Look to nature…

Have you ever compared the body structure of a horse to that of a polar bear?  In Bill Phillips wonderful book Body for Life, he does just that.

“It’s revealing to take a look at the animal kingdom and notice the relationship between creatures’ eating patterns and their body “types.”  At one end of the spectrum are animals that load up on large amounts of food at one “meal,” then go for days, weeks, or even months without eating at all.  Bears are a prime example of this type of infrequent feeder.  They’re what I call bingers.  They have huge body-fat storage compartments to stockpile the fuel they’ll need to carry them from one feeding to the next.  At the other end of the eating-pattern spectrum are the frequent feeders:  animals that eat almost constantly but in far lesser amounts.  Horses, buffalo, elk – I call these grazers.  Relatively speaking, they have very low body fat and lots of lean muscle.”

So, should we graze or binge?  I think the answer is clear.

Habits die hard

The habit of listening to my body and eating when I was hungry, and not eating when I wasn’t took a long time to develop.  It was hard for me to grasp the idea that I shouldn’t eat something even if it was good for me.  I also had a hard time changing my portion size.  For some reason I felt like I needed to fill my plate to the max at every meal.  When I started changing my portion size I had to repeatedly remind myself that if I was still hungry after eating, I could always get more! 

Two simple habit changes that have to potential effect on so many things.  I truly believe that in order to succeed in maintaining a healthy body is learning to change your portion size and in turn you also end up eating more often.

Tip for success

The main change I had to make in order to practice smaller portion size, was to make a big deal out of my meal.  When I ate I had to sit down and consciously eat slowly.  I let the food sit in my mouth, and I tasted it.  I don’t get, or try not to get distracted, so that I don’t simply start shoveling my food in without thought.

This way, by the time my stomach tells me I am full, physiologically I feel like I have fed myself.  In the past, when I would rush around eating, not thinking about what I put in my mouth, by the time I felt full, I still didn’t actually feel like I had eaten so I would eat more.

So, in short, three things you can do to create healthy habits are as follows:

  1. Graze, don’t binge
  2. Be conscious about what you eat.  Taste it, feel it, enjoy it.  Make a deal out of your meal.
  3. Smaller portion sizes!  Slow down and eat every bite, and your half portion will feel very satisfying indeed.

Good luck!!

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