Do you inhale, shovel or gulp your food or drinks down so fast you have no idea where they went?
We have all been there – you are so busy running between errands, kids' activities, work meetings and 1001 competing priorities that you grab some food on the go and wolf it down. You reach for another french fry, the other half of the sandwich or another chug of your juice (or pop) and it’s empty. You barely remember the first couple bites and now it’s all gone. Or maybe worse yet, you don’t even remember eating, you are on auto-pilot and it doesn’t register at all.
Today I want to share with you the simplest and quite possibly the most effective nutritional habit that you can implement in your life, which can have a massive impact – slow down. Seriously, that’s it. Whatever speed you currently eat at, slow it down.
By doing this one habit consistently over the past 6 weeks I was able to lose 4.6lbs. This was at a time when I indulged in many of my mother in-law’s to die for Nanaimo Bars, had drinks with friends and delicious meals with friends & family. I didn’t increase my physical activity (however I did do something active most days even if it was just a walk or playing around in the snow!)
That might not be a flashy 20lbs down in a month, but it is slow, sustainable weight loss. The good kind, the kind that you can maintain in the long term because you didn’t have to drastically change your life to achieve it.
The ONLY thing I changed was slowing down my eating pace (and linked to that, I stopped eating when I was full).
There are several good reasons why this simple habit will have a huge impact on your health:
- Your stomach needs time to process the food that it is getting and send signals to your brain when it’s full. When you eat in 10 minutes flat (or less!) these signals don’t have a chance, and your chance of overeating is about 97%.
- You can actually enjoy the food you paid for. What if you took a few extra moments and savored the food you are eating.
- It’s safer…seriously. Slow down and chew your food fully before swallowing. First aid responders and concerned family members will thank you.
Need some strategies to help you slow down? Try some of these:
- Put your fork down between bites.
- Don’t eat while on your phone or in front of the TV.
- Try to not eat in your car (multi-tasking is dangerous to others on the road with you and you are more inclined to eat quickly and not focus on the food).
- With each bite stop to think about the food you are eating, the flavours, spices, herbs used, how the different textures feel.
- Time yourself. Ok sounds a bit silly, but if you don’t know how can you improve right? See how long it typically takes you eat dinner and then see if you can make it take 5 minutes longer the next day. This isn’t a long term technique, just something to give you a tangible baseline for where you are at and how you can improve.
If you have tried everything under the sun to lose weight and it hasn’t worked, why not try the opposite of what you have been doing? Try doing this one small habit, consistently (consistency is key!)
If you struggle with the consistency or accountability part, let me know, I love assisting with that stuff.
Marisa is BCRPA personal trainer and a fun-fitness-fanatic living the active dream in beautiful Vancouver, BC. She hikes, swims, runs, bikes, bootcamps & yoga's as much as possible, outdoors when possible, and believes everything is possible. Find her on the web at www.motivatedmovementpt.com and on Facebook and Instagram.