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#51 – Eating When Your Stomach Growl

Hey guys, welcome to this week’s episode and I’m so excited I have Katie Abbott here, and she is an integrative nutritional health coach. Welcome, thanks so much for being on this show.

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

I want to talk to you about what … I always ask this, everyone knows I’ve wrote a book and in my book I interview everyone and what do I ask them? What do you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and really kind of getting into their diet. So, what is it that you … are you vegan, are you this, are you that? What is your approach to food?

My approach to food is just healthy eating.

Good.

And I don’t put a label on the way that I eat. It’s kind of anti-diet way of eating.

Love that.

However, the pattern of how I eat is very important. So breakfast is usually my biggest meal of the day, lunch is medium size, dinner is smallest meal of the day.

Gotcha. I’m the same way. I eat more in the earlier part of the day, I don’t like to go to bed full, but some people are just the opposite, right?

Exactly.

They like to go to bed … So let me ask you about your diet.

Okay.

Tell me some things that you eat. What does your breakfast look like? What does your lunch look like? What does your dinner look like?

Okay. So, I start my day in the morning with a mug of green tea, some people start with lemon water, I prefer to start with green tea. It’s a very gentle way to wake up in the morning, it’s really rich in antioxidants, and you can get a little caffeine. Let’s see, my breakfast this morning I had two eggs with avocado toast on whole grain sprouted bread, and I had smoked salmon on it. And I had sprouted micro greens on it as well. Yesterday for lunch I made a bento box. I usually pack my lunch every day so that I know that I’m prepared to eat very healthy.

Okay.

And it had humus in it, it had brown rice crackers in the bento box, and also a huge portion of carrots and green peppers cut up. And then for dinner it really varies. Usually it’s a small dinner, like a couple nights ago I had salmon and bak choy with quinoa. Last night I had a veggie burger and a salad. So it’s usually my smallest meal and it’s kind of like a snack.

Snack, yeah. And that’s funny that you say that because as I interviewed all of the women that I interviewed, this is kind of the chart. I literally just asked them, these are people who have been thin their whole life, they’ve never been on a diet, I said what do you do? And so, you would actually fall under the category of eating three times a day.

For sure, and I’m actually physically hungry. My stomach is growling.

And that’s the whole point. The whole point is even though those women were eating three times a day that’s what they would say to me. I am eating three times a day, but I’m making sure before I’m eating that food, I’m physically hungry, and my stomach is growling.

Yeah.

I hear that over and over again, so you’re going to fall into that 10% category, but if you look at the chart as I interviewed people 70% of those thin women who’ve been thin their entire life said they only ate twice a day, because that’s when their body was physically hungry.

And that’s when we should be eating.

Huh?

It’s going to go be different for everybody.

It’s going to be different for everyone. I think you just hit the trigger on the head. The most important thing is, are you physically hungry when you’re eating now?

Exactly.

Do you work out at all?

I do.

Okay, and what’s kind of your workouts like?

I do a lot of walking, just because I’m inside and I’m in air conditioned controlled environments a lot, and so I just want to be outside in nature a lot. So, I do a lot of really long walks.

Okay.

Sometimes I’ll walk like three to five miles.

Yeah. Me and my friends, four miles is kind of our sweet spot.

That’s great.

It’s like four miles is perfect.

And it feels good.

Feels great.

Yeah. And that’s my incentive for exercising is just because it makes me feel good.

Yeah.

I also enjoy group exercise classes where there’s a group of people, men or women and we’re all doing the same thing, working hard together. I also enjoy doing yoga. I love playing tennis.

So do you workout … I play tennis too, awesome. What level are you?

I don’t know what level I am.

Oh, okay.

I played very competitively in my late teens early 20s and then I got really burnt out.

Yeah.

So I just play for fun now.

Yeah. Are you working out seven days a week doing something?

I do something every day.

Yeah.

And it might just be in my house in my living room. I turn on YouTube and do a 15 minute Pilates video.

