Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hungry, Satisfied, or Full?

For the sake of simplicity and to make points clearer, I will use definitions that may be different from the standard broad dictionary definitions:

Hunger: The unpleasant feeling that accompanies a real physical need for nourishment or food.
Fullness: The feeling that maximum capacity to eat has been reached.
Satiety: A state of satisfaction that can be reached when not hungry, but before feeling full.

When we are hungry, we know it. Of course we need to eat. The trick is either not let yourself get really very hungry, so that you can avoid over-eating, or simply develop the habit of recognizing a point of satiety, or satisfaction, before actually feeling full. Remind you, I am using the definitions outlined above. So, how to recognize that point of satisfaction? Well, that point can be appreciated by allowing your brain to recognize that you are not hungry anymore. The signal will come up, but you have to give it time to reach up there. What that means? Don't eat too fast. Do not enter in your mouth one large bite at a time. Once in your mouth, take your time chewing your food. Enjoy the taste of the food. Chew 20 times before actually swallowing. After swallowing the well-chewed bite, wait a little bit before you get the next bite into your mouth.

If you are using portion control (for example, after weight loss surgery, or as a part of dieting), put on your plate only the portion that you are supposed to eat. If there is more on your plate, do not clear your plate. Eat slowly as described above, till you have almost completed your portion, then STOP. Even if you are not satisfied, stop. Distract yourself. Do something. Then ask yourself in 10 minutes or so: "Am I still hungry? Or do I want to eat just because? If you are not truly hungry, and if you reached the portion size that you have decided, you have probably reached the point of satisfaction and hopefully the above techniques gave your brain enough time to appreciate that signal. Remember, feeling full (using the definition that I wrote above) is not a good signal to stop eating. It is too late. And if you had Lap Band, gastric bypass, or a sleeve gastrectomy, you are probably setting yourself up for a stretch of the pouch. In case of an adjustable gastric band in particular (like the Lap Band), stretching the pouch may be a factor in slippage (prolapse). So, be careful, and stay healthy!