Calories in, calories out... that seems to be our fixation when we want to lose unwanted weight. It’s a common idea that cutting way back on calories will somehow cut back on weight. We think less food equals less fat. But, that’s not always the case. On top of that we have a tendency to cut out entire food groups or deprive ourselves. This is what I call dieting. And this is why I don’t diet - it doesn’t work.
What does work? Timely & mindful eating.
What do I mean exactly? Well, look at this way : You wouldn’t take your car on a road trip and drive your car on empty, then not fuel up until you've reached your destination, would you? Of course not. A car can’t run on empty so why do we think we can? The time you decide to eat is just as important as what and how much you eat. You fuel your car to get you somewhere, so think of fueling your body just the same.
Timely eating provides proper energy for your body so your days will be productive. It’s great to plan to eat about 5 small meals a day. The plus is you’ll keep your metabolism humming along while you’re at it. Also consider when you start and finish eating each day, to give your digestive system a break. In The Clean Program, Dr. Alejandro Junger calls this “The Twelve Hour Window”; leave a twelve-hour window from your last meal in the evening to the next mornings breakfast (hence, “break - fast”.) “If you fill up your belly late at night, and eat early again the next day, your body isn’t given the opportunity to clean house.”
Being mindful of what you eat means being aware of what you’re eating. For example, if your famished and after scarfing a bowl of ice cream down in front of the tv find you’re still hungry or craving something else, likely you aren’t being mindful of what you’re eating. Mindful eating takes the time to ask what your craving, to savor (or at least takes time to chew down) each bite and then realize when your satisfied. When you're unattached from these senses, you will likely overeat and not even enjoy your food, which is what typically leads to sugary and processed cravings, that never satisfy us like we think . So taking time to be aware of taste, quality and portion sizes will help you be more satisfied and keep you from over-indulging.
So mindful, along with timely eating should lead to a much more sound relationship with food and your body. We are in a lot more control of this and often give food or our schedules too much credit for controlling us. If you can be more mindful of what and when to eat, by the end of the day you'll feel satisfied and deal with less cravings to over-induldge. We're often famished by supper time and can’t get enough food. That’s normally where the cakes, cookies and ice creams come in. Bringing a little more attention and awareness to when and how you eat can bring you to eating more sensibly.
Things to remember to eat more timely and mindfully...
- Eat a satisfying breakfast about an hour after waking up
- Eat what you enjoy
- Chew thoroughly through eat bite (this will help you feel more satisfied, eat less & make food easier to digest)
- Fuel & stock up on smart snacks (like fruits, nuts, veggies & hummus)
- Keep snacks at a reasonable portion (fist-full not platter-full)
- Avoid waiting over 4 hours between meals
- Leave every meal feeling satisfied, rather than full
- Make your last meal a few hours before you go to bed to get more shut-eye and feel more alive the next morning