(hint) It’s probably not what you think!
Always need an ‘after dinner’ snack.
Feel tired or sluggish after eating.
Finish eating and you’re all right, but 20 minutes later you get that stuffed, over full feeling.
Struggle to go to the bathroom consistently (constipation).
Get stomach aches, are often bloated or gassy.
Experience heartburn or frequent indigestion.
Often crave more food, even after eating a full meal.
You might think you need a different diet, you aren’t eating the right foods.
While changing up your diet can definitely help, if you aren’t thinking at all about HOW you eat, only about WHAT you eat.. You might still experience these problems.
So whats the solution?
You need to slow down.
Diets are so focused on what and how much you should be eating… but the fact is that changing HOW you eat can completely change your body, mind and health. SO WHY AREN’T PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS???
Well.. eating slowly isn’t the sexy magical diet solution that everyone wants.
Here’s a bit of my philosophy of nutrition- I believe you should be able to eat in a way that is both pleasurable AND supportive of your physique and training goals. You don’t need to be hungry all the time, you don’t need to find ways to ‘trick’ yourself into eating less calories, you don’t need to be bloated all the time, and you don’t need to spend all week planning your ‘cheat’ meal. You can have the body you want while eating food you like.
If right now you’re like ‘well G, I like pizza and ice cream, so can’t i just eat that all the time?’ No. You can’t. But also, YOU DON’T REALLY WANT TO. You just think you do. (this is another conversation, for another time).
So yes, you do need to eat vegetables, and you do need to pay attention to what is on your plate.
But if you slow down, pay attention to how you FEEL, and start putting a little effort into making healthy food taste good… you might find that the answer is right in front of you.
Sounds simple, right? Just slow down while eating, and all your problems are solved. Remember- simple does not mean easy. If you’ve been gulping down your food, eating while distracted, or swallowing whole bites almost without chewing them for your whole life- it takes work! The way you eat is something that has been ingrained in you since childhood- it is an existing habit that you have that takes effort to break and reset.
I promise you, the effort is worth it. When you slow down, savor your food, chew it well, and eat without distractions…
You stop suffering from indigestion or heartburn.
You bloat less, and have less gas.
You stop overeating.
You feel more satisfied with your meals.
You stop mindless snacking.
You start having more constant energy levels.
You tune yourself in to how your body reacts to certain foods.
There are SO many benefits to slowing down your eating speed, but it can be tougher than it sounds. We are constantly rushing from one thing to another, feeling stress, pressure and distraction from all sides.
However, with just a few adjustments to your eating style, you’ll feel a huge benefit.
Pause before you start.
If you love food, you get excited about eating- and you might start off your meal without registering whats in front of you. Before taking a bite, take a moment to look at what you have on your plate. Smell it. Recognize your hunger, and realize that it IS NOT an emergency- eating faster won’t help.
Put your fork down.
When you have food in your mouth, make sure there is nothing in your hands. No phone. No TV remote. No computer keyboard. Nothing. You might notice that your tendency is to shovel food in your mouth before you have finished your previous bite. Swallow one bite before taking another.
Chew your food.
At least 20 times. So many of us just chew a couple times and swallow right away. You want to make sure your food is no longer distinguishable- tacos should not still look like tacos when they reach your stomach.
Stop multitasking during your meals.
It might SEEM like working on your computer during lunch is a good idea- you’ll get so much more done, right? Nope. Productivity studies show that multitasking is not beneficial to getting more done. Put your computer aside, stop scrolling on instagram, and save the Netflix show for after you finish.
Set a timer.
Take note of how long it generally takes you to finish a meal- if you note that you finish your breakfast in 8 minutes, set a timer for 12-15 minutes and force yourself to draw out your meal for that long. Taking more time to eat a meal helps your body recognize your fullness signals- it takes almost 20 minutes for your brain and your stomach to communicate!
My recommendation is to start with ONE meal a day to focus on, and build from there.
It might be uncomfortable at first. You might forget until halfway through your meal. That’s ok. Be stubborn, and be patient. A habit only works if you can do it consistently- start small, gain confidence, and build from there.