mnmlist: eating less to be lighter

While you might read a lot of posts about the minimalist aesthetic, as well as on owning less stuff, what isn’t talked about enough is minimalist eating.

As Americans, we eat way too much (and waste too much food as well). As someone who was at least 60 lbs. overweight only a few years ago, I packed away the food as much as anyone else. I know what it’s like to eat entire pizzas by myself, eat super-sized fast-food meals plus extra nuggets and desserts and more, finish the gigantic heaping plates of food that the restaurants serve these days.

It’s too much, and it’s led to an obesity epidemic of alarming proportions. A large part of our healthcare crisis is because of our overeating.

A good part of the solution is to simply eat less.

A separate discussion should be about what we eat — organic, real foods, preferably grown locally, cooked at home with a minimum of processing and packaging. But today, I’d just like to talk about eating less.

It’s something I’ve focused on in my own life, especially recently, as I look at not only quality of food but quantity. I think we’ve been conditioned to eat without thinking, and in doing so to eat way too much. To stuff ourselves until we’re gorged. Which of course isn’t healthy at all.

My focus has been on eating until I’m not quite full. I eat until I feel like I want a little more, and then pause. Breathe. In about 10 minutes, I realize I’m satisfied and don’t need to eat any more.

Some tips if you’d like to accomplish this:

  • Only take a small portion to start with. Don’t heap the plate.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully.
  • Pause between bites. Savor the food.
  • Stop before you’re full, and wait.
  • Drink water with your food.
  • Eat every 2-3 hours, or embrace the hunger and wait a little longer.
  • If you get hungry again soon after, eat a small snack — a fruit, some veggies, a handful of nuts.
  • Cut back slowly. Don’t try to eat like a bird at first. Just eat a little less for now, adjust, and then cut back a little more.

Over time, you’ll change, and be able to eat less. You’ll be healthier (assuming you were eating too much before) and lighter and living more sustainably.