5 Food Rules to Live By – Rule #2 Eat a little slower…

Food Rule # 2 – Eat slow and to 80% full
By: Elena Rocco, CSCS, Precision Nutrition Certified Coach

In the first rule, we talked about eating real food.  Foods that once came from a plant and were not made in a plant, foods that are minimally processed and have a list of ingredients that a 3rd grader can pronounce, and foods full of bright colors that will perish if not eaten within in a week. By just replacing processed food with REAL food you can make a huge impact on your overall health!

Food Rule #2 has nothing to do with food particularly but relates to the practices of eating and how we can become more mindful when we eat.

As a Precision Nutrition Coach, I see these two daily practices as the most important to focus on a daily basis. These two practices will trump all other “diets”, and aside from anything else, will help you to become healthy in your MIND and your BODY!

By following this rule, as simple as it sounds, you will undoubtedly support your quest to reach your goals. This food rule will last you a lifetime, not just 6 weeks or until that celery juice starts to taste really bad every morning. This rule focuses on the mindful practice of eating and tuning into your body and begin to recognize the cues it is sending us!


It takes the brain close to 20 minutes to catch up the stomach.  Here is the quick science behind what happens when you eat:

Food enters the stomach, then the stomach stretches and activates stretch Receptors which sends a message back to the medulla oblongata (your brain via the vagus nerve) and then back to stomach.  This “satiety signal” takes time, and the entire “back and forth” process takes around 20 minutes!  When we are rushed, not focusing on eating, eating in our cars or in front of the T.V., and just eating way too fast we are distracted and generally not thinking about our pace and being present with our food.

So what ends up happening is we eat fast and in 5 minutes have finished  our meal!  Because the brain has not caught up the stomach we feel unsatiated, want more food, and tend to go back for seconds or dessert.  The brain finally catches up with our stomach and BAM we are now stuffed! For the next few hours, we feel bloated and uncomfortably full.

By taking 20 minutes to eat your meal you will improve digestion, eat less-which, in turn, will lead to sustainable weight loss and maintenance.  You will also be more hydrated because you will be drinking water between bites, and feel more satisfied with your meal!

How to eat slowly (definitely try this at home):

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes and make your meal last!
  • Set your fork down between bites!  (try a sip of water here)
  • Eliminate distractions: sit at a table, have a conversation, turn off the screens
  • Enjoy every bite by taking time to chew – notice flavors and textures
  • Be present at mealtime


80% can feel very subjective, but the objective of this idea is feeling satisfied but not feeling full or stuffed. Foods these days, especially in restaurants, are very hyper-palatable, making it very easy to overeat. “It tastes so good!”  I get it, but overeating will make it difficult to lose weight or maintain weight, and will eventually lead to gaining weight.

How do I find 80% full?

  • Eat slowly and obserserve how you feel during the meal
  • Immediately take your plate away when you no longer feel hungry
  • Use a smaller plate and serve yourself a little bit less than your normal portion
  • Tune into your body and talk to your stomach!  By taking up to 20 minutes to finish your meal, your brain has time to “talk” to your stomach and let it know that you are in fact full!

While you are waiting for rule #3 to make its debut try out the following:

  • Eat fresh, brightly colored, minimally processed food!
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes at mealtime.
  • Focus on your presence and pace when eating.
  • Bring awareness to the feeling of satisfaction with your meal, avoid feeling full.  

Stay tuned for rule #3!

If you are looking for more information on our nutritional coaching program send us a message here!

Yours in health and strength,