Did you know that being 15 pounds or more overweight increases your risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke or type II diabetes? Fortunately, weight management is not as complicated as people think. It simply requires small and consistent behavioral changes that create a healthy lifestyle. One of the most remarkable weight loss secrets is not really a secret at all: gaining an understanding about how your body works and cultivating behaviors that support the natural rhythms of your body promote long term, healthy weight and overall well-being. For instance, here is how the digestion signaling process works. Have you ever walked into a house and smelled one of your favorite foods and you literally started salivating? At the first sight or smell of food your brain begins to send signals to the stomach to start digestion. Your stomach starts producing acid to begin the breakdown of proteins which turns the food into a substance that makes it easy to absorb nutrients. As food reaches the stomach, signals called chemical mediators are released into the bloodstream to continue digestion and prepare the intestines for further digestion and nutrient absorption. The stomach also sends messages through the bloodstream to the brain to let you know when your stomach is full. This messaging between your stomach and your brain takes about 20 minutes. In other words it takes 20 minutes before you know that you are full from the food you are eating.
How does this impact your ability to lose weight? If you wait 20 minutes before you go back for seconds or for dessert you might realize that you are full and don’t really need to eat any more food, thus reducing the amount of food that you eat in the course of a day. Since the process of weight loss relies on reducing the amount of fuel or energy that you take in from food (calories) so that it becomes less than the amount of fuel or energy that you expend (calories) doing your daily activities, you lose weight.
For the next 30 days practice portion control by first, using a smaller plate, such as a salad place to reduce your beginning amount of food. Second, eat more whole food meals (which are full of fiber and help you feel fuller, faster) then wait 20 minutes before you go for seconds or desert. After applying this 20 minute strategy for 30 days, portion control will become a more intuitive habit. Eating this way has helped many of my patients eat less food over time, lose weight and still feel nourished and satisfied by their meals! So give it a try, it only takes 20 minutes!
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Dr. Dae is a Naturopathic Physician who practices in the Washington DC metro area treats the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.