The 2 simple habits to thwart off holiday weight gain.

Habit 1: Eat slowly

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Eating slowly almost inevitably leads to eating less, feeling more in control of eating, as well as being more mindful and aware.

Eating slowly can be done anywhere, anytime, with any food, in any situation. This includes binge eating.

This is a simple habit to understand, though rarely an easy one to do.

Ways to execute:

First off, you need to notice and name your eating speed, and how this may affect what you eat, and how much.

This habit will help you eat less yet be more satisfied with your food. It will also help to teach you when you are physically hungry and full.

Simply “check in” with yourself during each meal.

Try the small things that may slow you down. For instance:

Set utensils down between each bite.

Take a sip of water between bites.

Take a breath or two between bites.

Use an app or a simple timer.

Eat with people and engage in conversation Don’t speak with a mouthful of food. Manners now!

Try to notice when and where you are more able to eat slowly, and to see if you can reproduce those conditions elsewhere.

For those who struggle with binge eating, “give yourself permission” to overeat… slowly.

This “permission” and slowing-down will often start to curb overeating and binge episodes naturally.

Adjust the difficulty to your longer eating sessions:

Level 1: Just try this. Notice what happens. See if you can add a minute or two to each meal.

Level 2: Improve the quality of execution — be consistently much slower, add lots of extra time to meals. If possible, eat without distractions (such as phone or TV).

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Habit 2: Stop eating at “80% full”

To lose fat, you usually have to eat less than you do now.

“80% full” is not a specific number, but rather an idea: Eating until “just satisfied” or “no longer hungry” but not full or stuffed.

This habit continues to teach appetite awareness, building intuitive understanding and control of hunger/fullness. Over time, you can learn to sense your hunger and satiety cues properly, as well as distinguish physical hunger from cravings.

This habit helps you analyze eating habits as a process (rather than something that “just happens”). You can identify situations/cues that contribute to your eating habits. It also improves mindfulness.

This can be mentally, emotionally, or physically uncomfortable.

At first, you may not be able to feel hunger or fullness, or any stomach cues.

Hunger cues: “hunger headache”; light-headedness or “spaced out”; being “hangry” (hungry + angry); growling or empty-feeling stomach; etc.

Over-fullness cues (ate too much): feeling stuffed/bloated; heartburn; feeling nauseated or gassy; feeling heavy and sluggish; etc.

Satiety cues (ate just enough): feeling energized and no longer hungry; feeling generally satisfied; feeling as though you could get up from the table and do something (such as go for a walk); etc.

You may need to learn what “100% full” or even “120% full” is first, before you can get to “80%”.

Once you learns your cues, you can learn to stop short of “stuffed” or plan to eat before you get too hungry to make good decisions.

Adjust the difficulty level:

Level 1: Just try this. Notice what happens. Learn hunger and fullness cues.

Level 2: Improve the quality and consistency of execution.

Rich Bihl for Redefined Fitness