We live in a world of delicious food. We also live in a world that can give us a never-ending to-do list with a myriad of distractions. According to Marketdata Enterprises, which is a market research firm that specializes in tracking niche industries, Americans spend more than 60 billion dollars annually in the quest to lose weight. From weight loss programs to gym memberships to diet foods, our intentions are to get healthier. Research also shows that 67 percent of people with gym memberships never use them. Many diets leave one feeling deprived, hungry, and irritable. Before joining a gym or starting a special diet, consider this very simple START SOMEWHERE strategy to jump-start your health. Slow down and savor what you eat, regardless of what that is.
It sounds easy but it takes intention. By starting to pay attention to how I am routinely eating, I have realized that eating mindlessly on the run and gulping half-chewed food is the sad norm. The idea for making a change came to me as a result of the five-day Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) that Mike and I did recently. I’ll be telling you more about this in later posts. While that was a special diet, it taught me some great lessons for “everyday eating” that are helping me and will hopefully help you too.
These strategies will help you feel full sooner, enhance digestion, and increase satisfaction at mealtime or snacktime. Here they are:
Put down your eating utensil between bites. If you are eating finger food, pause and wipe your hands on a napkin between bites. This gives your stomach time to communicate with your brain.
Take small bites and concentrate on the taste sensation. In an effort to make the meal last longer while on the FMD, I took tiny bites. To my surprise, it was quite satisfying to taste the food more fully. Although I’m still trying to harness that wisdom, I easily fall back into my old habits. Positive change takes time!
Chew slowly until the bite is liquified. OK — this sounds gross at first. You’ve heard “chew each bite 20 times” or other numbers but that never made total sense to me because a crunchy carrot requires more effort than a baked sweet potato! This will also help you body extract maximum nutrition from your food as the enzymes in saliva start to break the molecules apart.
For weight management, slow down an savor your meal of choice. Remember, what fires together, wires together and the benefits of creating a new habit loop are worth the effort. START SOMEWHERE today thinking about how you eat before you change what you eat. You can do it. I will help you.