If you’re trying to lose some fat, and you know you ought to be eating less, but you just can’t help scarfing down your food as soon as the plate touches down on the table, then this blog post is for you!
When you’re about to have a meal it also doesn’t help that you’ve been thinking about eating for the last 15 minutes and because of that your mouth has already started to salivate and your stomach starts rumbling.
When the food arrives, (hopefully) it smells great and is still steaming hot!
But five minutes have passed and you’re done. (Sounds like something else that you do? jk)
Eating your food so quickly actually makes it hard for you to eat less, because it actually feels like you haven’t even eaten yet! YOU’RE STILL HUNGRY!
And that’s because you haven’t… well, at least your brain doesn’t think so.
The reason why you still feel like you haven’t eaten anything yet is because the body takes about 20 minutes to process the food that first enters your mouth.
There are 2 main ways that your brain knows you’ve eaten and can stop sending the hunger signal to feed.
- Gastric distension
- Hormonal satiation
Gastric distension is the stretching of your stomach to accommodate the food that has just entered. Your stomach has nerves that sends signals back to the brain that it has just expanded. This helps to inform the brain that you’re eating and can turn off the hunger signal.
The other factor that helps your brain to know that you’ve had some food is through hormones. When you have food in your system, your organs secrete hormones some of which travel back up the brain to tell it to stop eating.
Both these processes take about 20 minutes to reach the brain. This is why when you eat fast, you can over-eat the amount of food you actually need for sustenance.
This habit of over-eating over time not only makes you fat, but also makes it the norm for your body and mind. You start to assume that the sensation of over-eating, having a completely stuffed stomach and feeling lethargic is actually good – but in fact, you’ve done yourself a disservice.
This is why you may have heard people say you should only eat until 70% full.
It allows for the 20 minutes to run its course and when it does, you will still feel 100% full. It’s just you’ve give your body time to realize it.
There have been studies where they tested the speed of which people at their food and recorded their average amount of food consumed:
- Fast eaters ate 3.1 ounces of food per minute
- Medium eaters ate 2.5 ounces of food per minute; and
- Slow eaters ate only 2 ounces of food per minute.
SO SLOW DOWN!
The best way I’ve found to slow down my eating is to SAVOR my food.
I love to eat. I really enjoy eating food. I love the different tastes, textures and temperatures of food.
For me, I try to savor all the foods I eat – from the cheap snacks to the expensive occasional dinners.
Anything that I eat, I try to enjoy it to the fullest.
When you do that, you chew more. You use your senses more to appreciate the food that you’re eating. You don’t take it for granted. You become more of a mindful eater.
I love eating potato chips – they are my Achilles heel. But I do savor every potato chip that goes into my mouth. It makes eating chips all the more pleasurable and it slows me down. I won’t inhale an entire bag in 5 minutes like I used to do back in school!
Another tip you can employ to slowing down your eating is putting down your fork or utensil after every bite. The simple act of picking up and putting down your utensil slows you down as well.
This technique works well in tandem with savoring your food too!
So the next time you go for a meal, try these tips and remember to give your brain a chance to get full before you over-eat!