You’ve often heard that in order to diet successfully, you need to eat less. It’s true that it is important to grow accustomed to eating smaller portions to lose weight in a healthy way, because otherwise you might have nutritional deficiencies or eventually revert to being overweight once you stop dieting.
In today’s article, we want to provide some basic tips that will help you learn to eat with more common sense and portion control, and get you to your ideal weight without too much effort or sacrifice.
Your stomach adapts
Your stomach has a wonderful virtue: it quickly adapts to the amount of food you eat. You’ll see how, if you grow accustomed to eating more or less at certain times, you’ll eventually begin to crave those same amounts at those times.
This aspect can greatly help you reach your weight loss goals. But you do need to be sure you’re giving your body all the nutrients it requires; otherwise, it can provoke the opposite response and cause you to store fat and gain weight.
How can you do this?
To start adapting your stomach to the amount of food that you eat, try following some of the tips below:
- Avoid going for more than four or five hours without eating something. It’s important not to eat before you have digested your previous meal, but you don’t want to starve yourself between meals – it could cause you to overeat at the next one.
- Try having a little fresh fruit, some yogurt, or whole grain bread between meals. These are foods that are highly satisfying, and they provide lots of nutrients in small amounts.
- Get used to drinking plenty of fluids, either teas or water, between meals, because it’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, causing you to eat when you’re not actually hungry.
Want to know more? Read: Lose Weight by Eating Bread
How long does hunger last?
Studies have shown that real hunger pangs don’t last for more than 15 or 20 minutes. That’s why people who eat slowly and chew their food well feel satisfied sooner than those who eat quickly and impulsively.
You can test this theory by chewing each bite until it is almost completely mashed before swallowing. This has the additional benefit of improving your entire digestion, allowing you to eat less without starving yourself.
Why do most people who eat too much have a need to feel full, in order to feel satisfied? They’ve confused their need to eat for sustenance with a feeling of fullness associated with overeating.
In a lot of cases, this need is related to emotional requirements that aren’t being fulfilled, periods of sadness or sorrow, or times of stress and exhaustion.
Your body will attempt to fill an emotional void to provide it with energy, but if you don’t control what you eat, the end results are usually negative. You may choose unhealthy foods, for example, making digestion more difficult and ultimately increasing feelings of guilt and regret.
Don’t forget to read: 7 Pieces of Practical Advice to Reduce Stress
The key is 80%
You have to learn to stop eating when you feel satisfied, at that moment when you’re no longer hungry but feel like you could probably still eat a little more.
This is the instant that you usually want to eat the most unhealthy option – a refill of what was on your plate, or some dessert.
To give you a rough idea of what you should strive for, try only eating 80% of your capacity.
The first few days of this will be unpleasant if you’re not used to it, but a digestive tea can be very effective in soothing that lingering feeling of emptiness. Soon you’ll notice that your residual hunger has disappeared, and eventually you’ll be able to limit yourself naturally.
In addition, eating 80% has another advantage because by not overloading your digestive system, your body needs less time to build its energy stores back up – this is the opposite of what happens when you eat more than you should, or choose very heavy foods.
This is how you can become more active and undertake your normal activities without overeating. During the night, for example, your liver will function more efficiently, giving you better rest and allowing you to wake up feeling energetic and ready to face the day.