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HOW TO EAT TO 80% FULL (AND WHY IT MATTERS)

If there’s one thing that supports weight loss, this is it.


As many of you know, I am training through Precision Nutrition right now and plan to add Nutrition coaching to my offerings this Spring.   I covered this information recently in my studies and want to share it with you.


So let’s talk about why eating to a fullness level of about 80% is a ninja move—plus 8 steps to making it a habit.


REASONS TO EAT THIS WAY


  • Leads to gradual, sustainable fat loss

  • Improves appetite regulation due to slower, mindful eating

  • Minimizes dependence on external “rules” like calorie targets or diet plans

  • Increases body awareness, helping you better regulate stress and emotions

  • Connects you to your true nutrition needs, which are naturally customized to your body and activity level

  • Encourages good digestion

  • Can help you enjoy food and eating even more

  • Builds your tolerance for slight discomfort


8 STEPS TO EATING TO 80% FULL

 

  • START WITH A SLIGHTLY SMALLER PORTION. You probably have a sense of how much you usually eat. So, try plating 80% of that. TIPS: Plating your meal on a smaller dish makes it easier to moderate portions. Prioritize veggies and protein, which help you feel satiated and curb hunger. If you are eating out, try ordering a smaller size than normal.

  • TUNE INTO HOW YOUR BODY FEELS. Learning what 80% full feels like will require paying close attention to your body throughout the meal. So, before you take your ­next bite, note your baseline. Take a deep breath. Scan your attention over the length of your body, toes to head. Now, focus on your abdomen. Notice how it feels.

  • EAT SLOWLY. It takes time for your gastrointestinal tract to signal to your brain that you’ve eaten enough. Slowing down helps ensure you don’t miss the most up-to-date information from your body.

  • CHECK IN THROUGHOUT THE MEAL. Take a bite. Chew and swallow. Stop. Take a breath. How do you feel? Pause to notice.




  • WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE ABOUT 80% FULL, STOP EATING. Getting to exactly 80% isn’t important. Just estimate. WHEN YOU’VE REACHED 80% FULLNESS, YOU CAN: Put away any leftover food, so you do not keep picking. Place your napkin over your plate to signal you are done. Just sit and breathe and notice any feelings that come up.

  • DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL. Following your meal with gentle activity helps you sense how the portion you ate is sitting with you. Bend down and reach for your toes. Breathe deeply from your belly. Do some light housework. Take a brisk walk. Play with a child or pet

  • TAKE NOTES ABOUT WHAT YOU ATE AND WHAT IT FELT LIKE. If you overdid it, no sweat. Now you have some data. The same goes for underdoing it: the worst thing that can happen is that you get hungry a little earlier than usual before your next meal.

  • REPEAT THESE STEPS AT AS MANY MEALS AS POSSIBLE FOR 2 WEEKS. Over time, you will gather helpful information about your body and how foods make you feel. Notice any patterns. ASK YOURSELF: “HOW’S THAT WORKING?” Does your body look or feel any different? What about your clothes? Do particular foods help you feel satisfied? Are you getting more or less comfortable with different sensations in your body? Do some foods seem to make you “lose control”? Are your eating habits more aligned with your goals? Any changes to your digestion? Is your mood or energy better, worse, or the same? Do you derive more or less pleasure from food?

 

If you’re getting the results you want, keep going. If not, scale back portions a little more or a little less, depending on your goals and comfort level.

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