I created Rule 1 for the Kim Shapira Method
(Eat When You Are Hungry - and start with half) a long, long time ago when I was finishing my education. I just didn’t realize it was a rule- I just thought it was how I explained how you should eat. I would explain to my family and friends, and my clients, that hunger doesn’t go away it gets stronger. But if we fueled ourselves and waited, we likely wouldn’t need the other half. It's science.
There is a hormone, Ghrelin, that reads the lining of our stomach, it monitors food levels. When it is satisfied and there is food, it sends a signal to our brains saying we have food, we are fueled- our mind interprets this as “we are safe.” This process takes about fifteen minutes.
Early on, when I was in grad school in Boston, I worked in a client for weight loss. These folks weighed between 400-500 pounds. The clinic provided a daily diet in shakes, and they supervised and educated them everyday. I was a naturally hungry person, and I needed to refuel often, so the idea that someone could be satisfied on a shake really interested me. I had decided that I was going to try their “diet” and one morning I started with a shake, I didn’t last long. I was starving and needed food to prevent a full on blood sugar crash. Now, we all have different food issues, and one of mine was definitely fear of starvation. It made me panicky and I definitely had some pretty irrational thoughts back then. Basically I lasted about 90 minutes before I turned away from the shakes and ate food. I just didn’t get it. How are all of these people not crashing, or seeking out food like me.
This taught me a very valuable lesson. I asked all of my patients that day, “how are you managing on a shake?” Their responses were all so similar- they didn’t get hungry. In fact, they looked at me like I had two heads.
I knew this was the problem all along- they were eating because they were distracted. Either the food was in front of them and they irrationally thought, “Yea, why not.” Or “that looks good.” Or because they were experiencing discomfort in their bodies and their mind suggested food as the shiny object to take away the pain. Hunger wasn’t on their radar. So they were eating, and because they weren’t hungry their body was storing everything they ate, and then it was lunch time so they ate again, just because it was time, not because they were hungry. And the cycle kept going. Hunger wasn’t running the show- and it needed to. storing everything they ate, and eating again just because. Hunger wasn’t running the show- and it needed to.
If you eat when you are hungry- and you start with half of your normal portion AND YOU wait fifteen minutes to see if you need more. Your body - not your mind - will tell you what you need.
And this my friends will begin to regulate your weight and your blood sugars. You will begin to see your body will need food again in 2-3 hours. If you find you don’t, it’s because you ate more than your body needed in your last meal.
It’s okay, just be-aware and practice the next time you eat. If you think you screwed up and you try to eat less, this goes back to screwing up your metabolism. Stay the course, learn to trust your body.
Let me break it down for you.
It’s really as simple as it sounds, using your body's own hunger cues will reward you with great success. After all, both over and under nourishing can cause drops in energy that nobody wants.
Based on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is as hungry as you can possibly be and 10 is when you are beyond stuffed), I suggest you try to start eating when you are at about 4 and wait 15 minutes when you are at about 6 to see if your hunger is really in your stomach. This can help increase and sustain your nutrient consumption throughout the day to keep your energy levels more stabilized.
You got this!
So there you have it. Eat When You're Hungry, Stop When You're Satisfied and don’t forget to see if that’s what you’re really hungry for!