Yeah.

Some days it’s not a lot.

And would you say that you are maybe sometimes even doing two workouts a day, sometimes you’re walking, sometimes you might be walking and doing yoga?

Sometimes.

Yeah.

Yeah, sometimes.

And again, so you’re falling into that category, that 10%, but those people every time I interviewed them, if you look with that three times a day those people were always moving. Why were they hungry three times a day? Because they weren’t just sitting all day long, they were hungry three times a day because they were moving, they were getting going. So I love that.

They have their metabolism that is awake and working for them.

So one of the things that … your website is beautiful by the way.

Thank you.

It’s KatieAbbottRD.com.

Yes.

And something I noticed that you’re really passionate about that I need to do a much better job of is mindful eating. So first, for listeners who don’t know what that is, explain that to us.

Mindful eating is a way of eating. So we’re not even looking at what is on your plate. It is a process of just paying attention on purpose to your actual eating experience, and without judgment. This might sound straightforward, that you’re just paying attention to what you’re doing, however, we have a lot of distractions. So mindful eating can be difficult for some people that have a lot of distractions, or who don’t have a lot of time to sit down and eat a meal.

And that would be me. I’m always distracted. I have so many balls in the air, all the time.

In scientific studies distracted eating is associated with eating 40% more calories.

Wow.

Just because you’re not paying as much attention to your fullness cues.

I met this guy that’s a chiropractor, his name was François he’s from France.

Fancy.

We’re going to have him on the show.

Awesome.

And I cannot wait for him to be on, but he said two such powerful things to me yesterday. He said to me, “I’m from …” I can’t do his accent but he’s like, “I’m from France.” He’s like, “You know where we are nobody eats in their car.”

Yeah.

He’s like, “I literally look over here all the time, I’m sitting here driving and I look over and I see these people munching down on their burger from Burger King, and they’re like going to town.”

Just going for it.

And he’s like mortified. He’s like, “When I first came to this country, I was like deer in headlights mortified.” Which is like the absolute opposite of … Let me ask you this, do you ever eat in your car?

Sometimes I might have to.

Yeah.

It’s not a purposeful thing, it might be traveling, or I just got over scheduled.

But you’re still mindful about it.

Yeah.

You’re taking nice small …

I mean we’re all humans.

Yes.

It happens sometimes.

Sometimes.

So it’s a matter of eating without judgment.

Yeah.

Sensing this is what it is, I’m doing the best that I can.

But I think you can still be mindful while you’re eating.

Right.

So give us some things like, if you are a mindful eater this is what you do. What would you say?

Okay, so being a mindful eater is basically being very present in the moment. Ideally you’d have both feet flat on the floor, you take a look at the plate in front of you, just view it thinking, “Is this plate of food going to nourish me, or is it going to sabotage my efforts towards getting healthy?”

Ooh I love that.

Okay, so visually you can really tell. We all know what to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. Once you do that start to get all five senses involved, ’cause that really slows you down. Am I smelling my food? Seeing my food? Can I hear my food? Typically, food doesn’t make a sound, but are you hearing it as you crunch, or did you hear it sizzling as it was cooking? And then the feel of food. A lot of cultures don’t use utensils. So we have kind of lost our feel of food. We have some finger foods in our culture, but we mainly eat with a fork, and a knife, and a spoon. So we have mouth feel. So really slowing down and chewing your food.

Oh my gosh, that is really … and I’m really, really working on that, it’s one of my biggest problems, but this guy …

Next time you take a bite of food just start counting how many chews you’re taking.

Yes, but let me go even beyond that ’cause François said this. He said, “Let me ask you this, do you drink a lot of smoothies?”

And I said, “You know, I do have a smoothie everyday pretty much, because I have this anti-cancer smoothie that has just made me feel like a million bucks.” And so, it’s funny because today I didn’t drink it, I went to go see him yesterday, and he said, “Here’s what people do when they drink a smoothie. They just go sluuuurrrpp, and they just drink that smoothie so fast.”

