Habit Formation Part 2: Making Amazing Nutrition Changes One Step at a Time

Posted on December 19, 2016 by

This is the second post out of the habit based changes series that started last week.

Last week, we spoke about the concept of introducing habit change by choosing any habit (or a 5-minute action) and integrating this first, to get used to the idea of forming habits. The example we used was to eat slowly.

Benefits of Habit-Based Changes Vs. Larger Overhauls

While meal plans and larger overhauls can have their place, and some individuals may do well with them, many of us may not. For many of us, meal plans (or large overhauls) can be frustrating or potentially overwhelming.

When larger changes are broken down into smaller pieces or habits, the larger goal becomes much more attainable and we can have a lot of fun while we reach our goals, one step at a time.



Introducing Eating To 80% Full

This week we will speak about “eating to 80% full” as the habit of focus and one of the habits clients are coached through.
Just like the previously introduced habits, this is another “foundational habit” that can help put us in a strong position to build upon habits introduced as we move along. It is also really helpful to come back to during the inevitable ups and downs of lifestyle changes that we all go through.

Why is eating to 80% full important?

When we are using the previously introduced habit of eating slowly to build from, we can begin paying attention to cues that tell us when we are eating to satisfied, getting full or are full, etc. Learning these cues and really paying attention here can help prevent us from overeating which can aid in digestion, can aid in weight loss, gain, or maintenance (whatever the goal may be) and much more.

If we aren’t aware of our hunger, satiety and fullness cues/signals (and many of us are not, have learned to ignore them or can become distracted from these important and helpful messages from our bodies) it can take time to re-establish this communication and relationship.

Be patient with yourself as you’re learning to tune in and decipher these messages.

Try checking in with yourself during various points of the meal, using some of the tips from last week to slow down eating (putting your fork down, resting in between bites, etc), or any others you may be trying out.

Begin getting used to what various points of fullness may feel like for you and have fun learning yourself if this isn’t something you’re used to doing (and most of us don’t pay this important amount of attention to ourselves).

Tip for learning about our bodies signals

Try making notes in a journal if you’d like to either during the meal, afterward or both!


Here are some ideas of what to pay attention to during the meal, if you’re up for giving this practice a try:

  • Perceptions of hunger before the meal (on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not hungry at all, 10 being starving).
  • Meal chosen (everything included, including any fluids you may be having).
  • Habits you are integrating (eating slowly and eating to 80% full (and more as we move along))
  • Any sensations/how your body feels during various points of the meal
  • Any thoughts or emotions that come up during the meal
  • What portion of food was eaten when you got to the perceived 80% fullness “sweet spot” and how much food was left
  • How long did you take the complete the meal
  • How did you feel during the ~hour after the meal (choose any points you feel relevant)

Feel free to add or leave out anything you feel relevant or not. These are just some ideas to get you thinking about and paying attention to signals from your body.

If you’re open to sharing, we would love to hear your thoughts, experience or any tips you may have while trying this habit out.

If you’d like to know more about the program, check out this awesome video by clicking here.

References and further reading

All about appetite regulation Part 1: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-appetite-1
Part 2: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-appetite-2

Healthy Eating: Just What You Were Expecting?: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-eating-expectations

Here’s why you’re always hungry: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-dietary-displacement

This awesome post was written by Roberto Sucuqui