Diet Feedback

We get dietary feedback in several ways: through our weight, the fit of our clothes, stomach fullness/bloating, and hunger/satiety. Weighing ourselves is most useful if done daily, but like the fit of clothing, it is a relatively late sign. We could better maintain weight with faster feedback to warn us before we overeat; slower intake to give available feedback time to work; or tasty, low-calorie food to fill our stomachs forever.

Waiting for hunger to fade and satiety to rise only controls weight if we eat slowly or limit intake to not overeat before the signal to stop. Culturally, we used to eat less during the one-hour family meal, and that worked pretty well till the structure of families changed. Today, many prefer not to chew slowly or linger at the table, and around the world, calorie intake and weight are increasing. Overrunning hunger/satiety leads to excessive calorie intake, weight gain, and new costs to control weight.

Regulating intake by stomach fullness, the quickest available feedback, allows such a volume of food that we risk overdosing on calories. Eating till full can work when a diet of high-bulk-low-calorie food is sustainable or after stomach surgery forever reduces the volume of food per meal. Bloating is just a full stomach after hunger subsides and a weight problem only if you are not eating a high-bulk-low-calorie diet. At three meals per day, there are 21 meals per week, and many patients feel bloated two to seven times per week. In a recent month, four patients reported feeling bloated 21 meals per week. (Ouch!) If you eat till full, be prepared to eat a diet of high-bulk-low-calorie food forever.

Daily weights are a useful measure of your diet, and the goal is a stable or declining weight. Worry only if your weight is climbing. Some lose weight quickly, but most should accept weight loss of one half to one pound per week—a loss so gradual that typical home scales may show no change for a month. Do not be discouraged if at first your weight appears stable. Persevere.

Overweight people spend money and time on fancy diets, often without lasting results. External coaches and prepared meals define reasonable stopping points with highly palatable food, which works well when the diet plan is affordable. Effectiveness may wane when the coach is gone. An alternative, which is free and takes only modest willpower, is to insert a half hour pause for hunger/satiety after a smaller-than-usual meal.

Consider a half hour pause at mealtime to (paradoxically) save time by reducing food intake. Wait for satiety, avoid the full stomach, and eliminate bloating. For weight management, make time for the Half Hour Diet.

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