Yeah.

And he said, “One of the things that is so important that people don’t realize is in your mouth that saliva that’s in your mouth, and everything that goes on in your mouth helps the digestion process so much that you should literally be taking that smoothie, either taking with a spoon, or you take one sip, you put it in your mouth, and you let it sit in your mouth. And you take that sip of the smoothie and taste it.”

Yeah.

Some of these smoothies has maybe a little bit of something in there, try to chew it even more with that one sip.

Yeah, we should really be moving it around in our mouth, because we have digestive enzymes in our saliva that help you break down carbohydrates.

Yes.

Really people do chug down their smoothies, but you would never sit down and eat a whole bannana, a cup of yogurt, a handful of spinach, all these things really fast, and we’re making them into smoothies and they’re getting guzzled down so quickly. We’d never be able to eat that array of food in one sitting. We might eat one banana and be like, “I’m done.”

Yes.

And then we put them in a smoothie form and we’re just taking in so much at one time. And it’s a little bit harder to digest. You might have a blood sugar spike, depending on what’s in the smoothie.

Yes. Oh my gosh, that’s so good. So what else? If I’m a mindful eater, I’m really counting, how many chews would you say? Are you at the point now where you don’t have to sit there and count your chews, right?

Right, I’m a very slow eater. I broke my jaw a couple years ago, so every time I eat now I’m very slow.

That’s maybe what needs to happen.

I don’t want everybody to go break their jaw though.

Maybe that’s what I need to do.

Don’t do that. I don’t recommend it. Ideally in scientific studies where they’re seeing benefits of slow eating, people are chewing their food 40 times. And what happens when you just the mechanical action of chewing, just that stimulates the release of four different hormones in the body that help suppress your appetite, or helps you feel full for longer. So when people aren’t chewing they’re missing that cue from the body. So your body’s really trying to help you out, help you eat less, help you not have such an enormous appetite but when we’re going about eating so quickly it’s difficult for that process to happen in the body.

That’s awesome, I love that.

I forget what your question was.

No, we were just saying any other tips for mindful eating, so chewing is a big one.

Oh yeah, so chewing. There’s a couple apps that you can get on your phone that are free. There’s one called Chew Timer and there’s one called …

Oh my gosh.

Yes. Chew Timer.

I need to write that down right away, Chew Timer. I gotta do that every time.

Yeah. So there’s Chew Timer, which is an excellent one. So basically that one works anytime, it’s like every 20 seconds I believe, it makes a ding, or a chime, or it vibrates and that’s your cue to take a bite of food. And then you put your fork down and you wait to hear it make a noise again.

Oh my gosh.

And it’s kind of like a little game you can play with yourself.

Oh my gosh, best thing ever. Okay.

There’s another app called Eat, Chew, Rest, and it’s very similar but it has like a red light, green light, yellow light simulation where when the light’s red you put your fork down. When the light’s yellow that’s when you’re chewing. When the light’s green that means you take a bite of food.

Oh my gosh, that is great.

And if you’re really struggling with chewing, or taking your time, they make something called a Fit Fork. And the Fit Fork has a red light and a green light on the end of it. And so when the light is green you go, and when the light is red you put the fork down and you wait.

Oh my gosh, do they have a Fit Spoon too?

Probably. I saw that at a conference a few years ago, they probably have all sorts of stuff now.

Oh my gosh, that is amazing, I love that so much. How do you know that your stomach is growling because you’re hungry, versus your stomach just growling maybe because of digestion?

So typically digestion will originate a little bit lower in the stomach, in the belly region. Your stomach is rather up high, and this is where you’re going to feel the growling. But, physical hunger manifests differently in different people. Whereas my stomach growls sometimes when I’m hungry, I get hangry. You get that emotion where you have a drop in blood sugar and you need some food, but maybe you can’t get to it at that time, or you didn’t prepare and pack a snack, and you’re getting emotional response to it. Another way hunger manifests is you might feel anxious, and that could be the hanger type thing. Your heart might skip a beat, some people that’s how their hunger manifests. You might feel dizzy, you might not be able to concentrate, you might have brain fog. So, it’s not just the stomach, but there’s other bodily reactions the physical hunger.

