Today I want to provide you with the simplest, arguably most effective piece of nutrition advice ever: SLOW DOWN.
Although it is incredibly simple, it’s not always easy. One of the challenges in our daily lives is that many of us rush through the day, with no time for anything … and when we have time to get a bite, we gobble it down. Probably while we are trying to multi-task on something else.
That leads to stressful, unhealthy living.
And with the simple but powerful act of eating slower, we can begin to reverse that lifestyle immediately. How hard is it? You take smaller bites, you chew each bite slower and longer, and you enjoy your meal longer.
It takes a few minutes extra each meal, and yet it can have profound effects.
You may have already heard of the Slow Food Movement, started in Italy almost two decades ago to counter the fast food movement. Everything that fast food is, Slow Food isn’t.
If you read the Slow Food Manifesto, you’ll see that it’s not just about health — it’s about a lifestyle. And whether you want to adopt that lifestyle or not, there are some reasons you should consider the simple act of #sloweating.
When you eat slowly, you digest better. You lose or maintain weight more easily. Yet you also feel more satisfied with each meal. Conversely, if you rush your meals, your digestion suffers. Meals are stressful. And it might seem like each meal is over too soon, which often makes you want to eat more. Or you “overshoot the runway”, finishing the meal before your natural satiety signals kick in, and ending up suddenly — uncomfortably — overstuffed.
It has a number of advantages:
A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories — in fact, enough to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. The reason is that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop on time. Now, I would still recommend that you eat healthier foods, but if you’re looking to lose weight, eating slowly should be a part of your new lifestyle. Slow eating allows you to sense into your body's internal hunger and fullness cues. I also suggest drinking water or a hot tea at least 1 hour before and after the meal… this also helps to “clean” your stomach, which in return will decrease calorie consumption.
One of the most important benefits of #eatingslowly is that it gives your body time to recognize that you’re full.
This reason is just as powerful, in my experience. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly. In fact, I think it’s fine to eat sinful foods, if you eat a small amount slowly.
Think about it: you want to eat sinful foods (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc.) because they taste good. But if you eat them fast, what’s the point? If you eat them slowly, you can get the same amount of great taste, but with less going into your stomach. That’s math that works for me. And that argument aside, I think you are just happier by tasting great food and enjoying it fully, by eating slowly. Make your meals a gastronomic pleasure, not a thing you do rushed, between stressful events. We’re a rushed, distracted, and too-busy society. Most people in the world eat fast. Really fast. We rarely take the time to savor our food… or sometimes even to chew it properly.
If you eat slower, you’ll chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, so the more work you do up there, the less you’ll have to do in your stomach. Slow eating enhances digestion, allowing your body to pull out vital nutrients.
This can help lead to fewer digestive health issues.
Eating slowly, and paying attention to our eating, can be a great form of mindfulness exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through a meal thinking about what you need to do next. When you eat, you should eat. This kind of mindfulness, I believe, will lead to a less stressful life, and long-term happiness. Slow eating helps you “check in,” be present, and pay attention to what (and how much) you’re eating and why. Eating when distracted (With TV or smartphone), on the other hand, leads to overeating both acutely and at subsequent meals. An example of “being distracted” … you are at a social gathering, most people hover in the kitchen and while they socialize, they “snack” on the “munchies” that are out on the counter. I’m guilty of this too, but we need to be careful as a study shows that doing this for 15 mins can add an average of 450 calories to your day.Give it a try.
Eating slowly also helps us feel more satisfied — which is different than just being “full”.
Fast food and fast life.
Our hectic, fast-paced, stressful, chaotic lives — the Fast Life — leads to eating Fast Food, and eating it quickly. This is a lifestyle that is dehumanizing us, making us unhealthy, stressed out, and unhappy. We rush through our day, doing one mindless task after another, without taking the time to live life, to enjoy life, to relate to each other, to be human. That’s not a good thing in my book. Instead, rebel against that entire lifestyle and philosophy … with the small act of eating slower. Don’t eat Fast Food. Eat at a good restaurant, or better yet, cook your own food and enjoy it fully. Taste life itself.
The benefits of slow eating include better digestion, better hydration, easier weight loss or maintenance, and greater satisfaction with our meals. Meanwhile, eating quickly leads to poor digestion, increased weight gain, and lower satisfaction. The message is clear: Slow down your eating and enjoy improved health and well-being.
Not only that, eating slowly can help you lose weight. A number of studies have shown that simply by eating more slowly, folks consume fewer calories—in fact, enough to drop 20 pounds in a year without doing anything different!
With that in mind, slow down when you eat; take smaller bites; chew each bite slower, longer, and completely; put your fork down between bites; eat with your non-dominant hand; drink hot water at least 1 hour before your meal and one hour after the meal and enjoy a conversation with someone.
When you slow down, savor a meal, pay attention to tastes and textures, and appreciate each mindful bite, you leave the table feeling good in your soul… even if all you ate was a baloney sandwich.