Don’t Diet for Your Stomach, Wait for Your Brain

Don't Eat Till Full

There are several problems with using fullness to signal adequate food intake. First, the stomach is a muscular pouch, which can stretch to accommodate more food, so a full stomach can mean different amounts of food. Second, many foods pack a lot of calories into a small volume (high caloric density), so a full stomach might hold more calories than we need in a day. Third, after eating till full, the arrival of satiety a half hour later transforms feeling full into an uncomfortable sense of feeling bloated.

If you are over forty, you probably remember putting less food on your plate, rarely having seconds, feeling bloated only one meal per year (Thanksgiving dinner), yet never leaving the table hungry because meals were family events that lasted forty-five minutes. We may not have eaten our food any slower, years ago, but we did linger around the table.

Today, families are smaller and we have more entertainment options. We seem to eat faster and savor our food less, and because we cannot feel satisfied in ten minutes, many have substituted a sense of fullness in the stomach for the satiety that only comes later.

It takes much less food to satisfy the brain's hunger. Don't eat till full.

Add a Brief Delay to Your Regular Diet

After adjusting a thermostat, most of us wait a half hour before adjusting it again because we know it takes time for the heat to come up.

The Half Hour Diet honors the same delay between meal and satiety. It takes perhaps forty minutes for the brain to receive the stomach’s hormonal signals after a meal begins (actually, hormonal signals from the intestines influence the brain’s hunger and satiety centers in the hypothalamus). Once you learn to recognize satiety (satisfaction), you can also learn to expect it and to wait for it. You may not have to change what you are eating if a delay allows satisfaction on reduced portions.

Start the Diet by Eating Half, Then Make Adjustments

Eating half is a convenient starting point, but you could try two-thirds or any other reasonable reduction in volume. Worldwide, many people eat twice the calories they need, so eating about half, before the pause, is a reasonable starting point. After the pause, make small adjustments as needed.

A recent patient described the 10-minute lunch he enjoys four days per week: a double cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, a large order of fries, and a large diet soda, totaling 1380 calories. He only needs 1800 calories per day, so for him, eating half to two-thirds would be a fair start.

Why Favor This Diet Plan

This diet is free because it is not a diet and there is nothing to buy. It relies on hardwired, neurobiological equipment each of us has had since birth. The diet is simple—there is no lengthy book to read. But the diet has no advertising budget, so when the $100.00 introductory budget from Google AdWords expires, the site will have to spread by visitor recommendations or it will fade into obscurity.

If you find the Half Hour Diet useful, consider keeping it alive by recommending it with one of the buttons above, or consider a small donation to continue spreading the word.

NEXT: Weigh Yourself Every Day

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