If you’re trying to figure out the “right” amount of food for you, eating real, whole (or at least, minimally refined) is the easiest, most pleasurable way to figure that out.
Eating foods in their least processed state, in an optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbs that works *for you* allows your body’s hunger and satiety signals to ring true. And as an added bonus, not only do real, whole foods guide you to your “just right”, they also are loaded with all of the nutrients and micronutrients that your body was designed to consume. Seriously, real food is the universal, human “thrive formula”!
And when I say “right” amount of food for you, and the “right” ratio of protein/fat/carbs for you, I’m talking about a way of eating that leaves you feeling:
✔️*and* supports your overall health
Obviously, that amount is going to vary from one individual to the next. And that amount can also vary a bit from one day to the next. This is exactly why our bodies were designed with built in regulation mechanisms. If we let those cue come through, they tell us what we need! How amazing, right?
And if you’re not sure of where to start with balancing your protein, fat, and carbohydrates at mealtime, experiment a bit and observe carefully which balance seems to leave you feeling your best.
“But, but, . . . my signals are broken.
I can’t stop!
I don’t know when to stop!”
I hear ya. I was there once, too. Honestly, I felt always hungry, and didn’t understand why. Well, here are a few common things I was doing that were totally undermining my body’s ability to give me reliable satiety cues:
- Eating more refined foods than my body could handle. These foods were sending my blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride daily, leaving my energy levels crashing soon after a meal. I would feel hungry soon after eating, even after adequately sized meals. Too many highly refined foods trigger that “always hungry” feeling. And due to the poor nutrient content in highly refined foods, the body often continues to seek more food in an effort to obtain your basic nutrient requirements.
- Inadequate protein. No, I’m not advocating a super high protein diet here. I simply learned that I was consuming well under my body’s protein needs on a regular basis. Increasing these “building blocks” to my plate each mealtime was a game changer. I felt more satiated, was able to build muscle more easily, and saw my energy levels rise!
- Deprivation and restriction. I would go through occasional phases of undereating (= eating below my body’s needs) in a misguided attempt to lose weight. Well, undereating is a sure-fire way to fire up the body’s hunger hormones, because, HELLO, your body is a system that is designed to help you survive. If you fail to meet your body’s basic requirements, your body will fight tooth and nail to get you to eat more (cue the cravings and binges!). It now sounds so obvious to me. Eating adequate fuel allows your body feel safe to thrive. So basic, but SO powerful.
Beyond real, whole foods your body has other basic needs that influence your sense of satisfaction and satiety with your food:
– manage your stress
– get adquate sleep
– move your body frequently (at an intensity that feels good for you!)
– spend time with loved ones
– spend time outdoors
Does this mean that the occasional treat will throw everything off, that you need to swear off cookies forever? No! What matters most is what you do MOST of the time. If you’re doing a bang-up job of meeting your body’s needs most of the time, your body will keep you in that “thrive” zone.
Have you ditched the calorie counting? Are you thinking about it? Are you ready to trust that your body’s got your back if you simply give it what it needs to thrive?
Trust the process. The mindset of “nourished, not famished” allows your body find its way to optimal health and vitality.