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Monday, January 13, 2014

Know When to Stop

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to eat lunch with my parents and siblings.  One of the topics that was brought up was how to tell a good joke.  My brother's comment was to MAKE a joke about HOW to tell a joke.  It went along the lines of "What is the most important part of telling a joke, timing.....crap."  (This joke is obviously better when told aloud."  SO, ANYWAAAAYY, my comment was that I think that people need to know WHEN TO STOP.  Too often, people tell a joke, others laugh, and THAT encourages the joke teller to continue on.  Well, the next joke might be funny too, so people laugh.  But after that.... not so funny.

On the way home, I started thinking about how true that statement is to life, in general.  KNOW WHEN TO STOP.  Not only should people know when to stop telling a joke, but it helps to know when to stop when you are:

and, of course, EATING. 

THR's Current Struggle

Knowing when to stop eating has become my arch nemesis.  One would think that the answer would be easy.  "Stop eating when you are satisfied."  This is easier said than done!  I LOVE FOOD.  I love everything about it. I love the way it tastes, looks, smells...everything.  So, very often, when I am "satisfied," physically, I am NOT satisfied in other ways.  Sometimes, I just want to keep eating the food just to EXPERIENCE the food!!  The problem with this is it 100% of the time leads to OVER EATING.  So, my job today is to figure out HOW to KNOW WHEN TO STOP..... and still be completely satisfied.

Listen to the Physical Signals

In a previous blog, I have written about the physical signs of eating. Some of the tips included are to eat slowly, take time to TASTE the food, and to frequently check the hunger scale.

A way to test this would be to pay attention to how your stomach feels when you are hungry and then to how it feels after drinking a full glass of water. The empty sensation should fade slightly within a couple minutes of drinking the water, making your body feel less hungry. Using water to test this instead of food helps you pay more attention to your body instead of tasting the food.

When you eat, focus on how your stomach feels through the entire meal. As you become full, the empty feeling will be replaced with a gentle pressure. As soon as you feel the pressure in your stomach, stop eating. You should still feel light and energetic with this gentle pressure; if the fullness is uncomfortable, you overate.

Now, I am a CHAMP at noticing when I am around a "7" on this scale.  I am NOT a champ at STOPPING at that time.  So, I know WHEN to stop.  I just have to ACTUALLY do it!

Fulfill the Emotional Satisfaction

 One way that I thought might help me ACTUALLY stop eating, is to give it some time. 20 minutes to be exact. Once I hit the "7"mark, I can sit and enjoy the conversation, or perhaps, I can get up (away from the food) and start dishes or something.  The food will still be there in 20 minutes if I am really still hungry.

See, according to, Your stomach can hold up to 4 liters of volume -- about 17 cups -- but the feeling of satiety is not caused by your stomach being full. Instead, feeling full is a result of your brain reacting to chemicals released when you put food or drink in your stomach. Your brain takes around 20 minutes to register these chemicals. After your meal, the levels continue to rise over 10 to 30 minutes. They stay elevated for three to five hours following the meal, keeping you sated. As the chemical levels fall, the feeling of hunger returns. If you do not feel full directly following a meal, wait. As the level of chemicals increases, your hunger will dissipate.

So, even if you can't wait for 20 minutes.  Just sitting at your plate for a little bit to "let the food settle" will help. 

Don't Wait Until You are Ravenous to Eat Something

GUILTY AS CHARGED, SIR!!!  Look, I'm not going to give you all some big sob story about how busy I am.  We are ALL busy.  We all get doing that "one last thing" and the next thing we know, we are eating because we HAVE to before we pass out!  This happens to me a lot.  And, by "a lot," I mean pretty much at every meal. DON'T JUDGE! Yes, I KNOW that I need to be more in tune with my body and HONOR the HUNGER SIGNALS!  I wrote a whole post about HOW to do this! Just like we use the hunger scale to tell us when to stop, we need to use it to tell us WHEN to START! And, there was a time... before moving... that I was really good at it.  Now is NOT that time.  But, I know how to do this, and so do YOU! It's time to not let that "one last thing" get in the way of ME and MY NEEDS!  Be selfish for a little bit.  It's ok. 

Save Some For Later

Imagine that I had two $5 bills on the table (because the average meal of going out to eat is $10). You come and sit there and I tell you that you can have BOTH of them. BUT, for your own good, you can only have ONE $5 bill NOW. The other you can have the next day, or maybe two days later. Would you have an issue?  No, probably not.  So, WHY do we seem to have an issue saving some of our food for later?

I know MY answer is that the sequel is never as good as the first meal. There is a lot of food that just doesn't taste the same the second time around.  So, to say "I will take this home and eat it later" is not completely realistic for me.  I'm too picky. I realize that some foods DO re-heat OK. Chicken Noodle Soup, for example, re-heats wonderfully. So, in those cases, I'll go ahead and put the remaining food away, and enjoy it later. No skin off my nose. No money lost. No excess food in the body causing health problems and weight gain. Happy ending.

But, what about the times when you have the food that really WON'T reheat well?

YOU ARE NOT A GARBAGE CAN!  You don't have to finish it. If it's wasting money that you are worried about, get over it.  Let's use the example of the 2 $5 bills again. THIS time, I tell you that you can either HAVE the other $5 bill, but it will cause health problems and weight gain, and you won't feel very good if you have it. OR, you can just throw it away and not worry about it. What would you do? I would throw away the $5 like a moldy onion and get it as far away from ME as I could.

Actually, I would learn from my mistake and see if someone ELSE wanted to SHARE the two bills with me. I have come to accept that in the rare cases that we are eating out and a place that we will NEVER get to eat at again (like on vacation or something,) hubby and I will often SHARE a meal.  This way, we don't over eat, and we don't waste money. Plus, we can always order more food if the first round didn't satisfy us. This plan isn't fool proof though because more often than not, we both want different things. But, it is a better solution than throwing away "money" because you don't want to turn into a garbage can.

Ultimately, we eat to give our bodies the nutrients that they need to stay alive....for a long time. I know that the taste, look, smell, etc. shouldn't really matter.  My nephew will literally pour some oats in his mouth, wash it down with water and swallow a raw egg just to get his "fuel." Nope, not me. Can't do it. So, the next best thing is to follow the advice of Michael Pollen:

Eat food. (Real food.) Not Too Much. (Know when to stop.)  Mostly Plants. (Yup, go for the healthy stuff.)

I have a great nutrition plan HERE for those that want to look at it.  This is how I try to eat on most days.

After moving and not being focused on myself, I think that THIS is a great way to get back in the game.  Knowing when to stop will help me feel better after eating and will help my body get rid of the excess fat that it doesn't need, instead of storing it up.  I am re-learning WHEN to START, and when to STOP! Too much of a good thing is never fun. I'm confident that being aware of this trait will help me in more areas of my life other than eating.  Perhaps I will stop arguing before something hurtful is said.  Maybe I will stop explaining something before my kids roll their eyes.  And, who knows, maybe my joke telling might get better along the way.

TLDR: Follow these tips to know when you have satisfied your hunger. 

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