First off, I want to say that this is not a blog vindicating the calorie myth. That said, the truth is we in western culture simply consume too much food. This over consumption is resulting in weight gain. It is awesome to be on a low-carb diet and not have to starve in order to lose weight. However, this does not mean that every meal should be a carb-free version of thanks giving.
What I want to talk about over the next two blog posts is why we overeat. In this blog, I will talk about one of the major reasons. What is that reason? Simply put, we let other things other than our stomach regulate when we are done eating.
So if we are not letting our stomach regulate our consumption of food, then what do we let regulate it?
What’s Left on The Plate
Often we let the plate tell us whether or not we are finished eating. Or to put it another way, when our plate is empty, we are done eating.
Paul McKenna has done experiments where he takes people out to breakfast. At breakfast he lets them order what ever they want and eat as much as they want. Most of the time the participants finish their plates. Then he takes the same subjects out on a different day and has them repeat the experience with one major edition–he blindfolds them.
The result is that most of the subjects only finish half of their food. Why? They are forced to listen to their stomach instead of their eyes in order to determine if they are full. The lesson here is to consciously check in with your stomach to see if you are actually full. If you are, stop eating.
Eating Too Fast
Another way we do not listen to our stomach is that we eat too fast. To my shame, I have gone to an all you can eat buffet and finished two plates in under 10 min. While I was working on my third plate, I discovered that I was not only that I was full but stuffed.
It takes a while for satiety signal from our food to set it. If we eat too fast we can over ride this signal.
Eating At Meal Times
There is also eating because it is meal time. That is to say we do not eat because we are hungry but we eat because it is “time” to eat. Most often this happens in the morning or at lunch.
In the morning, we are told that we should eat because we are suppose to eat breakfast even if we are not hungry. And personally speaking, I am not that hungry in the morning.
Then there is lunch. We are at work and the lunch break begins and we are suppose to eat even if we are not hungry. I cannot tell you how many times I have eaten lunch because it was “lunch time” even though I really did not want to eat.
Even though this happens mostly at breakfast and lunch, dinner can play into this too. If you have had a late or a substantial lunch, you may not be hungry at dinner time. But we eat anyway because it’s dinner time.
But why do we do this? There is no law that says you have to eat at meal times. You should eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
Finally, there are other distractions. People can be distracted by conversation, TV, Internet, children…. Before you know it you are eating more than you should.
There is nothing inherently wrong with doing these things while you eat. However, check in with yourself to find out whether or not you are full. You may be surprised to find out that you are no longer hungry sooner than you think.
In closing, the only thing that should really dictate whether or not you should eat is your stomach. If truly listen to your stomach and eat only when you are hungry and stop when you full you will find that you will eat much less.