By Tina Haupert
Two weekends ago, my friends Monica and Chandra visited me for a few days in Boston. Our big plan for the weekend was to run a 10-mile road race together. The rest of the weekend was up in the air, free for us to choose what we wished. We spent Friday wandering around Harvard Square and all day Saturday exploring downtown Boston. We must have walked for five hours straight! On Sunday, we ran the race and all crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces. It felt great to run with friends and accomplish such a big goal together.
After the race, the three of us were starving for lunch. Our hunger hit us hard, so we quickly showered and headed to a nearby restaurant. I perused the menu for something healthy and nutritious, but also satisfying. I mean, I just ran a 10-mile race! I felt like I could eat everything in sight, but I also didn't want to overdo it. I considered ordering a spinach salad, but I wasn't sure if just a bunch of vegetables would fill me up. Eventually, I decided on a mushroom-and-goat-cheese flatbread pizza, which was exactly what I wanted.
When my meal arrived, it was a huge portion—much bigger than I expected. It could have easily fed two people. I was so hungry, I probably could have eaten the whole thing, but I knew eating 10 slices of pizza wouldn't help me lose my marathon weight. So, I started into the pizza, ate slowly, drank plenty of water, and chatted with my friends. Before I knew it, I had finished my fourth piece and considered reaching for a fifth one. My stomach felt full, but my friends were still munching away on their lunches.
After debating for a few seconds, I decided that I ate enough. I felt satisfied, and I didn't need to continue to eat if I wasn't hungry. I'm sure my friends didn't even notice that I finished before them.
For me, knowing when to stop eating was key to finding my Feel Great Weight and maintaining it, especially when dining out at restaurants (but also at home too). I love food and I love to eat, so if I don't pay attention to portion sizes and my body's cues, I'll keep eating and eating until the food is gone. Eating slowly helps me pace myself with regard to how much I consume and focusing on my body's signals. It's much easier for me to stop eating when my brain has time to catch up with my body.
Knowing when to stop allows me to pretty much eat whatever I want; it's a foolproof system for eating in moderation. If I want buffalo chicken nachos for dinner I will have them, but I will stop once I've eaten enough. It's not always easy, especially when faced with my favorite foods, but having this idea in mind helps me pay attention to how much I eat so I don't overdo it.