How can slowing down when you eat help you to lose weight?

Did you know that just by slowing down your meal you can shed some extra pounds? It’s true and I am going to give you some reasons why.

We live in a fast paced, over-achieving, sleep deprived world. It seems as if our days are filled with families, jobs, errands, hobbies, commuting, sports, and everything else our busy lives demand. Many people feel that eating is one more thing on their “To Do” list.

We know that all this running around and chronic stress, wrecks havoc on our metabolisms. Apparently, if you are outrunning a bear, you don’t digest your food so well while you are running for your life. It seems your whole body is focused on getting you away from said bear, this does not include digesting the burger and fries you had for lunch.

I know, we don’t actually outrun bears in our daily life, but the thing is, our body treats outrunning a bear the same as chronic stress. In other words, if you are always stressed, than your body is in a “fight or flight” mode. This means your metabolism has slowed down, not a good thing if you want to lose weight.

By slowing down and BREATHING, (you remember how to do that – right?), we can relax our body which will do 3 things to help us lose weight.

  • It will allow extra time for your brain to catch up with your stomach. There is a 20 minute delay between your stomach being full and your brain getting the message. By slowing down, you will most likely eat less because your brain will have time to notice your full belly. Once your brain catches on, it will send powerful signals to cause you to stop eating. If you can tune into these “full” signals, you will naturally eat the right amount at any one time (no carbohydrate or point counting necessary). Most of us “overeat” because we have eaten too fast. Chronic overeating causes weight gain.
  • It will allow you to appreciate your meal. It’s easy to feel detached from our food these days. Long gone are the days where we had to catch, kill, clean and cook our meat. Most of us have never even seen the inside of a meat packing plant. Much of what is sold in grocery stores have long ingredients lists with words we can’t pronounce. Even our produce is often grown thousands of miles away or on another continent. But, by slowing down we can give ourselves a moment to offer gratitude to the animal that gave its life, or for the farmer who planted, tended and picked the fruit. By appreciating our food and how it got to our table we can gain more satisfaction from the eating experience. If we are more satisfied, we will eat less. Hint: This is why the French don’t struggle with their weight like we Americans do.
  • It will allow us to tune in and savor not just the taste of our food, but the aroma and the presentation. An interesting experiment is to eat a fast food chain meal, and take a full 30 minutes to finish. I guarantee it will be a whole new experience for you. You may decide you can’t stand fast food at all! It’s tough to savor an extra value meal. Eating should be more than just putting food into our mouths! I know! Who knew? By slowing down, and breathing mindfully between bites, we provide our bodies with plenty of oxygen to help the digestion process.

Breathing is very important, not just while you are eating but, throughout the day. Right now, close your eyes and take a deep breath in and then breathe out while dropping and relaxing your shoulders. Don’t you feel better now? Try to do this “mini-meditation” several times throughout your day, and see how you feel.

If you decide to try the slow eating, fast food experiment, please post what the experience was like for you!

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Hi! I'm Heather: a body positivity, Health at Every Size dietitian. When I'm not blogging about wellness, I'm spending time with my fabulous family. Sometimes, they wear me out, so then it's time to bake, read, knit, tie myself into a yoga pose, or continue to work my first novel... stay tuned.