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Eat to 80% Full Its the ultimate weight loss habit

Eat to 80% Full Its the ultimate weight loss habit

Mike Williams

The U.S weight loss market is a $60 billion industry. And just like our waistlines…it keeps growing. This begs the question: why are both our country’s obesity problem and the industry that profits from trying to combat it expanding?

It’s the new year and that means constant reminders about products and services promising to solve weight problems. But we can’t realistically expect short-term changes to produce long-term results. “Some habits of ineffectiveness are rooted in our social conditioning toward quick-fix, short-term thinking,” said Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Good nutritional habits are like bathing, we recommend them daily. And not just in January. So let me introduce you to the 80-percent-full habit and why it is so important.

You probably know what it feels like to be stuffed — that all-too-familiar feeling after your third dessert at a holiday meal. Let’s call that 180 percent full. It’s testing the constraints of our stomach. And our stretch pants.

Conversely, you may be familiar with feeling hungry. Let’s call that 0 percent full. Somewhere in between lies the concept of 80 percent full, eating to just satisfied.

This is about eating a little less than you otherwise might. So how do you know what 80 percent looks like? Or feels like? (Is there an app for that?) Initially, you won’t know what it means for portion sizes.

And that’s ok.

Here are two techniques to get you started down the right path to developing sustainable healthy eating habits: Eat slowly and eat to 80 percent full.

As you are defining what 80 percent full means for you, I recommend eating slowly. These two foundational habits of the No Limits Fitness nutrition coaching program are simple in concept yet difficult to master. But they are vital.

Give this a try at your next meal: After you take a bite, pause for a moment and see how you feel. If another bite feels like a good idea, proceed. Repeat this process until you feel as though you might be 80 percent full.

And then stop.

Your goal is to stop eating earlier than you normally would. Eating slowly helps significantly because it takes 20 minutes for our satiety mechanisms to trigger our brains that we’re full.

The easiest way to begin adopting these habits is to start with your normal serving sizes. Don’t worry about eating to exactly 80 percent full — you don’t have a digital display for your stomach capacity. Simply try to leave a few bites of your meal remaining on your plate.

You also may try to use smaller serving plates as you may initially have more success eating all of a smaller portion as opposed to stopping earlier with a larger portion.

Eating to 80 percent full is a simple concept that is difficult to execute. As with any new habit, it will feel strange in the beginning. Make it a game. Think of this habit as a challenge to yourself. Try eating slowly to 80 percent full and see what can happen for you.

Mike Williams is a Precision Nutrition certified coach, NASM certified personal trainer and owner of No Limits Fitness in West Melbourne. He specializes in helping busy professionals adopt a healthier lifestyle and reconnect with their inner spark. Contact him at or call 321-952-9470.

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