Day 154 – Shrink STOMACH Shrink – Tuesday – June 28, 2016 – Day Two of Counting BITES of food. You could say that one of the goals in counting and eventually reducing bites of food is to reduce or “shrink” our stomachs. You’ve probably heard of shrinking your stomach. I know I’ve heard these words but actually shrinking our stomachs is a misnomer. Unless we have surgery, such as gastric bypass, our stomach as an adult stays pretty much the same.
If you missed my blog post yesterday, before proceeding with today’s post, you may want to read:
Day 153 – Counting BITES of Food – June 27, 2016
Shrink vs. Stretch
While we may not be able to shrink our stomachs, we can STOP stretching them. Our stomach walls can stretch, especially if we consistently eat big meals.
For example, who hasn’t eaten at an all-you-can-eat buffet or binged on a BIG holiday feast? Our stomachs stretch to accommodate that BIG meal of ~ let’s say: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cornbread casserole, cranberry relish, a roll with butter and at least three desserts. Ugh. I feel miserable just thinking about it (but I’ve done it).
Overeating an occasional meal might feel highly uncomfortable but unlikely to change our anatomy. A normal human stomach can hold around 1 liter of liquids or about 2 cups of food. If we eat more than this amount, our stomach can expand as if it were a balloon.
If we continue to overeat frequently, our stomach will expand more readily. Eventually, we become accustomed to this new way of eating and we establish a “new norm” of what is comfortably full. This process continues as long as we continue to overeat. Scary, isn’t it?
Eat Less ~ Expand Less
Eating smaller meals allows our stomach’s capacity to go down. Over time, perhaps in a month or so of eating smaller meals, our stomachs will get full sooner and we will feel full with less food.
The stomach doesn’t know calories, it only knows size and volume; i.e. quantity. Counting bites helps us to control the “quantity” of food we put into our stomachs. As we begin to reduce our daily bites of food, our stomachs adjust. You can call it “shrinking” or simply call it what it really is ~ not stretched.
Stomach vs. Belly
We sometimes get our stomachs and belly (aka tummy) placement confused.
- Our stomach is a muscular, hollow organ on the left side of the upper abdomen.
- Our belly, aka abdomen constitutes the part of the body between the thorax (chest) and pelvis.
- Belly bloat? The feeling of having built-up gas in our digestive system that makes our belly (tummy) protrude out uncomfortably.
The Stomach’s Job
The stomach receives food from the esophagus. As food reaches the end of the esophagus, it enters the stomach through a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter. Our stomach churns and mixes what we’ve eaten while simultaneously releasing enzymes, acids and hormones to digest the food.
Day 154 – Shrink STOMACH Shrink
If you missed my blog post yesterday, you may want to read: Day 153 – Counting BITES of Food – June 27, 2016
- We have to retrain our thinking, and our stomachs, when it comes to how much food is actually necessary to feel full.
- To count bites, we have to be aware of our hand to mouth routine when consuming food and non-water beverages
- Now that we know we can’t actually shrink our stomach, we can work on NOT stretching it
- Counting bites and eating less can help reduce our food intake and ultimately our body fat and weight
Today was Day 2 of Counting my Bites and I have five more days to go until I can calculate my daily average bites. Yesterday, I had 77 bites of food. Today so far, I am at 75 but I plan to have a snack later.
Part of this challenge is to make sure I am still eating healthy foods. Today, I spent (think of it like $ dollars spent) 19 bites on cubes of watermelon plus two Rainier cherries. Then I had another snack of oven-roasted, unsalted almonds and that came to 10 bites. I’m not too concerned.
I’m really having fun with this. Be sure to read yesterday’s post so you can try the Counting Bites of Food challenge for yourself. I love the app for my i-phone.
Facing MY FAT,