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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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More food!

10 April 2008

Let's assume you've had your fill of oatmeal for breakfast -- chances are you'll find that you're not nearly so hungry during the day. In fact, it won't be hard to skip that donut or those cookies you normally eat with your mid-morning cup of coffee.

Please try this: If you're not hungry, don't eat. A lot of the eating we do is simply habit. If you've been eating a few cookies with your mid-morning coffee for years then you may feel the urge to continue with this -- even though your body says "hey, I don't feel hungry".

Give yourself a week of going without cookies, potato chips, chocolate or any of the other sin-foods if you don't actually feel hungry.

But what about your other meals -- what can you and can't you eat?

Well the good thing about what I'm going to tell you now is that you can eat just about anything you like.

It's not *what* you eat

Here's another very important key to weight-loss that the diet books don't tell you: it's not *what* you eat so much as *how* you eat it that counts.

Feel like a burger from MacDonalds for lunch?

No worries. Remember that to be effective in the long term, a diet can't be too onerous or restrictive or you'll just stop following it.

So go down to MacD's and order yourself a burger -- but here's what you do...

Eat *half* that burger.

Wait at least 15-20 minutes after you've eaten that first half and then ask yourself "am I still hungry"?

One of the strange things about our bodies is that it generally takes up to 20 minutes before the stomach informs the brain that it's had enough. If you just gulp down that whole burger, your brain won't get the "stop eating" signal until it's all gone.

But, eat half then wait 20 minutes and you'll probably find that although you'd quite like to scoff the second half, you'll no longer feel hungry so it'll be a whole lot easier to say *no*. Of course if you want to lose weight, at this stage you'll have to remember the golden rule: "if you're not hungry, don't eat it".

Of course this raises the important issue of why we eat.

The human body is designed to eat when its hungry -- that's why, if you haven't eaten for some time, you feel a strong desire to eat. It's a simple survival mechanism.

Unfortunately, the ready-availability of snack foods and changes in our lifestyle mean that we're side-stepping the basic "we eat because we're hungry" mechanism and a lot of us eat for other reasons such as the pleasant taste, boredom and habit.

Most commercial diets seem to focus simply on reducing calorie consumption and make little attempt to address the reasons we eat when and as much as we do. Without addressing these issues all you can hope for is a temporary weight-loss followed by a much larger gain.

Every time you reach for a snack or item of food I want you to ask yourself "do I feel hungry" and give yourself an honest answer. So long as you only eat when you're hungry and follow the "eat half and wait 20 minutes" rule you will be surprised how quickly the pounds fall off.

Lose weight in your sleep

Plenty of scammers promise that if you buy their diet pills or potions, you can lose weight in your sleep.

Well the bad news is that those pills and potions (herbal or otherwise) don't work.

However, the good news is that you *can* lose weight while you sleep. In fact, it's one of the best times to lose weight -- and here's how you do it.

Just as "how we eat" is important, so is "when we eat".

I've already pointed out how and why breakfast is the most important meal and you'll recall that I said the earlier in the day you eat, the less effect it will have on your weight.

Well the logical extension of this is that the later in the day you eat, the more damaging that food will be to your weight.

Here's another golden rule for weight loss: If you're really serious about losing weight, don't eat anything after 4pm in the afternoon.

That's right -- forget about those late dinners and those evening food-fests, there's really no way to keep those and see any significant weight loss.

If you load-up with calories before you go to bed and all that sugar and fat is sitting in your gut overnight the body says "wow -- lots of food but hey, I don't need it because I'm not doing anything so I'll just convert it to fat for later".

The other benefit of not eating after 4pm is that you probably won't really feel hungry until 10pm in the evening. This means it's time to go to bed.

It doesn't matter how hungry you are -- if you're asleep you won't know you're hungry at all. So head off to bed with anticipation of waking up early in the morning and scoffing as much as you like for breakfast.

Trust me, this make life so much easier if you're looking to lose weight. Lose it in your sleep and there's no effort required.

On to part 4

back to part 2


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