Well let’s jump right into the questions, because we have a bunch of them.

Frankie in Corpus Christi. My biggest problem when I’m eating is that I become a food zombie. I eat so fast and without paying attention. I notice that if I’m eating with other people, I’m always the first to finish. Eating fast also causes me to eat more, but I’m having the worst time trying to slow down. I’m really busy and I don’t want to waste a huge portion of my life sitting there and eating, even though I know I need to. Do you have any advice for this?

I’m like in love with this guy, I’ve never met him but the fact that he said he becomes a food zombie, that’s what people used to joke me. My friends earlier when I would eat, because I would eat so fast they’re like, “Oh here comes the food zombie.” You know, just eating so fast.

Yeah.

And I feel that way too. I like what he said, he said, “I don’t want to waste a huge portion of my life just sitting there eating.” I like how he said that. I can relate to what he’s saying. So what would you say to him?

Eating shouldn’t take a huge portion of your life. Ideally a meal should last about 20 minutes, because that’s the amount of time it takes for your stomach to tell your brain all those different reactions going on, your nerves speaking to your brain, the hormones being released that you’re satisfied, or you’ve had enough. So ideally 20 minutes.

And maybe he’s eating too much if it’s taking too long.

Yeah, he could be overeating if it’s taking too long.

Sarah in Delaware. My daughter and I have this tradition where every Friday night we have a movie night and watch a movie that she picks, and a whole bunch of popcorn and snacks. I really love this time with her, and snacks have become a part of our tradition. The problem is that I noticed I can eat a massive bowl of popcorn without even realizing it. What’s the saying? Once you pop you can’t stop. Anyways, I don’t want to give up this tradition with my daughter, but I also don’t want to feel like total crap at the end of the movie. How can I still enjoy this time without eating a huge bowl of everything but the kitchen sink?

So this goes back to that distracted eating where we see that you end up eating 40% more calories just from being distracted. One of my tips for her would maybe be to choose a healthier popcorn, maybe some air popped popcorn that she makes at home. maybe not buttery microwaved popcorn. Another tip is to just have a serving and eat it slowly, if she can. So a serving of popped popcorn is three cups, which I think is very generous. And then after she has that popcorn she could sip on a mug of warm tea, or iced tea that’s been naturally sweetened with something like Stevia. And sometimes we just need something in our hands. And so, instead of using our hands to eat something, use your hands to sip something that would not add a lot of calories.

I think the key is what she said is, “I’ve noticed I can eat a massive bowl of popcorn.” Don’t bring that massive bowl. Number one, my suggestion would be that she make sure that if she’s going it after dinner, eat a smaller dinner so that you’re not full, so that you make sure that when you do eat that popcorn you’re still physically hungry. And two, get a smaller bowl of popcorn so that you know once this is done, we’re done.

Yep, measure that serving size out.

Yeah, measure it out.

That three cups.

All right. Rebecca in New Hope. I recently heard a podcast where they were talking about the big four. Making sure you’re having some protein, some fat, fiber and greens with each meal. I have a pretty good idea of what good proteins, fats and greens are, but I’m a little stuck on the fiber. Do you agree with this concept of the big four, and if so what are some good sources of fiber that easy, that I can be sure to include with my meals?

The big four, I mean that covers most of the categories of eating. I think the only thing that’s left out is non starchy vegetables, which you could put into the fiber category. So basically fiber is anything that’s made from a plant. So, animal products you don’t really get any fiber at all, but fiber you would find in whole grains, things like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa. You’d find it in starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, corn, green peas. You find fiber in fruit.

What would be like …

Beans.

