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We learn a lot about eating behaviors from working with our VLCD patients who come in weekly for behavioral change counseling. One of the bad behaviors we have explored is "protection against hunger."
Many people in an attempt not to be hungry will eat more food than necessary. For example, we had one VLCD patient who would eat two meal replacements at a time because she felt one meal replacement would not be enough food. One meal replacement is equivalent to a chicken thigh; they are intended to be eaten every three hours. I want you to imagine eating a chicken thigh every three hours, that should be plenty of food and provide satisfaction from hunger, yet this person ate two at a time to prevent hunger. Many people not on VLCD diets do this as well. They eat more food than necessary.
On less structured diets, this is an issue of portion control. We often do not need as much food as we think. If you are used to large plates of food, ask yourself why? Did you live in a home where your family ate large plates? Were you an athlete in your younger days and needed more food? Did you live in a family where you were forced to eat all the food cooked that evening? We encourage you to figure out why and then try to eat a little bit less.
Firstly, do not skip meals. Eat based on time, not hunger (stay ahead of being super hungry). Secondly, Choose the amount of food that will provide satisfaction. Notice that we do not use the term "get you full." The feeling of fullness is typically a sign that you have overeaten. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's full. Typically people eat until they feel this fullness, which usually means they have overeaten. The minimum amount of protein that typically satisfies a woman is about 3 to 6 ounces, and for men, it's about 4 to 8 ounces. Choose one of these amounts, eat as many vegetables as you want, and have some carbs up to your carb limit if necessary. Eat this food, and then sit back and let satisfaction kick-in. Make it a rule that you will never go back for seconds.
If this is your issue and it's hurting your weight loss program, please ask to speak to Andre Brooks or Dr. Valentine at your when you come for an appointment.
Dr. Gregory Valentine
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