Many of us eat to quickly. How many times have you come home famished after to work to down your dinner plate in less than 5 minutes? Or mindlessly eaten a whole bag of chips in front of the TV?
Regardless of whether you choose lower of higher quality foods, this type of behaviour will present challenges to your overall health, leanness and performance.
This why eating slowly is the most important habit we teach in helping clients get the body they want by coaching them on how to slow down and to listen to their hunger and appetite cues.
As you can see this habit does not focus on what people eat, but how they eat. For starters, it takes the body 20 minutes to realize it’s full. That being said if we eat to quickly, we’re likely to eat far too much in that time period before our brain says “I’m content”, you can stop eating now”.
An excellent goal is to strive for 15-20 minutes per meal. This can be an ambitious task for most, so start by focusing on slowing down just a little by adding one or two minutes and eating without distractions. By focusing on eating slowly, it gives our body time to provide important information to the GI tract, gives our satiety hormones time to kick in and helps helps with digestion.
Here are 6 tips to help you eat slowly:
- Put your fork down between bites.
- Relax. Breathe. Take a few extra moments before you pick the fork up again.
- Set a timer if needed — start with 10-15 minutes per meal as a basic goal. Work up to 20 or even 30.
- Chew a few more times than you think you need to.
- Enjoy and savour each bite. If you’re eating something delicious, take pleasure in it. Notice smells, flavours, and textures.
- Eat mindfully without distractions such as TV, smartphones, or the computer.
Besides for helping clients at True Conditioning eat less by slowing down, the next step is to teach them how to gauge their fullness by eating until 80% full.
This can be described as “eating until no longer hungry” instead of “eating until” full, which may be a new territory for most people.
When it comes to fat loss, this technique will help you eat less in order to lose fat without having to rely on external measures such as calorie counting, “points,” or eating strict portions, which will help lose and keep weight off for life.
So the next time you sit down for a meal, tune in and listen to your hunger and appetite cues, and stop at the right time before having to loosen your belt.
Written by Sophie Manfredi
Reference: Precision Nutrition, The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition