This is for those of you who would like to lose a few pounds, or are always fighting to stay trim. So, I guess that includes just about everybody, yes?
Here is a basic message, and a few reasons for it:
What do I mean? Eating more slowly can really help you. It is a basic SKILL that has many facets!
First off, I bet many of you have heard that it takes your brain about 20 minutes to notice that you have eaten enough to feel full. This is one of those things that many of us tend to either ignore or not take seriously. But the implications can be huge. It actually does take about 20 minutes for your stomach to empty so that what you are eating is passed on to the small intestine. That is where signaling lets your brain know that you don’t need to keep eating.
In fact, there are weight loss programs that suggest that you use a timer to get a reading on how long it is taking you to eat your meal. This can be very revealing. If you are about to reach for seconds at the 15-minute mark, you can take at least a 5-minute break and re-assess. Then ask yourself if you are really still hungry.
Taking it a step further, there are many weight loss programs that start with basic skill building (taking it slow) and MINDFULNESS. It goes like this: Are you aware enough of how you are eating to stop when you are only 80% full? If you are eating quickly, you are not going to be able to do that. That question leads to building a habit that is at the foundation of how you eat. Once you have that habit and skill, many other things can fall into place.
There’s a really interesting bit of research that came out recently. It’s called Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake. To cut to the chase, and in keeping with the G-O S-L-O-W message, one of the findings was this: People who were stuck in a hospital setting and given a diet of only processed food for two weeks gained an average of 2 pounds. One of the reasons was that they ATE FASTER than the other group. The other group was also stuck in the hospital and were given nothing but unprocessed foods. One of the reasons cited for the weight gain is that processed foods tend to be softer and are easier to chew, and so go down more quickly.
Just to give you something else to think about, one of the other things was that people in the processed food group tended to eat more calories in the form of snacks later on. (Meals were matched for calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates.) Could it be that processed foods just aren’t as satisfying as natural foods thereby causing people to eat more in attempt to feel satisfied? Could it be that our bodies and brains know when someone has pulled a fast one and processed food just isn’t as good for them? It’s difficult to do scientific research on that, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
And just so you know, the group eating unprocessed food LOST two pounds. THEN the two groups were switched. Those who had been eating processed food were now given unprocessed for two weeks, and the other group had to eat processed food. The same weight loss and gain happened. (But the way, both groups were given the same amount of exercise to do, so that was not a factor.)
So, what are the take-homes here?
Eating more slowly can help you get control of how much you are eating.
Paying attention to the process (i.e. being MINDFUL) is a genuine, commonly used basic skill used for weight control.
Here is yet another reason to keep away from processed foods. Better nutrition for sure, but also weight control.
Easy does it,
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