Although a lot of diets and other health regimes tell you what to eat and how much of each foodstuff to use; there aren’t that many that actually tell you how to eat to lose weight.
Here, then, are 7 weight loss promoting eating habits that even acted on individually will lead to a loss of weight, but combined will act faster.
HABIT 1: (true)
Eat only when really hungry
All these diet regimes tell you when you should eat, they tell you what, when and how much you should drink. You don’t need all these rules. Our internal systems tell you when they need refilling.
You should eat when you are hungry and you should drink when you are thirsty. We’re all different and we’re all hungry and thirsty at different times.
However, there is one habit you should never break – never eat if you’re NOT hungry and never drink if you’re NOT thirsty.
Overeating won’t actually do you any good – in fact, it just overloads your digestive process which can lead to indigestion, gas and other, less pleasant outpourings.
HABIT 2: (true)
Eat slowly in an easy, relaxed atmosphere
Chewing your food well is an excellent start to a decent digestion. Our saliva contains an enzyme called Amylase, whose function it is to start breaking down simple sugars and starches that can be more easily absorbed by our small intestine.
To get the best out of our saliva, it’s recommended that we chew our food between 30 and 40 times! That’s OK for a piece of meat or a root vegetable but have tried to do that on a mouthful of ripe berries??
This mechanical side of digestion is called, by the medical system, ‘fletcherizing’ and if you fletcher your food, you’ll find that your rate of swallowing will slow up too.
Food is there to be enjoyed – not just used as a fuel; so eating good food with friends in a relaxed, unhurried atmsophere will help your overall gut health and, by extension, your overall healthfulness
HABIT 3: (evens)
Eat smaller amounts of food more often
We seem to be geared towards eating 2 or 3 big meals per day when evidence points towards the fact that we should be eating 5-6 meals a day with only 2 or 3 hours between each intake.
Although eating more often in smaller amounts actually helps reduce the hunger pangs that could lead to over-eating; a study published in 2015 by the Harvard Medical School seemed to state that there is no difference in the amount of weight lost whether you eat 3 times a day or 6 times a day. You can see the entire article here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/eating-frequency-and-weight-loss
One way this study highlighted for losing weight is to replace high energy-dense foods (such as animal proteins) with lower energy-dense foods such as vegetables – well, that’s a good thing!
HABIT 4: (false)
Do not mix too many foods in the same meal
All the different foods we put into our mouths require a completely different set of enzymes for effective digestion. Piling too many different foods at the same time is, obviously, going to lessen our system’s ability to digest them all efficiently.
One of my recent meals, before I studied this Airola Diet, consisted of:
Cold, ready-cooked king prawns
Slice of rye bread
A spoonful of mayo
Too much variety – looked good n healthy – turns out it wasn’t the brightest choice!
Actually, doing further research online I’ve discovered that this habit isn’t worth following – our digestive tract is a powerful beast and can easily digest different food groups in the same meal – we can successfully ignore this habit!
HABIT 5: (false)
Do not mix raw vegetables and raw fruit in the same meal
Again, this Habit has now been declared hokum!
This method of separating out our foodstuffs into different macrobiotic groups is called “Food Combining” and online information sites such as LiveStrong and SFGate basically state that our digestive tracts don’t pump out the specific enzyme that each macro group needs so that it can be digested – it pumps out everything it has, all at the same time.
Look, the human being is an ‘omnivore’ meaning that we eat everything, without specialization, thus we have a digestive process that can deal with different foods eaten at the same time.
The same goes for the next Habit
HABIT 6: (false)
If you are served proteins and carbs on the same plate; eat the proteins first
See Habit 5
The only way food-combination may contribute to weight loss is that it will make you more aware of what you’re actually putting into your body; which may help you to not overeat (see Habit 1)
HABIT 7: (true)
Practise systemic undereating i.e. fasting
Fasting is a situation that has been part of the human make-up since for ever – our systems have evolved to cope with having no food for a period of time. When we first began to become farmers there was always a period, between when the food stored from the last harvest ran out and before the next harvest was ready, that we had to tighten our belts.
Fasting is also a fixture of many religions – Islam’s Ramadan being one example – even the Christian Lent period should be a time of at least restricted eating, if not a total fast.
So, how can fasting help with weight loss?
Fasting, according to the website Healthline.com, has a myriad of health benefits but, for us, it helps us lose weight by both reducing our calorie intake and yet it also boosts our metabolism.
With its reborn popularity comes a whole host of different fasting patterns – from simply missing 1-2 meals to a dedicated 2 days fasting, 5 days eating healthily (The 5:2 Diet).
So, which is the best for us?
To be honest it’s a horses for courses answer – fundamentally, it’s up to you; but one of the most popular ways for beginners to fast is to undertake a ‘Juicing Fast’ and we’ll have more on that later.
Although we’ve wiped out 3 of the 7 habits and 1 of the remaining ones doesn’t help or harm we still have a decent skeleton of how to eat to lose weight that we can hang on.
To re-affirm what we now know:
We must only eat and drink when we feel hungry and we feel thirsty and we should never eat or drink until we feel those needs.
We need to eat our food slowly and our food needs to be taken in a friendly, relaxed, social atmosphere to extract the best out of it
We should see if we can commit ourselves to a period of fasting that suits our lifestyle and our requirements
We also could look at ‘grazing’ our foods rather than sitting down to an actual meal but the science on offer currently doesn’t back up or deny the benefits of grazing over eating.
So, what should we eat outside of this fasting that we’ve talked about and, also, what kind of fasting period is going to suit me. These 2 topics will be talked about in our future posts