Last night I had a discussion with a friend about eating patterns and how they differ between Europeans and Americans. In Europe, the food is very rich in calories, yet they are not as obese as in America. Now of course, there is the big factor of what is being eaten, but for this article, I wanted to discuss patterns and habits instead of actual food. After all, we all know which foods are healthier for us and what we should be eating. Let’s see if these tips help answer the question of “how should we be eating?”:
Early start is crucial
We’ve all heard how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, that’s nothing new. However, timing is a big part of the equation when it comes to breakfast. You should be eating your breakfast very early in the morning. 7-8am in the morning is a good time, anything else after that and you will not have the same physiological effects that breakfast provides your body with. I used to absolutely hate eating early in the morning. It would make me sick just thinking about it. I fought through it and took the habit of having an early breakfast. It helped my energy level, my mood, my focus, and even as far as healing my body (after a work out or activity for example) more effectively. The quality of your breakfast dictates the type of day you will be having. You can increase its quality by simply eating it at the right time.
Never wait too long in between meals
This is one of the biggest reasons why people eat too much. They wait until they are starving, and then find satisfaction in less healthy food. You can resolve this bad habit by simply never letting yourself get too hungry. For example, I mentioned above that I eat breakfast at 7-8am. By 10am I will start feeling some hunger, because your metabolism is much higher in the morning. Instead of waiting until noon to eat, I calm my hungry with a quick snack, and by lunch time, I can eat something without feeling like I am starving, so I have more rationale when making a decision as to what to eat. Same with the afternoon in between lunch and supper. If you can implement this habit, you will notice that you will eat healthier and smaller portions, which leads me to my next point.
Never eating when you are starving is a great way to control your portion. The other control should be your mind. Basically, breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day, and the meals should get smaller as the day goes on. Most people sort of have it backwards as they eat little or no breakfast and end the day with a big late supper. It’s already common knowledge that it is better to eat smaller meals 5-6 times per day, than 2-3 bigger ones. Also, by serving yourself less food, you are less likely to overeat and less likely to waste food as well. Remind yourself that you do not need to feel full after a meal. You should feel great after eating, not tired and heavy. You can accomplish this by controlling your portions appropriately.
When you eat too fast, you tend to eat more than you should. It takes roughly 15-20 min for your body to send the signal to your brain that you have eaten enough. If you eat too fast, you continue eating much more than you should because you think that you are still hungry. Take a bite, put your fork down, sit back, and slowly masticate the food. Enjoy the experience that is eating without sprinting through it! Eating slowly will also help your digestive system. You will end up feeling better after eating, without that awful feeling of fullness where you regret having eaten so much 😉
As you can see, I have not discussed the type of food you should be eating, as this is a topic for a whole other post. Food varies among cultures and countries. Since we have readers from all over the world, it wouldn’t be fair to discuss the type of food we eat here in America, since the rest of the world probably couldn’t relate to that too well. However, I think that the “how” is as important as the “what” and this applies to anyone anywhere, so hopefully these tips will help you in your eating habits regardless of what you may be eating.