“There are starving children in Africa”

The words that ring throughout most 20 and 30 something’s as we reluctantly finish the last few congealed bites on our plate, reminiscing about the days of being made to stay at the dinner table until every ounce was eaten. And don’t even think about getting dessert if you haven’t eaten every bite.

What a privilege to actually be fed and watered with such intent. Being mad at your mum and dad for ‘making you’ leave food is about as pointless as counting the calories in sugar free drinks. They did what they were told was best at the time. Like it or not, at least 10 years of research has come since those days (possibly a few more for many of us). And nowadays, it’s relatively well accepted that we should trust our children to eat to hunger and fullness.

But what if you’re an (ahem) 80s baby? 90s baby? Even a 00s baby (I’m pretty sure the guilt trip was still a tried and tested parenting technique back then)?

Let’s think practically what you can do to support you now to stop eating when you’re full.

Firstly, let me say this. If you don’t feel satisfied, don’t leave food on your plate. That’s just silly talk. Secondly, it is also more than ok to eat past fullness sometimes. Because food is delicious and is far more than just ‘fuel’. 

I’m talking here about those times when you’re well and truly satisfied, you feel full and you find yourself chowing down ‘because it’s there’. Those last few bits of pasty pasta, the cold congealed oats, the dry scraggly chicken… You get the idea.

Follow these steps with your next meal.

Before your meal

  1. Rate yourself out of 10 in terms of hunger (1 being satisfied, not hungry at all; 10 being really hungry)
  2. Serve yourself a portion of food that is a bit more than you’d usually have

During your meal

  1. Eat half of your meal
  2. Remember, take your time
  3. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls
  4. Eat without distraction
  5. Rate yourself out of 10 in terms of hunger
  6. Wait 5-10 minutes
  7. Rate yourself out of 10 in terms of hunger
  8. Eat more if you are actually hungry for more
  9. Ask yourself: ‘Does this taste as good as the first bite?’… Well? Does it?

After your meal / snack

  1. Rate yourself out of 10 in terms of hunger

If you’re halfway or finished and you’re already a 1 in terms of hunger (i.e. not hungry at all), what purpose is the remaining food serving?

There’s a difference between fullness and satiety and often, your stomach might be ‘full’ but you are not satiated. This happens when you fill up on veggies and high fibre foods and often leads to the next common phrase “I’m always hungry” (we’ll cover that another day, but if this is you, focus on satisfying foods instead of solely ‘diet’ ones).

It isn’t wasteful to recycle food or leave it until later. It is wasteful if you’re stuffed full and you’re eating it for the sake of it (I mean, if it is still as delicious in the end, eating until you’re stuffed probably isn’t wasteful).

 

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And if you’re ready to do more work like this on your fitness and health journey, if you want to learn how to lose weight or learn how nutrition like this can support you in the gym, apply to work with me one to one here Or if you’d prefer a less intense, cheaper option, sign up to join the next intake of The Body and Mindfulness Collective here.

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