When it comes to fitness and weight loss, it’s true that there’s no magic pill, easy fix or effortless way to get the body you want.
But here’s the good news — I’m happy to tell you that there IS one simple change you can make in your daily life that is almost guaranteed to help you drop pounds.
Here it is:
Eat slowly and mindfully.
Yep, that’s it.
I know it sounds too easy. Too good to be true. But it’s not! You will see results.
Eating slowly is one of the two super habits we focus on in 90 Days of YOU! because it’s likely the single most powerful habit for driving major transformation.
In fact, eating slowly and mindfully can actually be more important than WHAT you eat, WHEN you eat, and getting anything else “perfect.”
So why does it work? There are 5 main reasons:
- You eat less without feeling deprived.
As a mom, eating a meal often means taking quick bites in between demands from your kids and just inhaling whatever is left on your toddler’s plate. When you sit down, slow down and really savor your meal, you tend to feel satisfied with less.
In a study done by University of Rhode Island researchers, the same lunch was served to 30 women on two different days. The first day, they were told to eat as fast they can. The second day, they were told to eat slowly and put their utensils down between every bite.
When eating quickly, the women consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes.
When eating slowly, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes.
These effects, spread across every meal and snack, could add up to hundreds of calories saved each day!
I’ve witnessed it for myself on just how well this super habit actually works:
A client of mine, I’ll call her Rebecca, never even realized HOW she ate. She wasn’t mindful about when or where she ate. She just ate … when it was convenient, and always in a rush. After teaching her this super habit inside of the 90 Days of YOU! program, she embraced the new habit and practiced eating slowly at every meal. In addition to losing 11 pounds in 90 days, she realized she was more present at the dinner table with her family. She liked eating slowly and tasting her food rather than rushing through her dinner so she could clean up and move on with the night time routine.
Rebecca had noticed that her younger daughter was imitating her. “I had been known to often eat while standing because I’m so busy. And I noticed, at one point, I my daughter was in the habit of doing that, too. Now I make a conscious effort to have her sit at the table alongside me when we’re eating so that she doesn’t develop the same bad habits that I’ve had.”
This is a great example of how we lead our family by example— whether an ideal example or not.
2. You look and feel better
Bloating, cramping and stomach pains can all be caused from eating too quickly because your stomach has a hard time dealing with the larger chunks of food that result from bigger bites.
And there’s nothing like digestive issues to make you feel “blah” all day.
Being bloated, burpy and sluggish can affect your overall mindset, making you feel out of shape and discouraged. On the flip side, eating slowly and digesting food properly can make you feel leaner.
3. You learn what “hungry” and “full” feel like
So many times, we eat because it’s a certain time of day or because there’s still food on our plate— whether we’re hungry or not.
Slow eating improves your appetite awareness. You begin to recognize your body’s signals because you have time to notice that you might actually be full when you’re not on auto-pilot and shoveling everything in (then feeling stuffed later).
In the end, you retrain yourself to only eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
4. You disrupt patterns that derail your progress.
When you find yourself binge-eating, SLOW DOWN as soon as you realize what’s happening.
Even if you can’t curb the urge to eat right away, even just a breath between bites can help.
The slower eating will help you become more aware of why you’re binging, you’ll likely eat less and stop sooner, and you’ll feel less panicked and be able to soothe yourself more effectively.
5. You gain a tool that you can use anytime, anywhere.
This simple tool has been a game changer for mamas inside of 90 Days of YOU! program. We all have the ability to control the speed of our eating. No matter where you are, or what you’re eating, you can always slow down.
Eating slowly sounds simple enough (and it is), but like many of my mamas–myself included, you might have to work on making it a consistent habit.
Here are a few strategies to keep in your back pocket:
- Breathe between bites. It’s amazing how one breath between each bite will really slow you down.
- Add one minute each meal. Leisurely meals are not always possible for busy moms. Ok, they are hardly ever possible. So here’s what you do – keep your eye on the clock when you eat. Stretch the meal out for as long as you can. Then add a minute to your next meal. Keep doing this and you’ll gradually build up the length of your meals. This is a good tip to experiment when you eat alone, or at office desk.
- Put down the remote. Do not watch TV while you eat. Or look at your phone. Or drive. Or do anything except sit, relax, and enjoy your meal. If you’re eating with your kids, this is a great opportunity to set a good example for them and enjoy some family time. (With little ones, this is easier said than done, I know! But try your best. No one is perfect.)
- Eat chewy foods. Minimally processed lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes require more effort to eat. The more you chew, the slower you eat.
- Do something between each bite. Breathing is very effective, but you can also try setting down your utensils, sipping water, or starting a conversation.
- Savor your food. Hopefully you’re eating something delicious. But either way, think about the taste, smell, and texture of your food.
- Figure out what makes you eat fast. Think about what, when, where and who you eat with— and how all of this affects the speed of your meal. Then try to make changes accordingly.
- Refine your practice. Notice how fast the people around you are eating and match the pace of the slowest person. If you find yourself rushing, put down your utensils and reset.
Don’t freak out if eating slowly is hard at first, it may take months to master. Every meal is a chance to practice. Remember mama, you don’t have to be perfect.
We go deep into the full strategy of this habit— and many others, inside AMC’s 90 Days of YOU! program … and super excited to share this brand new reformatted program is rolling out in January!
This is just one way you can really make an impact on the way you eat and your waistline. As a certified Precision Nutrition coach, I’m excited to share all my nutrition wisdom with you—in fact, much of this blog post is based on knowledge and information from the Precision Nutrition program.
So give it a try.
Make every attempt to eat slowly for the next 7 days.
What do you notice?