There’s no denying that fad diets, crash cleanses, and juice flushes work. The problem with any and all of those options is that they’re not sustainable. So you may spend three days drinking nasty goo or munching on cardboard to watch the scale numbers change. Guess what, they will change because you’re dropping water. Then it’s back to the same old habits until swimsuit season is upon us or we have some occasion to look our best. So I’m not advocating for diets. I’m not even wanting to address weight loss. All I want to talk about today is the fundamental basis for a healthy, nutritious lifestyle: eating slowly.
This sounds like the most simple and basic concept ever. It’s almost so mundane you’re tempted to stop reading right now (power through, it’s getting good). My trainer challenged me with this task a few months ago. And I’ve been surprised at how difficult it is to follow.
Until having Colton, I rarely sat down to eat. When I worked in a corporate office I always walked during my lunch breaks. Even now, for dinner, E doesn’t get home in time for us to savor a meal together. So taking what I considered ‘leisurely time’ was never in the cards. But now that our baby is on solid foods I prioritize meal time. That’s been my first mountain to climb in terms of eating slowly.
The second half of instilling this habit is something called the ’80/20 rule.’ Simply put, it’s recognizing the point at which you’re 80% full. And, no, there’s not really a perfect way to discover that internal percentage. So this isn’t about being dramatically rigid. Instead, this habit forces us to learn our own hunger cues. When we eat slowly we’re more apt to read our bodies. We can sense the fullness of our bellies before that ‘oh-no-I-won’t-fit-into-my-skinny-jeans-tomorrow’ feeling.
If you’re needing to lose weight for health reasons, the 80/20 rule can be a guideline for when to stop eating (disclaimer: talk to a health professional before undertaking dietary changes). Otherwise, it remains a great opportunity to get attuned to the signals of our digestive system. Sure, eat to 100% fullness. But first recognize the 80% mark. That will help to keep overindulgences at bay.
Try these simple adjustments:
- make your mealtime last at least 15 minutes
- put down your fork (spoon, Power Bar, whatever) in between bites
- pause to drink
- notice the 80/20 fullness point
Have you learned or developed any other tricks for eating slowly?