Eat Till You're Only 80 Percent Full
"At home it's easy to control your portion size. At restaurants, where meals tend to be enormous (you know the places), you need to calibrate.
Eat about half of what's on your plate, then pause. Do you feel satisfied? Not hungry anymore? Can you imagine a nice cup of chamomile tea instead of more food? Sit back. You're done."
Ok then, Dr. Lipman made that sound so easy peasy. Sweet, right? Um, I for one say "no, not easy, but desired and do-able"! If you believe it make take some trial and error to make this a daily practice take root, read on.
Let's talk about what's involved in eating till you are 80% full. Dr. Lipman's first mistake - in my opinion, is saying it's easy to control your portion size at home.It's also easy to fool yourself into believing that you are controlling your intake in the comfort of your home. We make all kinds of excuses for things in our comfy clothes at home. Besides I know plenty of people who don't eat their whole meals out in public only to go home and gorge on the rest in the privacy of their castle. I believe Dr. Lipman takes for granted (in his statement) that you are going to recognize 80% full on your first attempt. He says "can you imagine a nice cup of chamomile tea instead of more food?" Well, of course you can't because your brain will make every excuse it needs to take in the rest of your plate like it has done for God knows how long! Thoughts of chamomile tea being a great substitute for that feeling you interpret as hunger may not be in your food memories. Habits take practice, and this is definitely something you will want to make a habit.
First of all, like all pleasurable things, hunger starts in the brain. The memories you have made with foods; the smells, the social sharing, what it looks like, all stimulate chemicals in your brain to turn the thought of eating into the act of eating. So there may be more than your fork and spoon at work here.
I will lay out some characteristics that I think are involved in the success of eating till you are 80% full, and not gasping for your last breath to fit in 'just one more bite'. By the way, I am so guilty of that one! Recently I asked my husband to get me a salad at Moe's (chicken, tons of lettuce, guac, and black beans) because I was starving and hadn't planned a meal for that evening. Thinking he was being a good husband he requested enough food for two meals which was put into one bowl. Point is, it was in one bowl, and sometimes in my world that means one serving (at other times it mean you better eat it all because you may not get this again for a long time). Not having a meal plan for that night was not good, and letting myself get to the point of starving was a bad call too, then I did not put it into two separate dishes before I began eating (one for that meal, and one for another time), so I was pretty much at the mercy of the food. Or was I? More than anything, I forgot why it was so important to me that I follow the eat till 80% full rule. You see, I haven't written down 'my why' in a long time, and I am off course. So I sat down and put it on paper to begin the process again. I posted it on the refrigerator as a reminder to self! I felt I needed to retrain my brain. I've done this before, but one shot doesn't always take us to the goal line!
Here goes my list to be successful with this eating rule; a goal that involves you knowing your why, desire, emotional steadfastness, and the focus to retrain your brain while you work on putting a check mark next to the 80% full rule . Any one of those characteristics will get you to begin following the 80% rule, but to succeed over time, a combination of these characteristics is involved. Make it a habit through consistent, steady progress and recognizing what 80% full feels like to you.
What Pam Knows For Sure: Putting ink to paper or paws to computer (aka. journaling) will give you a heads up on the success you reach in your life goals; including targeting your fitness and nutrition aspirations. Plan on writing down your reason for wanting to be fit (eating well and moving). Make it personal, no one need see if you aren't the sharing type. This is for you, but YOU must have clearly defined reasons. It's the same principles as having a vision board. As you go to write, imagine what your healthy self will look like. Maybe go as far as taking a picture off line or out of a magazine of someone who could easily be the healthy you. Decide what activities you are likely to enjoy as a person in charge of their own life. Write down how you will you live out your days as a healthy person (i.e., spending less on health care, retaining your independence, feeling confident at the beach), and how you will hold yourself accountable to reach these very real goals? Write it down! If you think you can achieve the same success just thinking about it - you can't, so write it down! Write it down, and keep it somewhere visible as a reminder of what you want to achieve.
Some help with eating till your 80% full: Drink a full glass of H2O 30-45 minutes before you sit down to eat. Do not drink during eating your meal. Chew slowly and stop after 15 minutes of eating. Push your plate away or if you need to, get up and put your left overs into a container. Wait another 20-30 minutes. If you are still hungry, really hungry, eat the rest of your meal. However, if you are listening and your brain tells you you're not really hungry, but don't feel satisfied because you are just getting used to this new way of eating, then have a cup of green tea, oolong tea or 1/4 tsp. of honey with lemon to satisfy your itch for more food. Don't make the honey thing a habit , just an aid until you get used to the feeling of being satisfied, and not over-full.
What Pam Proposes: Be sure to surround yourself with like minds. Find a local health group, and join. It's hard to eat healthy and keep fit when your besties encourage lattes at Starbucks and sundaes at Dairy Queen. It's especially difficult in the beginning attempts to follow the 80% full rule. Decide what it will take for you to accomplish those goals we talked about, and then stick to them. Take a pic of what you wrote and bring it up on your phone when you are tempted by those oh-so-well-meaning 'friends'. If you aren't the type to grow new relationships easily, have a sit-down with your people and ask for their help. Tell them you would love to have them join you in your quest for a better way to live. Let them know if they aren't ready to join you, it's okay. Communicate why you really need their help to be successful. If you have to guilt trip them - do it (did I just say that?), whatever it takes for you to turn your life around. If, over time, friends don't seem so supportive, and actually undermine your efforts, it may be time for another heart-to-heart or you may need to look for new friends who understand your quest to improve your life.
If you want to turn your life around food-wise, you will need support! The reason people like working out in the semi-private setting here at TrainSmart, and in larger groups at cross-fit gyms across the country, is because it is a group of like-minded people who want to accomplish the same goals. That is not to say they are all doing it for the same reason, but the goal is the same - feel better and look better! There is an energy and power in like-mindedness!
Good luck with this 80% full rule! I would love to hear from you to find out how you are accomplishing this goal.