If the same food is getting into your stomach whether you eat fast or eat slow, then what is the difference?
Let’s talk about:
· Eating speed
· Eating environment
· Eating relaxed
· Eating attitude
· Paying attention to our food
Studies show we eat more if we eat faster. No big surprises on that point. Our brain processes how much we have eaten by a number of factors including how long we have been eating, chewing, taste, texture and enjoyment. If you are a fast eater, it can take a lot of practice and time to become a slow eater, but it is worth it. You became a fast eater over a lot of years, so don’t expect slow eating to come naturally in a mattery of days. Stick with it, but in a relaxed way, not a robotic “I am going to chew each bite 24 times” way.
Eating environment and eating relaxed go hand in hand and they go back to the post about stress and cortisol. Let’s consider two different chaotic environments: The first one is eating at your desk with people interrupting your meal for work questions. The second one is eating at home in a kitchen that has a counter with three days of dirty dishes, unopened, partly-opened and empty Amazon boxes as well as twice as much stuff as the room should hold. Both of these create low-level stress while you are eating which diverts energy away from your digestive organs and cause you to ineffectively absorb nutrients from your food.
Take your meals as a respite from your day. You may need to set aside more time for your meals. It would be hard to eat relaxed if you have 8 minutes to do it. Prioritize meal time.
Is food your enemy? To some extent, I have or have had issues with every one of these, but this is the biggest one for me. How can I enjoy food if I am trying to lose weight? Food makes you gain weight of course, but really, doesn’t food keep you alive? How can I enjoy food if food causes heart disease or cancer? We are supposed to be avoiding stress, right? What do you do when you are encountering enemy territory? You rush through it as soon as possible. Food isn’t the enemy. We just need to educate ourselves as best as we can, make our best decisions and enjoy the food we eat.
Paying attention to our food:
That goes right into the last one of paying attention to our food. It is also called mindful eating and is a hot topic on the internet now. It is as simple as taste what you are eating, take in the textures. This is hard to do when your eating environment includes the television, a webpage and messy area.
Not only are you more likely to eat less and absorb more nutrients from your food if you eat slowly and relaxed, but you are less likely to reach for a snack later because your brain remembers you ate.
Easting slowly and relaxed is not easy if you have been a fast eater. It is easy to give up trying to eat slowly after a week or forget you are working on it. For some it can come in a few weeks, others can take months of reminding themselves while they eat. It is a win-win. You eat the same food but get better nutrient absorption and feel fuller. Keep trying.