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Welcome to your next habit: “Eat to 80% full”

Why “80% full”?


First: The exact number isn’t important. “80% full” is just an idea of eating a little less than you normally would.


80% full is about two things:

  • How much you eat.
  • How it feels to eat that much.


So by doing this habit, you’ll learn:

  • What portion sizes work for you.
  • What it feels like to be physically hungry, satisfied, and/or full.


In the beginning, you won’t know what 80% full is for you.

You probably won’t know what 80% feels like, or what portion sizes work best.

That’s OK.


You’ll experiment. And we promise to give you lots of practice as you learn.

Here are two techniques to get you started.


Eat slowly = 80% full

Along with eating slowly, 80% full is one of the two most important “anchor habits” in our Coaching.


If you can master only two habits out of the entire year-long program, make them these habits. (Seriously. They’re that important!)

And they work together.


The better you are at slow eating, the easier 80% full will be.

(Cool huh? It’s almost like we have some kind of plan or something.)

So in the beginning, as you learn what 80% looks like for you, go slow.

  1. Take a bite.
  2. Stop.
  3. Take a breath.
  4. Check-in with yourself. How do you feel? Pause to notice.
  5. If it feels like another bite is a good idea, take another bite. And repeat.
  6. If you feel like you might be around 80%, stop.

That’s it.


Stop eating sooner than you normally would.

You probably have a sense of how much you normally eat — what size of plate you use, what size of sandwich or coffee you order, etc.

So you can:

  • Start with what you’d normally eat.
  • And then just shrink that a little bit. Or stop eating just a little sooner than you normally would.


For instance, try:

  • Ordering one size smaller than normal.
  • Using a smaller dish than normal.


Another option: Plan a workout or brisk walk shortly after you finish eating.

If you know you have to get up and move around, you’ll be more likely to keep your meal smaller.


What to do practice:


Stop eating before you normally would.

Don’t stress over the “80% full” and how to quantify that yet.

If you stopped eating a little sooner than you normally would at every meal, then tick off your habit.


Eat slowly.

This “anchor habit” will make your new habit of “80% full” much easier.

Who doesn’t like easier stuff?


Use smaller servings.

Whether it’s using a dessert plate instead of a dinner plate, ordering a “medium” instead of your usual “large”, or some other way of starting with smaller-than-normal serving size, try it.

It’s a lot easier to eat all of a smaller portion than to try to stop partway through a larger portion.


Use reminders.

In most cultures, we’re constantly encouraged to overeat. So you’ll need to remind yourself consistently until this habit becomes ingrained.

Use daily reminders — such as a sticky note, a cell phone alarm, an elastic band around your wrist, or anything else that works — to help yourself remember.


Be curious. Experiment.

This habit will feel new and weird. Uncomfortable, even. That’s normal.

Think of this like a little game or experiment.


See what it’s like to try 80% full. What happens for you?


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