Do you know you should eat about 4 pounds of food a day? That’s right. 4 pounds of healthy nutritious natural plant foods. Simply eat until full.
How to do that? Imagine you have permission to eat all the food on your plate. And if you feel like it, you are allowed to go for the second or even a third helping! That’s the way your body was designed and nature isn’t foolish.
When you eat until half full, you’re going to make up for it later. With absolute certainty. The specifics of when and what lands on your lips and eventually your hips, is only a detail.
Efficiency is the way
You can think of your body as an oil tank you need to fill up, so you can use the heating all winter. When you order those guys to do a refill, don’t you just want them to fill the tank to the top? It makes sense, right? When it’s full, it’ll last the whole winter. But if it’s left half empty, you need to refill pretty soon.
It’s the same way with your body. It’s designed in such a way that only a certain number of calories and nutrients satisfy hunger. Only when you eat until full, are you less likely to crave foods, binge eat and finally stop checking your cupboard for some quick fixes.
So how to do that? How do you eat until full without putting on weight – especially when you look at food and the pounds are piling up?
The answer is caloric and nutrient density. Every food you eat contains a certain number of calories and nutrients. And, if you want to feel full yet avoid gaining weight, you need to eat nutrient dense but calorie dilute foods.
The lowest caloric foods are fruits and veg, followed by potatoes, grains and beans. The reason they are low in calories is they are rich in fibre, water and naturally low in fat. Meat contains almost double the calories of grains – about 1200Kcal/pound. Nuts and seeds (even though healthy and natural) are much higher up the scale. And honestly, I’m not even looking at processed foods and oils as those are off the chart!
The lower the calories, the more of the food you can eat. And the truth is, you have to!
Why? Because there is more to feeling full and satisfied, than how many calories and nutrients you eat.
I’m sure you’ve noticed the lowest caloric foods happen to be highly nutritious. So, naturally you go and fill up on fruits and veg. When you do, you’re likely to get hungry about an hour after you’ve had a salad for lunch, looking for a treat.
Fruits and veg are healthy and you should have at least 5-9 portions per day, but they won’t fill you up. They are almost 80% water which runs through your body leaving hunger behind.
What you need to think of is volume. Your stomach has stretch receptors sensitive to how much food in weight there is. Only when your stomach stretches enough, do the receptors send a message to your brain. This is to say: ‘you’re satisfied and you’ve got all the calories and nutrients you need, stop eating’.
Now imagine you’ve finished eating, feeling you could still have some more. That message to your brain never comes. Result? You don’t properly register you ate. The urge to have a piece of chocolate, crackers, some peanut butter, yogurt, you name it, stays with you the whole day.
When you put these two ideas together and bring them to life, you’ll feel a much greater satisfaction and pleasure after a meal. Filling up on grains, potatoes, beans with the addition of fruit and veg will allow your own body to dictate how and when to eat. You’ll find balance through your natural hunger drive. Only then will you not be deprived at meal-time, trying to make up for it later.
So, how to tie those two pieces of information together? How to eat lots of food to get the right amount of energy and nutrients for you?
Look at your plate and fill it with about 70% of grains or potatoes, 15% with legumes and 15% with vegetables.
To show you how much food in weight you CAN and should eat, see an example of what 450 Kcal (about one main meal) worth of food is:
- 2 cups of cooked brown rice = 400 gr of food or
- 2,5 cups of boiled potato = 500 gr or
- 2 cups cooked kidney beans = 350 gr or
- 8 cups of cooked broccoli = 1.2 kg of food
It’s a huge amount of food, isn’t it? Now we are talking 🙂
You really can eat a lot, getting a massive amount of nutrients while keeping in line with your own caloric needs. But, if you still can’t shake off the feeling that you shouldn’t eat too many carbs, you might enjoy reading Why what you think about carbs may not always be true.
Then, hopefully you’ll be able to forget about limiting portions, counting calories or leaving something on your plate after every meal you’ve had.
Please trust your own body and its designer, nature. It’s perfect and depending on your size, state and physical activity, it naturally adjusts your hunger drive. All you need to do is relax and enjoy some natural plant foods you desire.
Now, I’d like to hear from you! Share with me in the comments below:
What is the one specific change you are going to make to your next meal?
Cheers to plant happy stuffed tummies!
P.S. You can read more about this topic in the post 3 common mistakes you make when trying to lose weight