Trick your stomach?

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Think You Can Trick Your Stomach?
Not so fast, my friend.
Article By: Nick Divito

First the bad news: Your brain and stomach are in cahoots, and your brain actually knows whether you’re hungry or not. So forget trying to fool it. It’s like trying to pull a fast one on your old man—ain’t going to happen. Now the good news: Follow these tips and you won’t have to lie to your dear old brain.

Sad to say, despite what you’ve heard about chugging a pre-meal glass of water to trick your stomach into feeling full, there is no foolproof way to fool your gut into thinking it’s stuffed. Your brain, being the know-it-all organ that it is, knows when your gut is empty and when it needs fuel.

Tips for Eating Mindfully

Ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” before you eat so you can tell the difference between wanting to eat and needing to eat.
Hunger is a physical feeling that comes on gradually. Look for symptoms like hunger pangs, growling, low energy, difficulty concentrating and other signs that your stomach is empty and your blood sugar is falling.
Being overly hungry can lead to impulsive food choices and overeating. Check in with yourself every few hours to see how hungry you are.
Before you start eating, decide how you want to feel when you’re done. That way, you’re in charge of how much food to prepare, serve, order and eat instead of eating whatever is on your plate.
Your stomach is about the size of your fist, so it takes just a handful or two of food to fill it.
Eat without distractions. Set your fork down between bites so you can enjoy the food that is in your mouth.
Stop eating when the hunger is gone but you’re still comfortable. Remember that it may take 20 to 30 minutes to feel full.
Recognize that sometimes “I want a brownie” really means “I want a break” or “I’m bored.” When a craving doesn’t come from hunger, eating will never satisfy it.
If you aren’t hungry when you start eating, how will you know when to stop?
From Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat, by Michelle May, MD “I don’t like the tricky fad-kinds of things,” says Dr. Michelle May, a Phoenix-based doctor and chairwoman of the American Academy of Family Physician’s “Americans in Motion” wellness initiative. “I want to eat real food that tastes really good, and I want to really enjoy it, and I want to enjoy the rest of my day,” says May. “Food should be enjoyable. It shouldn’t be about punishing or depriving or tricking.”
However, there are little things you can do at the dinner table to foster a better relationship between you, your food and your stomach as well as stop cravings and raise your enjoyment of healthy eating.

Know your body
“It’s common to be out of touch with your own signals of hunger and fullness,” May says. “One of the very first things you need to do is recognize whether you’re hungry.” These are the signs to watch for:

Symptoms of real hunger include difficulty concentrating, headaches and shakiness due to low blood sugar, stomach pains and growling.
Boredom, stress and anxiety trigger fake “head hunger.”
If your symptoms say you’re genuinely hungry, May says you should set a “fullness goal” before you belly up to the table. “Set that intention before you ever pick up your fork,” she says. “Ask yourself, ‘How do I want to feel after this meal?’ Your intention is always to feel better when you’re done eating than when your started.”
Pay attention
Shoving cookies into your face out of boredom or consoling a wounded spirit with French fries can tank your good intentions faster than the captain of the Titanic could say “Iceberg!” May suggests you “intentionally eat your meal, with no distractions.” That means no television, no texting, no surfing the Web. Sure, converse with dinner companions, but focus primarily on what you’re putting into your mouth.

“Taste every bite of it,” says May. “Notice the flavor, savor the subtleties like textures and temperatures and aromas of the food. Fullness is not just a physical feeling. It’s also a satisfaction with the food that you chose,” says Mays, who’s also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

Slow down!
Food takes 20 to 30 minutes to reach your gut once you’ve eaten it. Taking your time while eating allows the food to make its way to its destination and trigger you brain to recognize that your stomach is full. Eat too fast and you’ll cram food into your face before it’s had a chance to get to where it’s going, and you’ll suddenly have to unbutton your pants.

Put down your fork
It may sound obvious, but May suggests putting your fork down between bites. We often mindlessly cut, stab, rearrange and load our forks with the next mouthful while we’re still chewing the bite we just got. Bonus to impress women: It’s considered good etiquette to place your knife and fork on your plate between bites.

A note on that old water trick
You’ve surely heard of the old “chug a glass of water before eating” trick. That glass of water might stretch your stomach and temporarily “trick” the brain into thinking it’s full, but you’ll only feel hungry later and find yourself forced to eat more.

Take a deep breath
This one’s also an old myth, but in a pinch it might do the trick. Since your stomach is like a balloon, taking big breaths while expanding it might help stretch it out and temporarily trigger your brain into thinking it’s full. Rest assured, your stomach will quickly return to its original size and you’ll be feeling hungry again, so only use this tactic when you’re feeling hungry and dinner is just around the corner.

Never starve yourself. Not only is it unhealthy, but it can cause you to overindulge when you finally do eat, which will ultimately work against you. If you starve yourself too long, your brain will make rash, unhealthy decisions, like pulling into the drive-thru, and your body will start to store fat. “If you’re hungry, eat,” May says. “Even if it’s not the traditional time for a meal.”


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