Happy 4th of July weekend to all my American friends! In this edition of Fit Friday, I want to talk about something that I think is important to keep in mind no matter what meal plan (or lack there of) you’re following: satiation.
What’s satiation? Satiation can mean a couple of things, but in terms of food, it deals with eating until you’re full and satiated, or satisfied.
I think satiation and overeating are easily confused, especially if you have a past of binge eating or mindlessly eating (like I do). I have noticed that I myself and others tend to see things like “eat until you’re satisfied” and “intuitive eating” as an excuse to pig out on everything in sight. We think this concept is allowing us to just eat as we want, but then we get discouraged when we gain weight.
The difference between satiation and overeating is that when you’re satiated, you’re eating until you’re full, not until you can’t possibly eat anymore.
If you have a hard time with eating until you’re satisfied without overeating, here’s what helps me avoid binging while still eating enough.
1. Eat a balanced diet.
When you’re eating nutrient dense foods and you’re not skipping macro groups, you’ll feel more satisfied. In watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, I heard a great concept from Dr. Campbell in which he says to think of your food as a symphony of components. He suggests that we need to stop compartmentalizing our food into what singular nutrients it gives us, but to look at our food(s) as working in a symphony to give us complete nutrition. If you’re craving specific things, you may want to check what nutrients you may be lacking. My Fitness Pal and other tracking apps can help show you what nutrients you’re getting and which ones you’re lacking in. This is a good chart that can decode what your cravings may suggest you need to eat (that’s actually healthy).
2. Eat Often
When you don’t eat often enough, your metabolism suffers and your body is going to get angry. Most experts say eating 5-6 small meals a day spread apart over 2-3 hour blocks is best. I try to follow this rule, but I also don’t live by the clock. I listen to my body.
It’s amazing how easy it is to confuse hunger with thirst. I do this all.the.time. When I drink enough water, I find I’m not starving all the time, I have more energy and everything tastes better. Don’t drown yourself in water, but a good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.
4. Try New Foods
As much as I’m a creature of habit, sometimes I find eating new foods or preparing my favorites in a new way helps me to feel more satisfied with what I’m eating. For example, yesterday I made some vegan “sushi” rolls with Nori, brown rice, carrots, bell pepper and cucumber. It was AMAZING and so satisfying. Way healthier than ordering out and I have tons of leftovers.
Do you struggle with overeating or eating to satiation? Do you trust your body to tell you what it wants or do you eat more intuitively? Do you find that meal planning and following a nutrition plan helps you, or do you prefer to do your own thing?