I'll admit, I have fallen guilty to this many times in my life. And I get it--we're busy! Having a job, taking college classes, trying to run errands, taking care of your kids, no matter what it is--life can get hectic. And it's your mealtimes that suffer. Food doesn't deserve being pushed to the side like that. Food deserves to be enjoyed more often, to be savored. We should try to put aside more time in our days for our meals. Whenever you have the chance, I'm asking you, PLEASE give your mealtimes a little more respect.
Now here's all I want you to do....Put the fork or spoon down after the first bite. It might be challenging, you might want to shovel more food immediately into your mouth because that first bite was so tasty! Or perhaps your'e really hungry. But don't do it. Put the utensil down. Chew the food completely. And continue to do this between each bite.
The experiment involves becoming aware of the reflexive urge to shove food into your mouth like Garfield on a lasagna bender. You have to resist the urge. Chew the food slowly and savor it. Tune into the flavor, the texture, the bright colors of the food, the smells....pay attention to the details. And don't try this experiment while watching television or working at your computer, I want you to focus on the food! Be thankful for it.
And guess what? There are lots of health benefits to mindul eating too!
- Weight Management: If you're trying to watch your weight or lose a few pounds, weight management becomes easier if we learn how to put down our forks before we feel stuffed. You can more easily recognize the cues from your body when you are full and satisfied.
- More Energy: Have you ever really felt "energized" after stuffing yourself to the point of being too full? Or do you think you'd feel more energized after eating to the point until you're about 80% full? Digestion takes up a lot of energy from our bodies. When you can start listening to our cues and eating only to the point of being about 80% full, you won't be wasting as much of your precious energy on digestion.
- Better Management of Emotions: Sometimes people restrict or overeat to deal with negative feelings and emotions. When you can practice mindful eating in a healthy manner and reflect and enjoy the food you're eating, you may no longer manage your emotions through your food choices.
- Absorb more Nutrients and Energy from Food: Chewing your food into small particles allows them to be more easily broken down by your digestive system. This, in turn, allows more nutrients and energy to be taken into your body.
- It's Good for your Teeth: The more you chew and hold food in your mouth cavity, the more saliva is produced to clean your teeth of bacteria and plaque build up.
- Prevents Heartburn: If you're taking in food so quickly that you're taking in air as well, this can contribute to heartburn. Chewing also promotes saliva production which can help neutralize the stomach acid.