I’ve worked with hundreds of women over the last eight years on their health and fitness goals, and the most common question I get about their fitpursuit is; what the hell do I eat?!! As trainers and fitness coaches, we can’t separate the need for proper nutrition from an exercise routine without setting a client up for failure. And while the answer to the question of what to eat will vary from person to person, there are some things that can make the process of discovering what works best with each person’s body, a more peaceful experience. Here are 5 simple ways to set yourself up for success!
1. Sit down to eat.
This is an almost laughable task for some people (including myself a lot of the time), but sitting to eat allows us to better know when we’ve reached fullness and pay attention to hunger cues rather than multitasking.
2. Examine your food, first.
How many times have you sat down to eat and your food wasn’t warm enough, cool enough, or even tasty? Could it use some seasoning or spice? This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process, but just taking a moment to ensure that your food can be enjoyed as best as possible is just as important as making it fit your macros (or whatever your food plan calls for).
3. Eliminate distractions.
So me of the difficulty with overeating especially, is the tendency to eat mindlessly. Watching T.V. or perusing social media during a meal can lead to unconsciously eating more than you need or want to. Make it a point to eat away from those distractions and notice how much easier it is to identify when you’ve had enough.
4. Hara Hachi Bu.
Often we’ve trained our bodies to eat what we’ve been served which can lead to ignoring our natural fullness cues. Interestingly, when we eat until we are completely full, we’ve actually past the point of satiation because it generally takes anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes for our brains to register how much we’ve eaten. If you practice eating till 80% full, as this Japanese practice of Hara Hachi Bu suggests, you will pay more attention to satiety cues and be more likely to avoid overeating.
5. Chew your food.
If you’ve ever seen me eat, this one is definitely still on my goals list… Even if I manage to sit down, away from distraction, I find myself inhaling bites in between chasing toddlers or any number of other noneating related activities. Digestion starts in the mouth and in order to even absorb the most nutrients from a meal, chewing is essential! This will also make digestion easier for your body, and automatically slow you down helping with your ability to find that 80%. If you’re already one of those sloweaters you’re probably lost on this one, but for the rest of us: take the time to slow down and CHEW!