Taking your time eating actually has its benefits
Do you ever remember being told to chew your food and slow down? Well there are actual benefits to that. I received a really great article in my inbox from StrongerU the other day that speaks volumes to taking your time and being mindful of your eating.
Take a read below:
It’s high time that we talk about one of the more important concepts in this entire journey. Especially if you’re going to make this a life long and lasting change.
Eating to 80% full and practicing mindfulness.
Now, this is one of those more nebulous topics that a lot of people talk about but very few people actually get. And this is especially true in the world of eating, and it becomes truer the more connected we become.
Essentially what we’re asking you to do is to become more in tune with your hunger. We want you to be aware of what it feels like to be hungry, to recognize if what you’re feeling is actually hunger, and then to carry on that mindfulness to when you’re eating.
Have you ever been eating a meal and then before you know it you’ve got your plate finished and 15 minutes later you can’t stand the thought of eating another bite? That’s what happens when your hunger signals aren’t in line with what’s going on. And here’s the kicker: you can get those hunger signals in line with everything by just taking a bit more time to eat your meals and be mindful of how much you’re eating.
But again, this is a whole lot easier said than done. One doesn’t just wake up one day and find that they’re mindful and completely in tune with how hungry and how full they are. Which is why working to eat to 80% full is an outstanding goal.
Now, I’m sure that some of you might be thinking, “But how am I supposed to hit 80%? Or even know what that feels like? What if I’m at 83%?” And to that I would say, don’t overthink this stuff. Eating is simultaneously the simplest and most complicated thing in the world.
When we’re talking about eating to 80% full we’re really just saying we want you to eat to the point where you’re comfortably satisfied but not stuffed. There’s a big difference there. One involves walking away from your plate and still feeling good and one involves walking away from your plate and feeling like your belt might bust open. Let’s shoot for the former, not the latter.
But how are you gonna make that happen?
It’s time for us to do some learning about how the stomach and the brain talk to one another. The stomach sends hunger signals to the brain, and while most of the things that happen in our bodies are incredibly fast, this is one of those instances where we wished things could be a bit faster.
For the average person, it takes us about 15 minutes for our stomach to communicate to our brains that we’re full. Which means that we could eat an entire meal and then wind up feeling like we’re beyond stuffed. And contrary to popular belief, that’s not how every single meal has to be.
And one of the ways that happens is by shoveling food in our mouths like we’re in the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. By eating quickly we tend to bypass the ability of our stomach and brain to communicate properly, which throws off our awareness of hunger and leaves us in a situation where we’re uncomfortably stuffed.
So, what should you do about that?
Eat a bit more slowly. Seriously, that’s it. Eating slowly allows your stomach and brain time to communicate so you can get a better idea of just how full you’re getting, which in turn allows you to identify if you’re actually hitting that 80% full/comfortably satisfied mark.
Now, do know that this isn’t going to be easy in the beginning. Sure, it’ll be made a bit easier by the fact that you’re tracking everything you’re eating. That certainly helps things. But it’s going to feel strange to actually take time to savor each and every bite you take. It’s going to feel strange because we’re not used to doing that sort of thing.
But I do promise you that if you take the time to work on this you’ll find that being able to identify how hungry or full you actually are becomes much easier. And the easier that becomes, the easier it’ll be to make this program and the results you get on it last for a lifetime.
So take time for your eating. It won't be easy in the beginning, I promise you that. But try and play games with yourself. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work to take all 25 minutes to finish a meal. Check in with yourself afterward to see how you feel. Then check in with yourself 15 minutes later to see how you feel.
Tools like this can help a ton in the long run when it comes to identifying how you feel, which carries over into every single situation you'll find yourself in.
And just like most things in life, remember that just because this sounds simple doesn't mean that it's easy.
Happy Wednesday :)