I know, I know, in this modern day and age of journalism and blogging, it is easy for sensationalist headlines to gain a lot of attention. We call them clickbaits. I mean, how tempting is it to click on something that says “How an 80 year old grandma learnt this one simple push-button trick that makes her $24,326 each month” only to find out that it is untrue. Here at Granite Fitness we don’t do that kind of thing. This article will discuss how eating slowly can potentially help you lose weight.
I’m going to get all philosophical for a moment. The role of eating in our lives is extremely vital. However, we often do not even pay any attention to it. We don’t even think about the process by which food actually gets digested and absorbed into our bodies. In fact, living in the western world, we often gulp down our food without a second thought. Instead of having meals, we simply wolf down whatever we should eat, and this can be a fatal mistake for those seeking to lose weight.
Believe it or not, some people have actually done research on this topic. A study from Japan found that both men and women who eat quickly are at greater risk of becoming obese. Physiologically, it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to compute the feeling of satiety. Therefore, by eating quickly, one’s appetite might not reflect the true needs of the body, resulting in a temptation to grab even more food to ingest.
In the world of health and fitness, we actually have a term for something similar to this. We call it “rapid, mindless eating”. And there are other risks as well such as acid reflux. The unfortunate thing is that if you are a fast eater, it is probably a habit developed from childhood, especially if you are from a western country. However there are certain things you can do to reverse this bad habit. We will cover some of them in this post.
One: Remember That It Is A Meal
Unless you are rushing to beat a deadline in the office, always make your meal an actual meal. That means spending 15-30 minutes eating slowly. In doing so, not are you reaching the 20 minute satiation mark, you are also enjoying the food more. If you are able to experience the food with more than just one sense, the entire experience will feel like you have had more than what you actually did.
Two: Kick It Down A Notch
This is actually an extension of the first point. When you eat quickly, you are actually also ingesting a lot of air. Voila, that is where the bloatedness comes from! However, if you slow down your pace by putting your cutlery down as you chew your food, you are less likely to inhale in too much air. There goes the bloating, or at least reduces it.
Three: Chew Your Food Well
When we are in a rush, we sometimes do not focus on chewing the food well. This actually slows down digestion as it takes time for the body to break up the particles in order to increase the surface area for absorption to occur. And no, this does not burn of excess calories.
Four: Savour The Taste
When you eat, do you properly taste your food? Most of us don’t. However, if we intentionally put in the mental effort of indulging in the taste of it, our appetite will get satiated more quickly. Office workers, in particular, are guilty of this. If the food is horrible tasting, then well, at least you will be aware of it and can take steps to correct it in future, right?
Five: Do Not Fail To Plan
While this point is not directly related to the speed at which you eat, it is just as important if you want the desired outcome. If you take your time to plan everything properly, you will find yourself eating healthy, wholesome foods. If you are in a rush, you might neglect the nutritional element of it and end up with junk food or vending machine items instead.
Six: Remove Distractions
The previous points seem geared towards lunches in the office. This one focuses on eating at home. Many people are used to watching TV while they eat. Research has shown that doing this negates some of the points above. In an ideal situation, turn off the TV while you eat. If you can’t do this (i.e. me, oops guilty as charged), then at least focus on the food and have the blaring TV as something in the background, and not the other way around.
Hopefully these six points can help you be more mindful about your eating. At the end of the day, do not just think of food as fuel – unless you are an athlete training for a particular sport. Once you get into the mindset that food is nourishment in addition to fuel, you will start eating healthier. I discuss this in the Strategic Nutrition Guide, which is also part of the Granite Fitness Masterclass. Check them out today.
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