So, what do Sasquatch and the number one tip have to do with one another? They are both primal, obvious and big, and oh-so elusive. One of the simplest and most obvious ways to lose weight or to FUEL our bodies instead of just eating is to listen. It's to get quiet and listen within instead of searching for the BIG answer (like Sasquatch).
We have lost touch with the primal instinct called hunger. If you learn how to get back in touch with it, you can use it to your advantage. You can use it to lose weight and to practice being mindful. Start listening to your hunger signals. Learn what they feel like inside of your body before you reach for something to eat.
So what is the best time to eat? This question has attracted curiosity from the nutrition world and all of for a long time. I have recently seen a lot about food timing and recommendations on when you "should" be eating. I even have some recommendations about food timing. It has been and is still being, widely debated.
However, it isn't as complicated as it seems. And before you focus on extensive diets or timing our meals or just keep eating haphazardly, I'd like you to try this one little tip:
I know that sounds simple. And it is. What we end up doing in our busy lives is eating when our watch tells us to eat or when we go to dinner with clients, or when everyone else is eating. We feel we "should" eat now because we may get hungry later. We're training our bodies to eat when we actually don't even need that food.
We also eat due to pressure from friends, family, and coworkers. When someone asks us to try something, or go out to eat with them we feel obligated due to social pressure.
The simple answer to this is don’t eat on a specific schedule yet. Yeah, that’s right, you don’t need to follow an external eating schedule. Instead, eat when you feel truly hungry. You will get back in touch with your internal signals led by your brain and body. Your digestive system works in an elegant way - so let it do its job!
We have lost touch with what it feels like to be truly hungry-so instead of eating on an external schedule-listen to your body. Whenever you are out of energy or if your digestive system detects that you need to eat something, it sends out a signal to your brain to let you know. Sometimes those signals can be off-but, we can't even know that if we aren't even listening to them in the first place! So, the first step is always to tune into your own body and listen to your hunger signals. Then, and only then, can we determine if you "should" eat or wait? So, rather than following a stereotypical eating schedule, eat only when you truly feel physical hunger.
This concept is simple to grasp and implement in your daily life. Just this small change in your lifestyle is going to help you get in touch with your eating habits and form the foundation of knowing your own body. It is a minor adjustment and doesn't take any more time-just more presence. When you bring your awareness to your hunger, it is an opportunity to literally become present. And, that, is a form of meditation. Being present in the moment and listening to your body is a great way to pay attention to your mind and body in the middle of your day. It is a simple yet powerful step in forming strong patterns in your brain that will form new neural connections and become who you are. And, that, is the foundation of transformation over change.
When you begin to pay attention to your hunger signals, you are gathering extensive information on why you are hungry. You will begin to notice if it is physical or perhaps emotional. When we have that information, then we can begin to address the correct issue. We can't know that unless we let ourselves experience hunger. So, how do you experience hunger?
OK, so now that we know that one of the smartest ways to approach your diet is by eating ONLY when you are physically hungry. How can you best implement that?
It is amazing how many people say they are not sure what real hunger even feels like! This is your opportunity to really experience your body's signals. You can use this little tool to get back in touch with your own hunger. This is a hunger scale. You are measuring the degreased of your hunger level on a scale from negative 10 to positive 10. Think of 0 as the midpoint where you are not hungry or full, you are feeling comfortable. Positive 10 is the feeling that you're so full you can't eat anymore. Negative 10 is that you're so hungry that you'll eat anything you can get your hands on!
Only eat when your hunger is around a negative 2. Try not to let yourself get too far down the hunger scale. Be present during your meal, and stop eating when you're at a +2. These numbers are relative and you need to make an educated guess to start. Just being present to your physical hunger and fullness is a major step all by itself.
Trust your system and give it your best guess. Actually paying attention to your physical hunger is a beautiful thing. It's a great way to get back in touch with yourself and let your body do its job.