How many times have you gotten up from eating and felt bloated – for hours – absolutely uncomfortable? This time of the year it seems to happen more often.
All of us have an internal switch that comes on when we have reached the right amount of food to be eaten. It is very accurate and results from the balancing of a hormone and a protein – grehlin and leptin. Grehlin stimulates your appetite. Your stomach activates this hormone when you have not eaten in a while. Leptin is a protein. It is released by fat cells in your body and directly affects the hypothalamus of the brain to suppress your appetite.
Both hormones work independently. Grehlin tells your brain that you are hungry. Leptin tells your brain that you are full. But, we don’t always hear that subtle signal that we are full. It is there every time you eat.
Ever been half-way through a meal and feel full, but there is more food on your plate. You think that it is not much and it isn’t worth getting a ‘to go’ bag/box. You go ahead and eat the remaining food anyway. That was the leptin signal from your brain telling you that it’s time to stop eating. That feeling lasts a very short time – literally seconds to a minute.
I remember the first time I consciously ate and waited for the ‘full’ feeling to occur. It did about half-way through the meal. Leptin responds differently to the types of foods we eat – protein, fats, and carbohydrates. It doesn’t always occur half-way through our meal. But, it does occur – that very slight feeling and then it disappears.
We condition our bodies to ignore this feeling. Most of us have a feeble touch of fullness and then blast our way through to eat everything on the plate. And, then we go for dessert. Maybe our parents are to blame? I know my parents insisted that I eat everything on the plate – no arguments.
This is OK when the plate is small and serving size are small. As we grow older, we choose not to use smaller plates and load up on the things we want, even going back for seconds in many cases. Take time during your next meal to assess how strong this feeling of fullness is and when it begins and ends. It will not be a klaxon vibrating in competition to an ambulance siren. It will be understated to near negligible.
Listen until you feel it. Stop at that time. Note the size of your plate and meal serving. That should be the typical amount of food for your meals in the future. Each meal is different with regards to the composition of steak, potatoes, green beans, salad, and drink. Want to lose weight over the next couple of months, listen till you feel your body tell you that it is OK to stop eating.