Slow down Sally…
When you are first starting out in your new lifestyle change, take it easy. You don’t have to go all gung-ho. It doesn’t have to be a “all or nothing” kind of thing. That gets frustrating and then your motivation can fall off quicker than it arrived.
Since we live in an era of convenience and “get it quick” food choices, we no longer have to grow our own food or raise our own farm to get our meals. If we want bread, we just go to the store to get it instead of growing the wheat, harvesting it, and them making the bread ourselves. Instead of going out and milking our own cow, the grocery store is right around the corner. Instead of having chickens on hand to gather their eggs, yep…you guessed it…grab some at the store.
The problem with this is that a majority of the food we now see in stores are heavily processed. They have added preservatives, sugars, fats, and other fillers that not only make them delicious, but quick and easy. Most processed foods don’t add a single bit of nutritional value to our bodies.
We also don’t know when to stop eating. We no longer listen to actual hunger cues. Remember when you were younger and your parents or even grandparents said “Don’t you get up from that table until you’ve finished ALL of your food”? That was probably the worst thing they have ever taught us to do. Ever. We no longer eat until we are full, we eat until it is gone.
If there is any advice I give you in this book that I want you to desperately listen to (and it’s a huge super-secret nutrition tip that actually burns fat) it’s this. Slow the f— down. You don’t have to eat your meals faster than a toupee in a hurricane. When you do this, your body doesn’t recognize those “I’m full” cues. Your belly doesn’t have time to tell your brain that it’s full and to stop eating. No, instead, we scarf down our food faster that when Garfield does when he sees lasagna. We are always in a hurry. Always on the go. Always trying to get someplace fast or finding the quickest solution to a problem. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness, but a majority of the time, we are finished eating in under 10 minutes.
They key and truth to knowing when you are actually full? Stop. Think. Listen, and SLOW down. Take the time to actually enjoy your food instead of washing it down without ever even tasting it. Savor the flavors. Notice how it feels on your tongue. What is the texture like? How does it make you feel?
I know it’s easier said than done, but if you think about doing these few things, it will help you to stop speeding through your meals like a coyote chasing a chicken.
-Use smaller dishes or plates to eat your food on/in.
-Put down your fork between bites.
-Eat with your non-dominant hand.
-Use chopsticks instead of a fork (this one works for me because I’m shit at using those things therefore it would probably take me an entire hour to eat my meal.)
-Eat somewhere with limited distractions.
-Eat at an actual table instead of in front of your computer or television.
There are so many other ways you could slow down your eating. It might be hard at first, but over time and with practice, it will eventually become a habit. It’s no secret that we overeat. But when we slow down and take time to enjoy our food and find the pleasure in a meal, we will end up eating less. Slowing down creates mindfulness. It creates awareness. It provides important information and gives those hormones that trigger being satisfied time to kick in.
You also don’t have to eat until you are completely stuffed. You know what I’m talking about. The “I need to unbutton my pants and let my belly hang out because I’m so miserable” kind of eating. The kind of eating where you are glad you are wearing yoga pants instead of a tight dress or jeans.
Not only does this send the wrong signals to our brains about feelings of fullness, it also makes us feel bloated and can lead to things like indigestion and heartburn.
When it comes to eating, I like to follow the Hara hachi bun me rule.
What the? Is that even English? Ha ha, no, it’s not.
It is a Confucian teaching that instructs people to eat until they are 80 percent full. It actually turns out that when you stop eating at 80 percent full, you are usually actually 100 percent full. This in turn will stop you from consuming extra calories and you will find that you really are full.
I also had one of my training clients tell me a neat trick to recognize when you are really full instead of just thinking you are or finishing all the food on your plate. I never really thought or even recognized that I did this when eating.
So what is it?
It’s the sigh.
When you are eating and you get full, you sigh. You know like take in a deep breath and then let it out slowly. That is your body’s way of telling you that you are full. It’s actually really neat and since I started noticing that I do in fact actually do I, I use it as a tool to help me realize that it’s okay to stop eating right then.
So…slow down Sally! Take your time! Enjoy your food instead of inhaling it. Be aware. Be mindful. Notice the sensations. Then…then you will hold the biggest solution to weight loss in the palm of your hand (literally lol.)