This is one of the easiest habits to start with because it involves only one thing: drinking water. The catch is, this can easily become overcomplicated when seeing so much information on what water to drink; between so many different water filters, mineral water, structured water, recommendations on how much water you should have... it’s no wonder people become overwhelmed. When trying to truly optimize health and performance the nitty-gritty details on which type of water you should drink can prove beneficial, but when it comes to building a habit and trying to better your health, simply remembering to drink water consistently through the day is a step in the right direction, a step easily taken when you are mindful to your body’s physical signal: thirst.
Try this habit: First thing in the morning after waking up, and alongside every meal you eat during the day, drink a tall glass of water.
Paleo diet or vegan diet? Vegetarian diet or warrior diet? Fortunately more and more people are beginning to understand the cliché “there is no one diet for everyone.” There are however, some commonalities between just about every diet (except, I guess, fruitarian), that by following, eating healthy becomes a lot easier. For instance, most diet cults agree:
- Plenty of vegetables should be eaten
- Protein should be consumed (although the source raises some controversy)
- Healthy fats are good
- Fast food and junk food should be avoided
Serving size/portion control is another potentially complex problem that can be turned simple. By following this chart from Precision Nutrition you can easily eyeball how much of what foods should be on your plate.
Now we have a basic idea of what to eat and how much to eat, but lets go a step further and revisit mindfulness from the previous post. Just like your body sends you a signal for thirst when you should be drinking more water, your body has plenty of cues for letting you know when to start and stop eating.
Try these habits:
For eating meals: eat slowly, attempting to take 15-20 minutes to eat your meal. This will allow you to be more aware of how you feel during meals and stop eating when you are around 80% full, rather than over stuffed.
For in between meals: Again, being mindful of your body allows you to know when you should eat. Use these easy to guidelines to figure out when your next meal should be:
Immediately after eating
You’re probably still a little hungry. It will take roughly 15-20 minutes to get a sense of satisfaction from a meal. If you’re a fast eater, wait it out before you go for more
One hour after finishing
You should still feel satisfied with no desire to eat another meal.
Two hours after finishing
You may start to feel a little hungry, like you could eat something, but the feeling isn’t overwhelming.
Three to four hours after finishing
You should feel like its time for the next meal. Your hunger should be around a 7 or 8 out of 10 (where 10 is the hungriest you’ve ever been), but may be more or less depending on when you exercised and what your daily physical activity level is.
Not really hungry yet? You likely had too much food at your previous meal.
Four or more hours after finishing
You’re quite hungry, like nothing is getting between you and the kitchen. You’re at 8 or 9 out of 10. This is when the “I’m so hungry I could eat anything” feeling appears.
(Obviously, if you let your hunger get this far you may make poor choices.