Have you been doing all the things you think you should be doing to lose weight but the pounds won’t budge? You may be eating nutritious foods, watching your calories and exercising but there is one additional factor involved that you might not have considered.
What you eat, how much you eat, and even when you eat all play a part in your digestion and metabolism– but what about how you eat? How you eat matters too. If you are stuck in a pattern of eating on the run or in a stressed out state, you might want to read The Slow Down Diet by Marc David.
The main message in this book is…. eat when you eat. It sounds a lot easier than it is. Most of us are used to multitasking these days. What if you didn’t watch television, read, or otherwise distract your brain while you were eating? Being present when you eat is a skill worth practicing. The less awareness you have when you are eating, the more you will need to eat– and theoretically the more weight you will gain. The author explains that the real issue with people who overeat is not so much a lack of willpower as a lack of awareness. Another point of the book that I liked was the focus on quality foods. Unfortunately, often the most readily available and cheapest things to eat happen to be very poor quality foods like refined grains and sugars and processed meats and cheeses. When your body is fed low quality foods it doesn’t get the nutrients it needs and so it asks for more food. Invest in feeding your body properly. Take more time with your meals; don’t eat in a rush or when you not calm. Take a few moments to take some deep breaths and relax. Breathe– getting oxygen into your body when you eat means improved digestion and a better metabolism. Just think of what a fire needs to burn. Fuel and oxygen. That’s essentially what your body is doing with food, burning it as fuel for energy. The fuel is the easy part… but without enough oxygen you get a slower burning fire.
Eating is meant to be a pleasure. Enjoy your food and allow yourself to feel nourished. Don’t talk negatively to yourself of feel guilty when you overeat. This causes psychological stress which raises cortisol levels and can cause weight gain. We are so bombarded with media stimulation, computers, phones, and other electronic gadgets that it may take practice to separate yourself from all of that and just sit with your food. It may even feel uncomfortable at first. Start small and slow. Make it just one meal or snack that you try to eat with no distractions. Observe how you feel after eating. Do you feel more satisfied than if you were checking your email while eating and not really having it register that you just ate? Is your digestion better?
Summer is winding down. A fresh crisp season is beginning– let’s use this time of year to embrace slower and more focused eating habits. I know this is something I have to work on. I definitely notice a difference in how I feel when I am relaxed and enjoying my lunch sitting outside on the deck stairs compared to when I am wolfing down who knows what in front of the computer completely oblivious to the experience of eating. We all owe it to ourselves to slow down and enjoy our food mindfully. Let’s take on the challenge of getting away from bad habits and creating healthy new ones. Do it this weekend. Start now! And don’t forget to breathe.
“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” ~T.H. Thompson and John Watson