Welcome to day 6!
Yesterday I introduced you to the habit of eating slowly and showed you how it’s one of the most effective ways to gain better control over your eating habits.
Today, I want to introduce you to a habit that goes hand-in-hand with that habit: Eating to 80% full.
The reason these two habits go so well together is because when you eat slowly, you are better able to pay attention to just how hungry or how full you actually are.
And when you are deliberately trying to eat to 80% full, you have to eat slower in order to stay in touch with how hungry or satisfied you are so that you don’t overshoot how much you eat.
See? They compliment each other perfectly.
So, what exactly is “80 full”?
In short, “80% full” is that sweet spot between being hungry and being full or even stuffed. It’s when you simply no longer feel hungry and no longer feel the need to eat.
This is a great place to be at if you are aiming to lose fat or maintain a healthy body weight, especially if you combine it with the Sleekgeek
Food List, a well-balanced meal with the Sleekgeek Healthy Meal Template and sensible Portion Control Guidelines.
Something I want to highlight is that “80% full” is not a specific number. It’s an intention.
The habit of eating to 80% full is simply a conscious effort while eating to not overeat. The goal is to avoid ending up “stuffed” and therefore eating too much unnecessarily.
Being mindful of how much you eat and whether you are still actually hungry before taking the next bite of food is a very useful tool for losing fat as well as for effortlessly maintaining a healthy weight.
Just like with eating slowly, eating to 80% full is more important than what you eat, when you eat, where you eat, or who you eat with!
Because no matter what comes your way, you can always choose to eat to 80% full with any food, at any time, anywhere, around anyone, in any situation.
These two habits together give you an enormous amount of power and control when it comes to eating out at restaurants, work events, while traveling, or just when you are not able to eat what you would ideally prefer to eat.
Being able to eat slowly and to 80% full helps you move away from the “all or nothing” mindset, where for example, you go out to eat and say to yourself “Well, this burger ain’t healthy, and there is not much I can do about that, so I may as well eat the whooooole thing even though I’ll feel uncomfortably full afterwards”.
Instead, what it lets you do is say to yourself “Well, this burger ain’t healthy, but I can still apply moderation and eat until 80% full. That way it will have very little negative effect on my progress and I can get right back on track tomorrow without having ‘fallen off the wagon’”.
OK, so how do you identify what 80% full is?
Well, you probably know what “stuffed” feels like, right? When you are just about struggling to breathe and unbuttoning the top button of your jeans to ease the discomfort…
Let’s call that “150% full”.
You also might know what absolutely “starving” feels like. Thankfully very few of us experience true primal starvation, but when that 10am snack feels like such a long way away from breakfast, I’m sure you can guess what it must be like to go without food for days…
Let’s call that “0% full”.
Somewhere in between all of that is the sweet spot of “80% full”.
You may need to first identify what 100% full or even 150% full feels like first so that you can work your way backwards from there to find something closer to 80% full.
At times you may even overshoot and eat too little, finding yourself still hungry and in need of a snack 20 mins later. That’s OK, it requires practice, and even we don’t get it right 100% of the time. If you eat too little for a day or end up supplementing your meal with another snack, neither will be the end of the world. You’re learning.
Ideally, you should be able to finish your meal no longer hungry (possibly even a bit doubtful that it was enough food) and then find that 10-20 minutes later you surprisingly actually feel comfortably satisfied and satiated.
To help you better identify when you are 80% full, there are a few signs that you can pay attention to.
1. Hunger Cues such as a growling or empty-feeling in your stomach, feeling “hangry”, maybe a hunger headache or feeling lightheaded, and so on.
2. Over-Fullness Cues such as feeling stuffed or bloated like you are ready to pop, uncomfortably full, feeling a bit heavy and sluggish, maybe even heartburn or nausea or gassy, and so on.
3. Satiety Cues such as feeling energised and no longer hungry, feeling fairly satisfied and satiated, feeling as though if you stopped eating now you would be just fine, and so on.
Before I finish off, I do want to help you avoid one of the most common mistakes that people make:
That’s confusing eating to 80% full with eating 80% of what’s on your plate and then throwing the other 20% away.
They are not the same thing!
Ideally, you want to get to the point where you are in-tune with your hunger and serve yourself exactly the right amount.
However, this takes practice. Even we don’t get this right every time. Some times we serve ourselves a bit much and some times we serve ourselves too little.
No one is perfect, so don’t worry about getting it 100% right 100% of the time. Your hunger tends to change day-by-day depending on how active you are and what else you have eaten that day.
So just take it one step at a time. Just the act of thinking about your hunger and serving with the intention of eating to 80% full means that you will likely get a lot closer to your goal than if you were just serving (and then eating) mindlessly.
So for today, all I want you to do is to practice eating slowly and to 80% full.
Remember, health is a skill. You don’t just wake up one day and become a slow or mindful eater. It’s something that you work on over and over again, slowly getting better at over time. Focus on what you can do to just get a teeeny tiny bit better each day.
See you tomorrow! Cheers