June 11, 2011

The Half Hour Diet

Nothing To Buy.  Just 3 Steps: Eat, Pause, Reflect...
  1. Eat half the food you usually do.
  2. Distract yourself for half an hour.
  3. Then, if you are still hungry, have more.
But you probably won't be hungry, and here is why:

How often do you finish a 10-minute meal feeling full only to experience bloating a half hour later? If you are over forty, you will probably remember putting less food on your plate, rarely having seconds, feeling bloated only one meal per year (Thanksgiving dinner), yet never leaving the table hungry.

Fifty years ago, people prepared less food, put less food on their plates, and ate less, yet most left the table satisfied because meals were family events that generally lasted forty-five minutes to an hour. Meals used to be the high point of the day. We may not have eaten our food any slower, years ago, but we did linger around the table.

Today, families are smaller and we have many more entertainment options. It is no surprise that we seem to eat faster and savor our food less. And because we cannot feel satisfied in ten minutes, we have substituted a sense of fullness in our stomach for the satiety that comes later.

Why the Half-Hour Diet may work for you
It takes perhaps forty minutes for the brain to receive the stomach’s hormonal signals after a meal begins (actually, hormonal signals from the intestines influence the brain’s hunger and satiety centers in the hypothalamus). Once they have experienced satiety, people can learn to expect it and to wait for it.

There are several problems with using fullness to signal adequate food intake. First, the stomach is a muscular pouch, which can stretch to accommodate more food, so a full stomach can mean different amounts of food. Second, many foods pack a lot of calories into a small volume (high caloric density) so a full stomach might hold more calories than we need in a day. Third, after eating till we are full, the arrival of satiety a half hour later transforms feeling full into an uncomfortable sense of feeling bloated. 
Worldwide, many people are eating twice the calories they need, so eating about half before the pause is a simple way to start the diet. A recent patient described the 10-minute lunch he enjoys four days per week: a double cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, a large order of fries, and a large diet soda, totaling 1380 calories. Well, he only needs 1800 calories per day.

Why other diets may not work
Long-term weight loss requires a sustainable lifestyle change. Most diets are restrictive, limiting foods, calories, or mealtimes, and while many people can follow restrictions for months (often losing weight to wear the outfit to that special occasion), most appear unwilling or unable to endure such restrictions for a lifetime. Calorie counting is one of the most effective dieting programs, and those who have tried it generally lose weight and become well aware of the caloric density of foods, yet eventually, some lose interest in calorie counting. The sale of expensive dietary supplements suggests either that overweight poor people will be denied the chance to trim down, or they will need financial assistance to lose weight, or perhaps food supplements are not necessary. Public humiliation motivates some but eventually loses its power or people otherwise avoid it. Stomach surgery may give that full sensation earlier in the meal, but instead, perhaps people could learn the transience of fullness as a goal and become reacquainted with satiety as the opposite of hunger.

The Half-Hour Diet sets no limits, and you may eat as fast as you like. It only requires a half-hour pause after eating a portion of food that might, at first pause, feel insufficient—your stomach will not be full. See how you feel thereafter, and eat more if you must. By de-emphasizing that full sensation and allowing time for satiety, you may feel better after each meal. You may eventually save money by buying and preparing less food. You may save on health costs.

And if you lose and save on the Half Hour Diet, consider a modest donation to one of the Half Hour Distractions listed on the sidebar. Pay it forward. Thank you.

Read more about this simple, free diet in bite-sized pages at www.thehalfhourdiet.com
You are welcome to Comment On The Half Hour Diet at the link below.

Copyright © 2010-11 Cyril O. Burke III, MD. All rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

This philosophy makes a lot of sense. While I have never gone on a "diet" in the exact way it's described here, I have noticed over the years that if I just stop eating and wait, I often don't want any more food. In fact, this is probably one of the reasons why I've never had a weight problem. The same is true for after-meal sweets -- what seems appealing right after a meal (largely to "keep it going" I think) is often decidedly not appealing a half an hour or an hour later.

BrainDame said...

The concept of satiety-that is feeling satisfied-is a perception phenomena, not a direct result of fullness. Overweight people seem to have a less direct connection between being full and perceiving satisfaction-time is a key element in retraining the brain in this way.