How much food do you really need?

How to find out how much food do you really need, without even looking at your food – literally. This article is gonna give you a simple and fun exercise to find out just that.

Eating too much at a meal and feeling guilty about it is common practice these days. Ruminating about it and blaming yourself for doing it again is not a fun thing. Not only these don’t help with what had already happened. They also strengthen a negative food-feelings loop.

Long gone are the food deficit periods for most folks these days. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to go by for many days without any meal because the food was scarce. Unlike them, we have plenty of food everywhere. And also unlike them, we don’t have to struggle much to get it. Except for driving to the nearest shop and swiping our card. Or, the easiest, calling in for home delivery. They made it so easy for us to get to eat too much.

If you want to see how much food do you really need, here is a simple and fun exercise to help you with that. Even if you already know, here’s a different and interesting way to look at it – without looking – literally.


Step 1: Get your food ready

Prep your meal as usual. No need to change anything about it. Au contraire, I do suggest you keep it normal. This way you’ll have a strong reference point.

Step 2: Find a blindfold

Find a nice piece of cloth and get yourself ready for a new fun experience. Wanna make it even more fun? Order a funny blindfold and turn this exercise into a fun friend and/or family game.

Step 3: Take a sit in front of your meal

This is a normal meal, so no need to change anything about it. Sit at your favorite place at the table. Don’t eat on your couch. Have everything you need handy: cutlery, napkin, whatever you use.

Step 4: Cover your eyes

Use the blindfold to cover your eyes. This step is crucial. Not being able to see your food will allow you to tune in your body’s actual needs. It will also cut the temptation to eat everything that’s on the plate, only because there are a few bites left. (I admit, I do that too 🤔)

Step 5: Enjoy your meal

Start eating. Focus on the taste and texture of your food. Enjoy every bite by properly chewing it. If you’re like most of us, you might be chewing fast and way less than specialists recommend you should. The digestion process begins in your mouth. You should be chewing each bite somewhere between 30 to 40 times, for the food to mix with the digestive juices.

Step 6: Stop when you no longer feel hungry

Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry. There are several hormones in your body responsible for signaling your brain to stop eating when your energy tank is filled. When you’re blindfolded, you’ll notice that you’re paying much more attention to what your body is telling you in regards to food. The thing is the distractions during your meal (by your laptop, TV news, some interesting social media feed, a good conversation, even by your own uncontrolled thoughts) prevent you from paying attention to the signals in your body. Thus ending up eating much more than you actually need.

Step 7: Uncover your eyes

When you feel you’re done with your meal and you no longer feel hungry, take your blindfold off. This is the big A-HA moment. Most people are very surprised when they’re looking at their plates. They can’t believe their eyes.

Step 8: Evaluate

All done! Now it’s time for you to see how much food do you really need. As you started off with a normal meal, it should be fairly simple for you to assess what your actual needs are.

There are numerous studies that correlate mindful eating with health. One such study concluded: Results suggest that mindful eating may have a greater influence on serving size. 

Was this exercise helpful? Or do you have more questions? Or wanna share your results? Let me know in the comments.

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