… your thing as far as like you say, if I feel like I’m not getting enough fiber here’s my go-to’s that I’m going to kind of go to?

I make sure at every meal that I do have fiber. My breakfast this morning I had sprouted whole grain bread. I had a nectarine. Those are all full of fiber. My lunch, I make sure I have half a plate of non starchy vegetables like a salad, or green beans, leftover grilled asparagus from the night before, that’s all full of fiber. I also make sure I have whole grain or starchy vegetable at a meal, it’s not a big portion, it might be just a 1/4 of my plate might have some quinoa, or some brown rice, a baked potato, something like that.

Gotcha. All right, Melanie in Chesapeake. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for about a month and I’m starting to notice an increase in my energy, and a few pounds loss. The one thing that I really don’t like is that when I push myself to a longer fasting window I get super hangry towards the end. On occasions, I’ve gotten so hangry that I completely binge out when I eat the first meal of the day. I know that this is not a healthy way to do intermittent fasting, starving myself, then binging out. How can I find the balance of letting my stomach growl and get hungry before I eat, but then be mindful of what and how I eat when I open my eating window?

So she hit the nail on the head.

She kind of answered …

This is not a healthy way. So her fasting window is too great for her.

It’s too long.

It’s too long for her. So go back to the one that felt more comfortable and then instead of making your fasting window longer, look more at your quality of foods on your plate, and look more at how you’re moving your body.

Yeah. And I think that another tip that I would say for you Melanie is to before you start … let’s say your fasting window you wanted to start at 1:00, maybe start at 12:00 or whatever, and then have a small snack, like a handful of almonds, or something that has a little bit of protein so that you’re calming yourself down. That really helps me. My mom is super, super thin and she always has some nuts in her bag, and that’s what she does. As soon as her stomachs growling, she’s starting to get hungry, she knows we’re not going to lunch for an hour, she literally pops …

It’ll hold her over, yeah.

Literally in her bag she’s like, “Okay, who wants walnuts? Okay, who wants almonds? Okay …” I mean literally.

That’s cute.

Pulling it out, that is so funny.

That’s really cute.

All right. Alex in Manassas. I’ve read so many recipes and articles about power smoothies, and almost every recipe says use a scoop of your favorite protein powder or protein powder of your choice. My issue is that I’ve never bought protein powder, so I have no clue what I like or what would be best. I hear people talking about plant based protein, collagens, soy, whey, can you break down the differences and what type of protein that so I know where to start? So for you, what’s your favorite brand?

Well honestly, I think I first want to talk to Alex about this, because honestly this is where working with a registered dietician like myself, or a health coach would be super helpful, because there’s no, this is better than that. It’s really what is right for you? Like someone who might have a soy allergy, or a whey allergy I would never recommend those for them. They might be better with a plant based protein. If someone’s having a hard time digesting fibers I might put them on a whey protein. So it’s not that one is better than the other, so you really have to look at what’s right for you.

I love that.

Another thing is to look at your taste preferences. Every single protein powder tastes different. So before buying a huge tub of protein powder start by just buying sample packets, and figure out which one you like, and which one you digest better. And also look at the quality. Some protein powders are not made of good quality items.

Yes, and looking at the ingredients, it’s unbelievable some of these ingredients that are in some of these.

Looking at the ingredients, yes.

For me personally I always make sure it’s organic. I always try to either do the plant based or a collagen based protein. But the number one thing I look at is, what are the ingredients?

Right.

And if I can’t read them or understand them.

Yes.

I look at the sugar content, and I also look at the sugar alcohol.

That’s huge for protein powders.

That sort of thing.

A really good website to use for quality and if protein powders actually have what they say they have in them, is a website called ConsumerLabs.com. It’s an independent lab, and they actually test products to see if what they have, what they are claiming is in them is actually in them.

That is exciting.

Which is wonderful website, something that I use almost on a daily basis for my clients.

I love that. That’s a great idea. Terah …

But …

Oh no, go ahead.

