The Key to Living Longevity for Men?
Do you know what Jiroemon Kimura, the world’s oldest person, and oldest man to have ever lived put his longevity down to? Saki, his diet, the love of a good women, Japanese air?
They would be my guesses, but in an interview on his 115 birthday, a year before he died aged 116, he claimed his longevity was due to stopping eating when he was 80% full!
How Do You Know When You’re Full?
Now that goes against the grain for me, because when I was growing up my parents and grand parents told me to “clear your plate if you want a dessert” or “you need to eat all of your meal if you want to grow up big and strong”.
So not only was I being taught to disregard my bodies full meter, but also that the reward for overeating was more high calorie food. Not necessarily the best message to grow up with.
Today, whilst I am not obese, I can still certainly put a bit away! If I didn’t exercise and eat mainly plants, I might well be! In fact I’m sure my family wont mind me saying we have some heavy lifters among us, which may stem from never being taught to stop eating when full.
It seems in theory we know to only eat when we’re hungry (and not too hungry), but with the rising obesity figures we clearly don’t seem to be putting it to practice.
Your stomach can hold up to 4 litres of volume — about 17 cups — but the feeling of satiety is not caused by your stomach being full. Instead, feeling full is a result of your brain reacting to chemicals released when you put food or drink in your stomach. Your brain takes around 20 minutes to register these chemicals.
After your meal, the levels continue to rise over 10 to 30 minutes. They stay elevated for three to five hours following the meal, keeping you satiated. As the chemical levels fall, the feeling of hunger returns.
If you do not feel full directly following a meal, wait. As the level of chemicals increases, your hunger will dissipate.
Men who exercise moderately, are reported to need about 2,200 per day. Divide the amount of calories you need daily by the number of meals you consume. This is the amount of calories you need to sustain your body at each meal.
For example, if you eat five meals a day and need 2,200 calories, that’s 440 calories per meal. Look to plan your meals ahead of time or count the calories as you go to prevent eating too much. This amount should be enough to keep you full until your next meal.
Listen to Your Body
Learn to pay attention to how your stomach feels when you are hungry and then how it feels after drinking a glass of water. The empty sensation should fade slightly within a couple minutes of drinking the water.
When you eat, focus on how your stomach feels through the entire meal. As you become full, the empty feeling will be replaced with a gentle pressure. As soon as you feel the pressure in your stomach, stop eating.
You should still feel light and energetic with this gentle pressure; if the fullness is uncomfortable, you overate. Relax in front of your plate for several minutes to decide if you are still hungry.
Tips for Eating Less
Drink a full glass of water 10 minutes before each meal; your brain will realize you are full within 10 minutes — instead of the usual 20 minutes — using this technique. Have another glass of water with your meal, sipping in between bites, to slow your eating.
Also, chew each bite about 15 times or until you reflexively swallow. Once you feel full, remove remaining food from your plate and engage in another activity such as reading, conversation, walking or a favorite hobby. If you struggle with the urge to continue eating, make yourself a cup of unsweetened tea or coffee.
Do not eat again until the emptiness in your stomach returns. Food cravings you experience before your stomach feels empty are mental — not physical — urges to eat. If you always feel hungry, consult your doctor, as this could be a sign of a health condition.
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