“I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” ~ Jesus
There’s good reason to believe that eating less (and less often) is good for our health, longevity, mood, energy levels, and spiritual development.
Here are a few things that have worked for me.
- Practice mindfulness/contemplative prayer. This can help you recognize when you’re actually hungry vs when you’re eating out of habit. We tend to eat even when we’re not hungry. It’s often an impulsive reaction to stress, boredom, etc. Mindfulness/contemplative prayer can also help take your mind off of food when you actually are hungry. Delaying consumption when you’re a bit hungry can be good for your bodily and spiritual health. Spiritual food can help replace bodily food. At least for awhile.
- Drink more water. Sometimes our hunger pangs are actually a sign of dehydration. If you’re feeling hungry, or even if you’re not hungry but feel like eating anyway, drink one or two glasses of water. This may hold you over for awhile. This is especially important in the morning, because that’s when we’re usually most dehydrated. Try to delay breakfast as long as you can.
- Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and fat (such as eggs), or high in fiber (such as All-Bran cereal). This will make you feel more full. And it won’t get burned off as fast as something that is high in simple carbs.
- Stop eating after you’re 80% full. Once you feel satisfied or a little bit full, it’s probably time to stop. The tendency is to keep going until we can’t eat another bite, but we should stop sooner. Eating slower can help you be more aware of how full you are.
- Before you decide to go for a second serving, wait. Your desire to eat more may just be a craving, rather than hunger. Wait 5 or 10 minutes and it will probably go away. This is especially true for sweets. Credit to Leo Babauta for this idea (can’t find the original article).
- Go to bed earlier and sleep longer. This is a good idea for many reasons, but one reason is that if you’re not sleeping enough you’ll want to eat more. This is especially true if you’re staying up late — you’ll crave late night carbs.
- Don’t drink alcohol before a meal or on an empty stomach. It will cause you to eat more. Especially carbs. Eating a vegetable appetizer, such as a salad, will do the opposite. Consume alcohol with foods that are high in protein and fat.
- Drinking coffee will help suppress your appetite. Stay away from it later in the day though, as the caffeine may interfere with your sleep.
You don’t have to do any of this perfectly. Don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s better to do some of it, rather than none of it.
Here are some of the resources that influenced this article: