Are You Doing These Two Key Nutrition Habits?

Are You Doing These Two Key Nutrition Habits?

When it comes to nutrition, there are many approaches out there. Quite often, most people will find initial success with nearly any of these plans, but what happens when that success grinds to a halt? Or worse, the results you worked so hard and sacrificed for start to disappear, what can you do?

Most of the diets and nutrition plans out there are based on a set of rules to follow; No Carbs, No Fats, High Protein, Paleo Diet, Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting, Weight Watchers, Slimming World…

Most diets work by controlling your intake usually via restricting a particular food type or quantity

Rules are nice because they give us a clear set of what we should and shouldn’t be doing. Some people work well with a strict set of rules, however, in our experience this isn’t usually the case. What happens when we (inevitably) slip up and break a rule, what happens next? Where is our fall back, our plan B?

Our approach is to coach mindful eating. Mindful eating is when we listen to our bodies own cues and learn to appreciate the environment and other factors that may influence our choices. Now this may sound like some hippy new age thinking, but it is something we already do.

Homer Mindful Eating
Mindful Eating isn’t as extreme as this!

Think of it this way, when we are cold we look to get warm, when we are tired we want to go to sleep. We are mindful of what our bodies and environment are telling us. What makes it so different when it comes to how we feel about hunger? All too often, we end up having disrupted eating when we consider ourselves on a diet. We tell ourselves not to eat when we are hungry because we will gain weight. We starve ourselves to breaking point and then blame our lack of discipline for when we raided the biscuit tin. Let’s reframe this scenario, our body tells us we are hungry *stomach rumbles and feels empty*, rather than waiting another two hours or so to eat, we eat our lunch a little bit earlier than normal. We eat slowly and until we feel nearly full, not stuffed, now ready to tackle our afternoon. We have just performed two anchor habits!

Anchor Habits

Anchor habits are two actions we can practise to regain the skill of mindful eating. Regardless of what else we do we can always fall back to these habits.

Eating Slowly

That’s right, eating slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for our stomachs to tell our brains that we’ve had enough to eat. By eating slowly we give ourselves the best opportunity to receive this signal in time. This is a great habit to practice if you find yourself eating too much of the “wrong” foods. Think about it, if you rush your food, how much more can you get in? Those who are part of our ProCoach Club will have heard the story of me eating a large dominoes in one sitting too many times. Slow yourself down and see how much harder it is to eat more. Also, take your time to enjoy your food, nutrition isn’t all about gaining/losing weight, it’s about making tasty food. Let’s not rely on discipline!

Cookie Monster
How’s that discipline working out for you?

Eat Until 80% Full

We are learning to understand again how much we need to eat, much in the same way as when we turn the heating on because we are cold, we don’t (always) turn it up to 30 degrees! The next question that I am usually asked is “How much is 80%?”. It’s a very subjective feeling and one we must take time to learn. Thankfully, if we learn to eat slowly, it is easier to find out what 80% full feels like. It takes a little time to learn so experiment with it. If you feel stuffed, bloated and unable to eat another bite then it’s quite likely you are at least, if not more, than 100% full. If you feel like you could eat within an hour of finishing, it’s possible that you were less than 80% full. There is a great appetite awareness sheet available at Precision Nutrition.

Nutrition Gone Wrong
Monty Python: I think you may be more than 80% full!
The beauty of these habits is that they don’t require anything extra to perform. You can carry on eating the foods you would normally, but at a slower pace and to the point of feeling content. These obviously aren’t the only habits we will learn, but they form the cornerstone of a long term lifestyle change that doesn’t leave us high and dry if you slip up. I must add I was very pleased to see one of our clients has gone as far as putting a little reminder in his wallet to keep him on track. Mike later told me:

    Hi James, I must say I was more than a little sceptical about this course with the lack of specific diet advise etc, but I must say that already I am making positive changes to my nutrition whether these changes result in weight reduction is of less importance to me than knowing I am making better nutrition choices. Lessons are interesting and thought provoking.

A daily reminder!
Have a go at this for the next couple of weeks and see how you do. Of course we are here to support you with any help you may need. Research has shown that with the support of a coach you are 20-25% more likely to succeed at achieving your goals. If you’d like to find out more please contact me at james@adywatts.com