Do you frequently overeat to the point of feeling sick?
Would you like to know how to stop overeating?
Well one reason that you might be overeating, is that you’re eating too fast.
I know, I know, you’ve probably heard it a million times to slow down while eating, but do you really know how much of a difference it could make to how much you actually eat?
WE DON’T FEEL FULL
One of the biggest problems is that by eating too fast, your brain doesn’t have time to register the food you’ve just eaten, even though your stomach may be full. It is generally recommended to think of 20 minutes as a guideline time to wait before you’ve registered what you’ve just eaten.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been so hungry that I thought I could eat a horse, and so in my hunger, I’ve eaten so quickly, desperate to fill myself up, and then realised that I didn’t need that much. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, as the saying goes.
Can you relate to that?
I also understand that eating slowly when you feel murderously hungry might not be possible because the hunger is too much, but still remember that your body needs time to catch up, and that you can easily feel hungry when you are actually very full, so try and give it 20 minutes after you’ve eaten what seems to you like a good amount, and then assess how hungry you are from there.
WE LOSE THE PLEASURE FACTOR
Pleasure is a word that has been knocked out of our vocabulary when it comes to eating as though the more we enjoy it, the more life threatening the food is, but research shows it is actually the opposite, and that pleasure is a great metaboliser of food, and that truly enjoying what you eat helps you to digest it better and enjoy more of its benefits.
I mean think about it. If you are not absorbing enough nutrients from a meal because you are eating it too quickly, then your body may well feel physically full, and yet be telling you that you are nutritionally deprived, and so you will still feel like eating even though you’re stuffed.
When we eat quickly, we are not able to taste our food properly and so pleasure is far from our mind. It might surprise you to know that many people eat food that they don’t really like, but don’t even know they dislike it.
HOW COULD THAT BE?
Well because they eat it so quickly, that they never allow themselves to truly taste the food.
Imagine potentially, how many foods that you eat, that if you actually slowed down, and tasted them, you’d not be such a big fan, or on the other hand, you’d really learn how to savour the taste if you like it.
WE BECOME STRESSED AND ANXIOUS
If we are eating quickly, then more than likely we are in a stressed state. This activates the sympathetic nervous system which is perfect for fleeing from predators, but as we’re no longer being chased by sabre tooth tigers, this stress response is being unnecessarily activated multiple times throughout the day. An example of this stress is a lack of complete breathing, and incomplete breaths can cause severe tension through the body and keep us in this state of stress which can lower our immune systems and leave us vulnerable to illnesses and diseases.
It might just seem like a ‘quick’ bite to eat, but if we rush our food, we are unlikely to allow our bodies to slow down afterwards, and so we are setting the pace for more stress in our day.
When we move through our lives so fast, slowing down to eat can seem like an interruption to our hectic schedules. In fact, some people’s lives are so hectic that eating slowly really is an inconvenience. We all carry different workloads, and pressures, and the information here isn’t to add more angst to your eating habits if you really don’t see a way to slow down at all.
If you need to eat quickly, and truly can’t see even one window to just take a relaxed meal at a slower pace, then that might just be where you find your life at the moment. Be kind, and patient with yourself. Opportunities will come in the future to practice, but for now you’re doing a great job, and there are many other things you can do to help your overeating that I will go into in more detail in other videos.
If however, you can find the time; even if it’s just one meal a day, or even a snack, that you can relax your pace for, then take that opportunity to practice.
THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
I always say to my clients that the benefits of slowing down to eat could be as long as my arm (which is pretty long) but you won’t give a damn unless you can experience them yourself. It doesn’t matter how many times you hear me, or anyone, touting the wonderful benefits. When you do it, you become the authority, and you can decide if its all its cracked up to be. That’s what makes it so addictive because even if life gets too hectic again, and you go back to eating too quickly, you’ll always remember how much better it felt when you slowed down, and you yourself can be your own biggest motivation to get back into it.
So, give it a go, and slow down your pace while eating.
HOW LONG SHOULD A MEAL TAKE TO EAT?
Try adding an extra 5/10/15/20 minutes to your meal. Sit down. Maybe accompany your meals with some music, or make it social by having a long meal with friends or family. Mindfulness techniques like taking intentional, calming breaths before starting, and even during the meal, can help to keep a comfortable pace, and even focusing on the flavours, textures, and overall taste of the food, can help you to concentrate more on the experience and so slow you down naturally. Also deciding how full you want to feel at then end of the meal is an incredible tool that I personally love using.
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