full. Again, when you finish eating, ask yourself where your fullness level is now. Did you reach comfortable satiety? Did you surpass it? By how much? Discovering your fullness level will help you identify your last bite threshold. It may take you time to get to this point. The longer you have been disconnected from your body’s fullness, the longer it will take to identify.
In your mind create a fullness discovery scale with ‘satisfied’ set at around 3 and anything higher an indicator that you’ve eaten too much. This makes healthy eating in respect to the amount of food you eat, more of a conscious act than a subconscious one done on autopilot. This is using your intuition and bringing it into your consciousness to enable you to eat the right amount of food for you.