Welcome to day 5!
Yesterday I introduced you to the Sleekgeek Portion Control Guide as a hassle-free way to customise your portion sizes to fit your individual needs.
Today, I want to introduce you to arguably one of the most important healthy habits you could ever do, and that’s eating slowly.
I know that may sound a little bit underwhelming at first, especially with all the bold promises and quick fixes out there on the Internet. But, give me a chance to explain and I’m sure you will come to agree with me…
First of all, you need to know that it takes about 20 minutes from the start of your meal for your brain to send out satiety signals and hormones that indicate you are full and no longer need to eat anymore.
If you eat too quickly then you may completely miss these hunger and satiety cues. You are very likely to finish your meal (having eaten too much) before you realise that you are full. In fact, you may even be tempted to go back for seconds or dessert and end up way overshooting your level of hunger so that you end up eating too much.
This holds true for both junk food and healthy foods. Yes, you can still maintain or gain unwanted weight from even the healthiest foods if you eat too much of them.
Eating slowly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to become more conscious of what you are eating.
It’s all about becoming more in-tune with your emotional and physical sensations, using that to help you gain better control over your eating habits.
In fact, I would argue that it’s even more important than WHAT you eat, WHEN you eat, WHERE you eat, or WHO you eat with!
Why? Because no matter what comes your way, you can always choose to eat slowly and mindfully.
Think of it as a safety net to fall back on.
At Sleekgeek we are big on healthy habits like eating lots of protein and vegetables. But, we also know that life gets messy and it isn’t always possible.
Rather than letting everything fall apart because you can’t eat the perfect meal, you can still choose to eat slowly and mindfully.
If you ever feel overwhelmed, fall off the wagon, or find things not going the way you want them to, don’t panic.
Slow down. Pause. Breathe. Relax… and go back to eating slowly.
This is your anchor.
Eating slowly almost inevitably leads to eating a more appropriate amount of food (meaning weight loss or easy weight maintenance), feeling more in control of your eating, and feeling more satisfied after eating.
The great thing is that it can be done anywhere, anytime, with any food, around anyone, in any situation. Yes, this even includes eating junk food!
Eating small amounts of junk food can definitely be a part of a long-term healthy diet, as long as moderation and restraint are still applied.
Just like with any other meal, because it is also entirely possible to overeat healthy and nutrient foods too.
As simple as “just eat slower” sounds, you will find that a lot easier said than done.
Knowing and doing are two very different things. It’s all about practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
So, if you are looking for some specific steps to take to help you slow down your eating and to eat more mindfully, here are some of my top tips:
1. Just try. Sure 15-20 minutes to eat a meal might be ideal, but it’s a huge jump for most people. So my advice is to just start where you are, and work your way up from there. See if you can add just 1-2 minutes on to your next meal, and then aim to get 1% better from there on out.
2. Set time aside to eat. In this day and age, many of us have some to associate “lunch break” to be “catch-up-on-emails-and-social-media break” or “dinner time” to be “tv time”. Well, my advice is to create real eating time where all you do is eat. No distractions, no rush. 10 Minutes of time to eat is not even 1% of your day. You CAN make the time.
3. Avoid distractions. Eating in front of the TV, your computer, or while on your phone is distracting. Furthermore, it may stimulate emotions such as mild anxiety, sadness and loneliness depending on the form of entertainment that could promote you to eat even more quickly and layer on some additional emotional eating problems.
4. Chew more thoroughly. Focus on chewing more thoroughly and eat more solid foods that actually need chewing. Less refined and whole foods like fibrous vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and protein generally contain a lot more fibre or substance to them that requires a bit more work before you can swallow.
5. Put the knife and fork down regularly. Try putting your utensils down in between bites and avoid cutting the next piece until after you have swallowed your current mouthful. Sit back, relax, breathe, sip something to drink, and look around or interact with those around you.
6. Be more social. While eating with others can be a form of “distraction”, it is no longer a one-sided distraction like the television or your cellphone, and generally speaking, interacting with others around the table will help you slow down and be more present. It is worth noting how quickly or slowly everyone else around you eats, as we tend to become more like those who we spend our time with.
So for today, all I want you to do is to identify one of the six strategies listed above to help yourself eat more slowly today and give it a try.
Then tomorrow or with your next meal, try a different strategy. Rinse and repeat to find what works for you. Being successful at something very rarely comes from finding the one “secret” or “trick” or “tip”. Instead, success tends to come from layering on strategy on top of strategy to cultivate and accumulate the kind of result that you want. Feel free to try some of your own strategies too.
See you tomorrow! Cheers.