By m.c. schraefel – chi Health Chair – @mcphoo
We are always hungry.
No kidding. Really. There’s only a short window of time when we’ve finished a meal in which our bodies tell us we’ve had enough.
By getting to know your body’s workings a little better you can use this knowledge to eat better, perform better, feel more satisfied and – if you want to – burn fat while you’re doing it.
The big win here is to leverage TIME to help ensure you get feeling full while you have a meal.
A big help to ensure you can do this: 20minutes head start; and then start with Red/Green.
THE 20 MINUTE TRIGGER
If you are ravenous at the end of the day and get set to wolf down a meal because you’re hungry, you will likely overeat. This is how man vs food type competitions and Food Network shows work: if you gorge under 20 minutes, you beat your hormones in your gut – and you can eat pretty much as much as you can swallow in that period.
It takes those signals that long to figure out you’re actually eating. After 20mins of gorge, it’s like walking on hot coals: sure you can do 10feet; longer, no matter who you are, you feel it. Go ahead and time your next pig out. Does it go much beyond a steady state 20?
Start the Hormone Clock, pre meal
To take advantage of the satiety effect that begins at 20mins, get the hormonal clock running. 20mins before you sit down for a meal, have something small/thin to eat. A cup of miso soup; a slice of turkey, a half a navel orange, half a scoop of protein powder – any one of those real food things. BONUS: drink even a small glass of water with this small bite.
Use FOOD order
For your meal, start with the RED STUFF (using the red box/green box concepts from the previous posts – red is stuff that had eyes or breathed – for plant eaters its the fungi and legumes and pulses) Yes for greater satiety longer – make sure you have the equivalent of something the size of your palm as your red thing. If you’re a guy, have two palms.
The red stuff is a great place to go at night if you have the munchies: if you’re really hungry have some red stuff. IF you find you don’t want the Red, you’re likely not really hungry. Go for water. You might be struggling on hydration. No kidding.
Check in with yourself during your meal: are you starting to feel full? How full? 80%? 100% 120%% (ie stuffed?)
Just so you know: having more, once you hit 80% full, won’t help with the satiety signals waning after you eat. You will get hungry again. In about the same amount of time. The difference is whether ya overeat before getting there.
Pale Colours – Last if there at all
And finally to improve satiety overall: if you’re having white or yellow range coloured stuff on your plate, unless its also cruciferous (ie cauliflower), WAIT till the end of your meal – if you still want it (or put it back in the fridge)
WARNING Ok, truth: the above on the white stuff is code for “processed food” – stuff where the colour or texture or fibre has been drained out of it like the delicious pasta, bread, pizza, white rice – processed food takes out bits that are in whole food that turn on the hormones that trigger our satiety. It’s why ya can’t feel satisfied on donuts; only stuffed, and then still hungry. So one of the best ways to ensure you feel more full and satisfied rather than stuffed uncomfortable and even guilty is: go for whole, minimally processed food. You’ll be able to tune what you’re doing – like triggering satiety – easier.
We can talk more about how to use the white stuff strategically later, but for now – always last if at all.
Power assist Plate – get a plate that is a complete 80%:
Once you learn where 80% full is, and how much is still left on your plate that you really wish you wouldn’t eat after that point, but do because, well, you do (I sure do) – then you can start simply to put out that much on your plate.
Whether you make an agreement with yourself about “no seconds” is another matter.
IF you’re not sure you’ve hit full at your 80% point, stand up. Really – test it – you’ll find you feel more full once you’re standing than sitting.
Practice for the Road
As part of getting fit for CHI – you can take time now to practice any of these tips – how they feel now – and then how you can operationalise them in different circumstances. like
How start the satiety clock 20mins before a meal when you’re on the road? What can you always have in your bag or get to quickly as your go to clock starter?
How can you find an excuse to get up at your 80% point if you’re at a restaurant and want that full assist to slow down?
Later we’ll talk about why buffets are just wired in us to make it impossible – almost – to eat reasonably – and how to learn and practice Buffet Defence.
Questions? Comments? Leave ‘em here or find me on twitter too!
Pics by m.c.
Smaller print: Why Trust Me?
i’m m.c. – your CHI Health Chair – besides being a prof in the uk in Computer Science and Human Performance, i’m also a certified nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach and movement coach (and i’m insured for just this kind of coaching).
I work with a range of folks from those wanting to get a little leaner to athletes recovering from injury. I also have worked with businesses that want to improve their creative edge – as effortlessly as possible.
Find me on
If you’re interested in learning about this area of physical / mental connection – learning a bit more about kinesiology to the microbiome to inform design – i’m doing a CHI course, (From Resilience to Brilliance
)come on and let’s dig into it.
if you’d like to explore research around body-centered computing – what the implications for design are from learning about how we work under (and on and around) the skin, please join us for our CHI workshop The Body as a Starting Point
– no position papers required:
just your interest – and a short form – due by Feb 2.