Why Eating Slow is Important For Your Health

When someone desires to lose weight, a common practice they follow is to count calories. Creating a calorie deficit makes perfect sense and on the surface seems easy. Statistics show that only 9% of people do it correctly. That is because it’s complicated. Yes, there are apps for your smartphone that contain databases of “estimated” calories in food. Devices that you wear will give an estimation of your caloric expenditure daily. How accurate are they though really? How consistent will you be doing this over the long term? Success comes by being consistent and the process being simple or easy. So instead of worrying about numbers, we encourage clients to eat slowly.

 

Why do we teach this for weight loss? Most of us inhale our food. We are rushing to get out of the house in the morning, rushing at lunch to get back to work and even eating in the car to get the kids to practice in the evening. By eating in a rush, we set ourselves up for digestive issues and worse, weight gain. Our bodies naturally sends out signals telling us when we need to eat but more importantly when we are have had enough. This “loop” takes roughly 20 minutes to complete its circuit. Our fast paced lifestyle has blunted this signaling terribly. This points to why we reach for seconds and distorts portion sizes. Over time, our waistline will begin to grow.

 

A habit we teach in our programming is to slow down when you eat. Clients report that this is difficult to do but very eye opening and effective. It is not complicated, doesn’t require tracking devices and can be done anywhere or at anytime. Here are some ideas to help you begin this habit.

 

  1. Figure out your starting point. It will be painful if you are taking 5 minutes on average to eat now to try to stretch it to 15 minutes. At your next meal, eat normally but take note of the time. If you take 7 minutes currently, work on taking 8 minutes at your next meal and build on that success.
  2. Lay your fork/spoon down between bites or drink water.
  3. If you finish in less than 15 minutes, sit and wait before taking a second helping. Most find they are satisfied or maybe couldn’t even finish their first plate.
  4. Check in with yourself while eating. Note your sense of hunger or satiety. Half way through, what’s your hunger level? Are you beginning to feel full?
  5. Be the last to start eating at the table and the last to finish. If you have someone in the family who is a slow eater by nature, then always sit next to them use them as a guide.

 

Eating slowly is important for weight loss and digestion. It is a practice from which we all can benefit. Eating slowly adds tremendous value to our lives. It slows us down, gives us time to relax, and helps us to build relationships with family and friends. Begin by putting your focus there instead of counting calories. Keep it basic and simple. Your happiness will improve along with your waistline.

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Treves Janszen

Treves Janszen

Nutrition Coach at Thrive Fitness
Treves is a Level 1 Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition. She has been involved with fitness & nutrition for almost 10 years. Along with being a Nutrition Coach, Treves has 30+ years of healthcare experience as a Registered Nurse. In her spare time, Treves like to read, cook and lay by the pool (when it's sunny, of course!).
Treves Janszen