Episode 295 – The Lost Strategy That Will Help You Lose Weight

Written by Jonathan

Last week I made this huge giant salad. I used spinach as the base, with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from our garden and then I put some olives cashews, hemp and chia seeds to top it all off with some balsamic vinaigrette. Of course, what I intended to be a modest lunch salad quickly turned into a giant beast of a salad, but I felt up to the challenge and started eating it with the intent of finishing the whole thing, but halfway through my son Cooper started to cry and I had to take an intermission from my salad to change his not so clean diaper, which took somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. But here’s the interesting thing that happened, when I sat down to finish my salad I was no longer hungry and instead of finishing it off like I would have in the past I put it in a container and ate it a couple of hours later when I was hungry again.

I don’t know if something like this has ever happened to you before where you’re famished at the start of a meal and get interrupted part way through only to realize when you come back to it that you’re not actually hungry anymore and you don’t need to finish all the food you prepared yourself. But it got me thinking about something, how often does the opposite happen, where you’re hungry, so you ram a bunch of food into you as fast as you can only to feel not only full, but stuffed 20 minutes or so after you finish your meal, I think for most people this secondary scenario is much more common. I know when I was a teenager I fell into this category, because when I came home from school almost everyday I would devour an entire box of crackers as a snack, but then be so full after I would unable to move or do anything productive, until dinner time when I would eat again.

What does this tell us? For me it says this, I’m a terrible judge of understanding how much food I need in the moment when I’m eating and if left to my own devices I will eat way more food than is necessary. Based on my experience and all the clients we’ve worked with I think this holds true for many people.

Which brings us to this question, What can we do about it besides having a crying baby? Which isn’t a good strategy because he cries inconsistently and isn’t reliable to always do it half way through the meal, plus he interrupts sleep which makes any strategy way harder to follow, but I digress.   

Honestly I don’t know what you can do about it, but here are some strategies that I’ve tried.

Most of the time I only eat one plate of dinner and if after that one plate I still feel hungry I can eat as much more as I want, as long as it’s vegetables. To help with this sometimes I pack all the leftover dinner away before I sit down to eat.  

If it’s something mixed together like a stir fry or chilli, sometimes I eat half of what I put on my plate and then put the rest in a container to eat for later.

If I’m on the road instead of taking a lunch and a snack I will just take my lunch, but have it split into halves, where I eat one half as a snack in the morning and the other half as a snack in the afternoon, effectively skipping lunch, but not really and then just in case it’s not enough I have vegetables and hummus ready to go as a snack when I get home.

About 5 or 6 years ago I bought smaller plates so I can’t physically put as much food on them, which also works well for this strategy and doesn’t require any noticeable changes.

Something I haven’t done, but know other people do is eat ¾ of the food on their plate and then put the rest in a container and if after 30 minutes they’re still hungry pull the container out and eat the rest of the food they were going to eat for dinner.   

As you’ve probably noticed all these strategies involve some form of planning to store your food in a different way, just taking less food or some combination of the two. All of these strategies are relatively simple to implement, but they aren’t necessarily easy, so something else I do to complement these strategies is eat more slowly and focus on the flavour of the food, as well as trying to be mindful of how I feel so that when I can’t employ any of these strategies I can at least understand how I’m supposed to feel when I eat. This change probably won’t have a dramatic weight loss effect, but if you’re consistently eating 10 to 20% less food it will definitely be noticeable, especially if you stack it with other healthy lifestyle changes that work for you.



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