A lot of focus is put on what you eat while you are dieting. But how you eat is just as important and can help you lose weight. What does that mean exactly?
Let’s start with the biology of that statement. When you sit down to a meal and start to eat, it will be twenty minutes before your brain receives the signal that you have eaten enough to be full. So if you eat quickly and eat a lot, chances are twenty minutes after the start of your meal, you will be getting the feeling that you ate too much – you went beyond what your body needed to feel satiated.
A lot of times this happens when we eat in the car or standing in front of the TV. In other words, not sitting down in a relaxed manner, getting ready to enjoy a meal. So the first step in slowing down your eating to lose weight is to sit down and take a moment to relax. Even in the car, you can consciously slow your pace of eating to bring yourself more awareness of your meal. Once you’ve become aware of your pace, be mindful of it for the next twenty minutes and give your brain a chance to register the food.
Chewing slowly can also help you lose weight. How? Digestion actually begins in your mouth, not in your stomach. Certain enzymes in your saliva start breaking down simple carbohydrates while your teeth work to grind and tear apart more complex food molecules. This part of digestion is incredibly important to weight loss because the more thoroughly we chew our food, the more nutrients we extract, the more efficient our bodies run and the less cravings we have. Since it takes time to chew, you will most likely hit that 20 minute mark naturally and at the point of true fullness. Recent studies show that volunteers who chewed each mouthful forty times ended up eating twelve percent less food. That’s enough to put a downward dent in the scale. And it all begins in your mouth!
Getting into the habit of eating slowing and chewing more thoroughly can be a little challenging at first. If you have trouble remembering to do so, try this little trick: put your fork down in between each bite. Consciously stopping the momentum of feeding yourself can be key to setting this practice into a consistent daily routine.