Two Eating Strategies That Trump Every Single Diet in the World

by Suzanne Hiscock
Have you ever started a new diet only to find yourself falling off of it a few weeks later?

You’re full of enthusiasm when you start. 

You empty out your fridge and pantry of all the “bad” foods.

You fill them up with only your “allowed” foods.

You search for a bunch of recipes online, plan out snacks (if you're allowed to have snacks) and constantly re-read all these new rules you have to follow.

But then, a few weeks later, you discover you really like eating fruit.  Or dairy.  Or pasta.   Or chocolate.

Chocolate.  That's a biggie.  You REALLY, REALLY miss chocolate.

Actually, you kind of  miss all the foods you're not allowed to eat.  So, you start thinking about them like a long-lost love.  *le sigh*

And all those rules about what to eat and when?  They get really complicated, really quickly when you’re out eating with friends.  Or sitting through a family meal during the holidays.

After a while, it’s just so much easier -- and more comfortable -- to fall back on old food habits.

You're NOT the Problem

Yup, you heard me.  The problem isn’t you.

The problem is, these diet companies try to make YOU fit THEIR rules.

But you’re unique.  You have your likes and dislikes.  There’s no way one particular diet is going to suit you exactly.

Instead, what you need to do is focus on two eating strategies that will help you lose weight no matter what diet you’re on (or not on).

They’re laughably simple.  They’re also easy to remember, unlike the 101 Rules to Remember when doing some fad diet.

These two strategies might not be easy at first.  Like anything else, they’re habits you need to practice.

But do them at each and every meal and I guarantee you’ll start losing weight.  .

These two strategies are the anchor habits of the FitWatch Nutrition Coaching program.  Learn more about how I can help coach you through these two life-changing, weight loss habits.

Let's start with the first strategy.

1) Eat Slowly.

 “ Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world revolves— slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.

  Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh, meditation teacher


Inhaling food. That’s how most of us do it.

You have a meeting in five minutes but you didn’t have time for lunch.  Inhale half a sandwich.

That chocolate peanut butter ice cream is OMG-GOOD.  Gotta inhale it before you explode.

Friday night pizza night? Shoop!  Pizza’s gone in two seconds flat.

Do you know how bodybuilders gain weight?  They eat fast.  They eat fast so they can get the extra calories in before their body tells them it’s full.

Wouldn’t it make sense to do the polar opposite of that if you want to LOSE weight?

The next meal you have, take note of the time you start eating your meal.  Then -- you guessed it -- note the time when you end the meal.

Bet it didn’t take too long.

When you eat quickly, your body doesn’t have enough time to tell you it’s full.  You need about 15 to 20 minutes for that.  So, you eat more calories than you actually need.

The worst part is, you don’t even have time to savor the food.  Food, my friend, is meant to be savored.  Religiously.

Here are a few strategies to help you eat more slowly:

Before Eating
 
  • Ask yourself these three questionsAm I Hungry?  Is it Healthy? Is it Helpful? 
  • Ask yourself, “What’s going on right now?”  We usually eat quickly when we’re stressed or feeling some strong emotion.  Slow down even before you start eating.
  • Take a few deep breaths for about 30 seconds before sitting down to eat.
  • If necessary, set a timer to help you pace yourself. Start with a time that’s just a little bit longer than how quickly you usually eat.  Add an extra few seconds at the next meal.

While You’re Eating
 
  • Make yourself aware of the flavors, the texture of the food.  Does it crunch?  Is it creamy?
  • Take a sip of water between every other bite.
  • Put your utensils down between bites. 
  • Pick the person who eats the slowest and match them bite for bite.

When you eat more slowly:
 
  • You’ll enjoy your food more.  This can lead to fewer cravings.
  • You’ll have a *real* feeling of satiety -- and one that can last longer.
  • You’ll eat fewer calories.
One final tip:  Ditch the distractions.  Easier said than done, I know.  But if you’re distracted, you can’t pay attention to how slowly -- or quickly -- you’re eating.  You’re basically eating mindlessly.

2) Eat Till 80% Full

The second habit seems like a no-brainer.  It’s obvious, right?  Don’t stuff yourself.  Or rather, eat until just before you get you full.  80% is a percentage to aim for.

Most of us have lost our ability to tune in to not only our  (real) hunger cues, but our fullness cues.  We go above and beyond what we need.

Food tastes great. So, we eat till we’re stuffed.

Food makes us feel good.  So, we eat till we’re stuffed.

But what if I told you, you feel even *better* when you don’t stuff yourself?

What if I told you, you enjoy your food *more* when you don’t stuff yourself?

Put that together with eating slowly, and you’ll be amazed at this whole new level of enjoying food.

You Won't Feel Guilty, Bloated and Lethargic.

When you eat mindfully and till 80% full, you feel:
  • Less bloating and gas.
  • More energy.
  • Less guilt.

And?  You lose weight.

These two habits can also have a snowball effect.

You realize you CAN make changes to your eating habits.

It encourages you to add in other healthy eating habits.

You may even -- gasp! -- start exercising because you feel so much better.

Even a walk after supper becomes something possible.  You can’t do that comfortably when you to 100% full and beyond.

How Do You Know When You’re 80% Full?

It may take some practice for you to figure it out.  And we’re not looking for a perfect, exact number here.

Ask yourself right now what feeling 100% + full feels like to you.  Got a few feelings in mind?

It’s the opposite of that.

I could give you a few ideas, but it's different for everybody.  You need to ask yourself what 80% full feels like to you.
 

What To Do Next

So, there you have it.  Two basic yet powerful eating habits you can do anywhere and at any time.  You don’t even need special foods or special rules to do them.

Experiment and explore with these two habits.  How slow can you go?  Does 80% full feel as good as I said it would?

Practice them each and every day.  Before you know it, you’ll have an entirely different relationship with food.

Tired of Quick Fixes and Fad Diets?

If you're tired of quick fixes and fad diets -- and you'd like to learn more about losing weight by changing habits like these -- check out my online nutrition coaching program.  

Learn More - FitWatch Nutrition Coaching Program


Must Read
Why Eating Slower Helps You Lose Weight.
You Need to Slow Down to Lose Weight
10 Ways to Eat Less and Lose Weight


 
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About the Author

Suzanne Hiscock is a PN1 Nutrition Coach, ACE-certified Health Coach, as well as an ACE-certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. For over 16 years, she has been helping people lose weight and get fit through her website, FitWatch.com. Whether it's with one-on-one nutrition coaching, nutrition programs or courses, and tools or calculators, she can help you to eat better, move more and believe in yourself.