By Betty Thomason Owens
One of the most important aspects of a healthy diet is knowing when to eat and when to stop. If you’re “tuned in” to your body’s frequency, you’ll know when you’re really hungry and when you’re not. When is it thirst, and not hunger? When should you “just say no” to your cravings because your stomach is either full, or just not hungry?
If you have never experienced these signals, perhaps you’re not listening. Some of us were raised on a rigid dietary schedule. We ate when we were fed. In those cases, you will often notice hunger pangs right around the usual time of feeding. Babies usually cry to signal hunger pangs. When they grow up, they learn to solve the problem on their own. Some husbands apparently never grow past the crying stage, but that’s another subject.
If you sit down to a meal, and you’re not really hungry, do you eat anyway? Or do you nibble a few things and spend the time conversing with family or friends (assuming you have family and/or friends with which to enjoy your meal). If you live alone, or must eat alone, and you’re not hungry, you can just skip that meal and eat later. Complications usually arise when we must prepare and/or share meals with others. In many cases, we tend to eat whether we’re hungry or not.
According to Rebecca Scritchfield, in her article published in Health & Wellness (Eat & Run), July 2012:
Normal eating involves trusting your body to tell you when it needs nourishment and when it doesn’t. Normal eating is listening to those signals.
An exception to that rule: You should eat breakfast within two hours of rising, whether you feel like it or not, to create energy for your day. You’ll need the energy, even if you don’t exercise. Your brain will function better with the right fuel. Donuts and coffee may not be the best fuel for your brain or your body, so determine to make right choices.
Another key: Eat slowly and enjoy your food. When you concentrate on the food you’re eating and think about how it tastes, you’ll enjoy it more, and feel satisfied when finished.
Don’t overeat. You’ll also notice body signals when you’ve eaten enough. Learn to stop eating when you’re full. Don’t habitually overfill your tank, which could lead to weight problems down the road.
So eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. Easy, right? Well, if it was, we wouldn’t need to have this conversation. Sometimes, you just need to be reminded. If you can retrain your body in this way, you may notice positive side effects, like weight loss and extra energy. Don’t be alarmed, that’s the goal.
God bless your new year with success in this and every area of your life. And stop back in every Monday and Friday this month to learn more about Healthy Eating.