I was going to say, but going back to your question, what’s my favorite protein powder?

Yeah, what’s your favorite?

I really enjoy Garden of Life.

Me too.

Raw organic chocolate protein powder.

I like the same one, but I like vanilla.

Cause I love chocolate. Okay.

I like vanilla, and only because my smoothies have so much greens with them, and I put so much spinach.

Vanilla goes well with greens.

Yeah, vanilla just goes better with greens.

I put a lot of berries in mine.

Yeah.

And chocolate I think goes well with berries.

Goes better, yeah. I do the exact same, but in vanilla.

Perfect.

And everyone says I’m super vanilla anyway, so I feel like I should have vanilla.

Terah in Tennessee. I love to cook for my family and I always feel like food is healthier when I control exactly what’s in it, and what is added.

Exactly. Yes.

The problem is with cooking, I realize that I’m not hungry when it comes time to eat. I realize that I’m doing so much taste testing with every ingredient, and trying every food, every step of the process that I’m eating way more than I realize. I like to try to see how it tastes before I feed it to my family, but I don’t want to keep tacking on all these extra calories, what do you recommend?

I totally get it Tara. I totally get it ’cause I want to make sure my food tastes good too before I serve it to friends or family.

Yeah.

So here’s my favorite tip for this. So, instead of using a spoon or a fork to taste something, turn that fork or spoon around. Put the fork end in your hand and use the stem, and just dip it in and taste.

That’s a great …

So then you’re not getting a fork full or a spoon full of food.

Oh that is great advice.

And you can still get all the flavor.

Wow, that is amazing advice. All right. Jamie in North Carolina. I love the hunger scale that you included in your book, and it’s way more simple to understand then some of the other ones that I’ve seen. You say that we shouldn’t go past a four or five when we’re eating.

Which is I say a four. Her question is a four or five, but the answer is a four.

How can I recognize when I’m too stuffed and should stop eating? What are signs that I should look for in my body?

I wonder what her pace of eating is, ’cause if she’s eating too quickly she might not recognize that she is getting too stuffed. So my first tip might be to slow down. You want to eat until you’re satisfied not stuffed. So if you feel tired after eating, if you feel like you have a food coma you’ve definitely eaten way too much. We should not ever feel like that after we eat. We should feel energized after we eat, because food is calories. Calories are not a bad thing, because calories are burned in our body for energy. So we should feel energized after we eat. In Chinese traditional medicine …

This is my hunger scale in my book.

Oh that’s great.

There’s so many different hunger scales.

There are. Most of them go from zero to 10.

Yeah, most of them go zero to 10 and I feel like they’re so confusing, because it’s like too many to deal with.

Yeah.

So it just makes it a lot easier that just says, look you stop eating when you’re a four. When you’re a five you’re stuffed.

Yes, and I love that your four says satisfied.

Yes.

Because in Chinese traditional medicine, going way back into ancient times they say to eat until you’re 80% satisfied. They never use the word full or stuffed.

Yes.

Because that means you’ve eaten way too much, so just before that point.

Yes. Well that is awesome. We have so enjoyed having you.

Thank you for having me, this is wonderful.

One more time tell everyone your website.

My website is KatieAbbottRD.com. If you want to get in touch with me click on the contact section at the top of the page, and fill out the contact form. I also have a free report that is available to anybody, it’s called Obsessed with Weight, and it is a report based on the national registry for weight control. So this registry for weight control has over 20,000 participants of people who have lost weight and kept it off for longer than a year, what their habits were.

Oh my gosh.

So I’ve created a report, a step guide of what their main habits are.

I love that.

To keep the weight off long-term.

Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. I love that. And I’ve loved spending time with you.

Thank you, same here.

You are amazing. Her website is beautiful, so go ahead and get a chance to look at that.

Thank you.

And if you have a question that you want answered go to questions@chantelrayway.com, and we’ll see you next time. Bye gang.

Thank you.