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Leftfield 101, Nutrition - Enough
By: Leftfield Training



Eight parts of a full stomach sustain the man; the other two sustain the doctor
- Japanese proverb

Having begun our practice of mindful eating with learning to slow down, we must now be alert for the signal to stop.

Not stuffed, replete, chockas or even full. Just the simple acknowledgement that, that is enough.

As with our stress response, the body will always seek an equilibrium - homeostasis. Any interruption to this balance is met with a corresponding shift to get things back in balance again. With our body weight, there are internal challenges in maintaining homeostasis. As stored nutrients are used the body looks to replace them.

- eat

So we eat, and then we get a,

- that will do, thanks

At least in theory.

When we honour these prompts we go a long way to achieving optimal health - the body when in shape knows what it needs, but for most of us, as with our stress response, these signals are well out of whack.

Or, we simply are not listening.

If we eat for reasons other than hunger, the distraction and pleasure are temporary; consequently we have to eat more to feel better, feeding not ourselves, but this vicious cycle. If we do not eat when we are hungry, our body eventually turns up the volume - upping our appetite signals and smothering our fullness signals - the perfect storm for binge eating, triggered by, you guessed it, dieting.

Developing an awareness of our internal cues gives us one of the best tools to maintain our health and a healthy body weight. When not in tune with these cues, our health and weight suffer. These cues can guide our decisions to begin and end eating, instead of following a regimented dietary plan - or paying no attention at all.

The first recalibration of hunger and satiety cues is achieved by eating slowly.

For those still finding it difficult to slow down and the health benefits v risks equation isn't striking enough of a chord, perhaps consider that eating fast is the first order of business for those looking to add stacks of weight .You may want to question whether you really should be adopting the number one strategy of a sumo wrestler at every meal.

Probably not.

So, if we can assume you are already eating slowly, (if not this remains your priority) this will in turn help control food quantity.

The reasons for over, or under-consumption of food are many and include,

Social pressures such as wanting to fit in at events, or pressure (for women especially) to be thin
Self-imposed food restriction in order to feel in control
An excessive focus on ‘health’
A desire for comfort
Restriction and or elimination of certain foods
Feeling out of control
Disrupted biological rhythms, shift work, lack of sleep
Food availability
With all of these external considerations our internal cues - you know, the ones that just say hungry now barely get a look in. Our eating starts, and stops under all these different stimuli, but rarely that which seems most obvious,

Am I (still) hungry?

The importance of eating just enough is highlighted by many cultural traditions all across the globe.

In India, the Ayurvedic tradition advises eating until 75 percent full.
In China that we should eat until 70 percent full
The Prophet Muhammad described a full belly as one containing 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid and 1/3 air, and both The Koran and Bible advise that excess eating is a sin.
When finished eating in France the declaration is that I have no more hunger
There is a German expression to tie off the sack before it gets completely full
Finally, we have the Japanese practice of Hara hachi bu - eating until 80 percent full, and said to one of the major contributing factors in making Okinawa one of the worlds blue zones - an area of extended longevity.

But these admonishments are all from a time past, and a sign that our problem is not just with us, but with where we are.

Or more accurately, when.

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Added: 28-05-2015