The word diet is enough to send some people scurrying for cover. Deprivation, cravings, failure, hunger, isolation all pop into the mind. But really, it does not have to be like that. If others do it, you can. You just need to find a way of losing weight that suits you.
We all know the mind plays a huge role in weight-loss and weight-gain. The brain receives information from us when we think about food and when we eat food. Appetite and food intake are controlled by the brain, specifically the ‘feeding centre’ and the ‘satiety centre’. Did you know these centres existed? Well they do and this where where you start.
If you gobble down your food really quickly, you bypass the satiety centre
STEP 1 Start developing a good relationship with food.
WE have to live to eat. Look forward to your meals. You see, smell, taste and think about food and this stimulates the feeding centre, which stimulates 3 major nerves who in turn stimulate the production of saliva in your month and gastric juices in your belly. You feel a strong sensation of hunger, you are salivating, your tummy rumbles in anticipation. Welcome this –you are getting ready to refuel.
Step 2 Sit down to eat and concentrate on the food, especially if you are stressed!
Make food visually appealing on a plate. Eat it slowly, chew it well. If you are a fast eater, divide the food into 2 or 3 visual portions on your plate and take a break between each portion, putting the knife and fork down. Alternatively, put one serving on the plate (a small one) and return to the kitchen for a second small serving. Your brain will know there is more food coming and you will feel more satisfied. Use your senses – sight, smell and taste to reinforce the eating experience and signal satisfaction to the brain. Use small plates and bowls to make the food look its size as large plates dwarf food.
Avoid watching TV or reading during your meals. Enjoy conversation, it helps to slow the eating process. Take at least 25 minutes to eat and as you eat and enjoy the food, you send messages back to the satiety centre in the brain via thoughts. If you gobble your food fast, these messages are missed.
Step 3 – PAUSE for 20 minutes after eating.
Once you have finished your meal, note the time and allow 20 minutes to pass before you eat another bite or decide to order a dessert or other food item. Mechanically, food distends the stomach walls and intestinal walls. The walls are dotted with stretch receptors and chemoreceptors and these send feedback back to the brain via nerve impulses. Hormones such as CCK are released in the intestines and produce feelings of satiety (a sense of fullness). Some hormones such as secretin, substance P and many more have been found in both the stomach and brain highlighting the powerful connection between gut and brain. By allowing 20 minutes, you are allowing this communication to take place.