What if I tell you that how you eat is as important as what you eat? What if changing the way you eat will help you get healthier or lose weight?
I wish I knew that during my many failed diets!
Eating healthy foods is very important for your health. Choosing fresh, organic, whole foods is ideal. But what if you are already doing this and you can’t see any results in your health or your waist line? That was me about a year ago. And I was so confused and frustrated. How was it possible to eat such healthy foods and still not lose weight? And I kept changing diets and getting more stressed and angry at myself.
It did not occur to me to look at the other side of the coin, which was how. And how you eat is important because it is related to digestion and assimilation of nutrients.
Why is How so important?
Do you eat in your car on your way to work? Or at the bus stop? Do you eat while walking? Do you hurry because you need to get somewhere? Do you eat in front of the TV and you can not remember when you finished your food? Do you check your email or Facebook during your meal? I won’t go on because I am sure you get the point.
All of the above are stressful situations. Your mind is busy and your body is busy. What happens during stress? Your body goes into the fight or flight mode: heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up, your respiratory rate increases, Andrenaline, Noradrenaline and Cortisol are produced and the blood is diverted from your digestive system. Your body is getting ready to be chased by a lion. It has no time to think and prepare for food because it will become food!
No wonder that your healthy, beautiful and the fresh quinoa salad that you are eating feels like a rock in your stomach!
Eating during stress causes digestive issues, decreases nutrients assimilation, increases unwanted fat storage and makes you gain weight.
Here are a few tips on HOW to eat in order to help your digestion
The benefit of eating slowly is that your body will realise when it is full.
It takes about twenty minutes for the brain to realise that you are full. Most people don’t have meals that last twenty minutes.
When you give your body a chance to recognise that it does not need any more food, you will definitely reduce your caloric intake. Therefore, you will eat smaller portions without even planning for it.
Besides, you will feel satisfied, not full.
As I said earlier, how you eat is important to your digestion. Eating slowly improves digestion.
Digestion starts in the mouth with saliva and continues down your digestive system through a chain of reactions. Your gut produces enzymes and acids that help digestion. Furthermore, your stomach and intestines move in order to move the food and mix it with all the digestive juices. This movement is called peristalsis.
When you eat slowly you give your gut time to get ready for digestion and absorption.
When you gulp big bites that you don’t chew properly, your stomach will not be happy and you’ll have that full feeling at the end of the meal.
One suggestion would be to try and make your meals last at least 20 minutes.
Use your senses and more to create a sensual experience.
You took time and energy in preparing your food. Enjoy the colours on your plate. Appreciate nature: all which grows from the ground and is fed by the sun and the rain.
Smell is such an important element of eating and digesting. Use it so savour all the flavours in your meal.
Be mindful of the textures of your food…the soft, the crunch. And not only your food but your cutlery as well.
Even if you are alone, pamper yourself. You deserve the best. Use nice plates and a beautiful tablecloth. Maybe put a few flowers in vase on the table, or maybe a candle. Have your phone away so no emails can disturb you.
When you eat a meal, you’re eating your environment as well (which is why eating while driving or on the run can feel so stressful).
Have you noticed how sometimes, we tend to just swallow pieces of food without even chewing properly?
Here are a few tips on how to chew:
- Take a bite of food
- Put your utensil down
- Chew slowly (you can practice counting to 20-30 chews)
- Pick up your utensils and take another bite
- Put your utensil down
- Chew slowly (you can practice counting 30 chews)
- Repeat until 80% full (aiming for energized, not full)
No matter how healthy the food is that you eat, if you eat while stressed there will be little benefit.
Give those tips a try and let me know about your results. For me…it definitely helped me with my waist line!