A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Small steps lead to big gains (or losses) in weight over a period of time.
As Americans we gradually gain weight as a country and pay the price for the luxuries we enjoy. We find ourselves in a position where material wealth and professional recognition matter more than the simple pleasures of life. Food is one of them.
We like food that tastes good and is easy to prepare. In the supermarket, we go the distance by reading nutrition labels, but generally gravitate towards the foods we love the most. Acquired tastes are hard to overcome. This article is not about giving up your favorite foods, but looking at the art of eating in a different way. This will help unlock your weight loss potential, and open up a whole new world of food enjoyment.
OUR APPROACH TOWARDS FOOD.
Small changes have big payoffs, especially with eating. Let’s take a humble lesson from the French. They have a simple strategy Enjoy your food rather than gulping it down. Chew it slowly and savor every bite. Pause between beats and concentrate on the taste, texture, flavor and consistency of food. Being undistracted (not reading the newspaper, talking on the phone, watching TV) and swallowing slowly promotes digestion and contributes to a feeling of fullness. This is the art of food enjoyment.
FOOD AND STRESS.
When in stress, the most common coping mechanism is food. Sounds familiar?
Boredom, fear, anxiety and excitement are all triggers for food. Other causes like eating on the run, availability of fast-food makes it easier to cheat. Isn’t it surprising how easy it is to grab a burger and soda (not real’ food) and eat it on the run? Would it be as hard to buy steamed vegetables, grilled meat and a glass of sparkling water?
PACE DOES MATTER.
Eating slowly has unique benefits. The presence of taste buds on the tongue means that it is important to eat small bites. This allows the brain to recognize the taste of the food and relish it. The slower you eat, the more you enjoy your food. As a bonus, you consume less food due to increased satiety.
Ask yourself – When was the last time you savored food? Do you remember your last meal? If so, what was it, and can you describe the taste in vivid terms? If the answer is no, then its time to relearn the art of food enjoyment.
Focusing on our food involves sitting down at a table (don’t stand and eat). Take 30-45 seconds to enjoy the sight and smell of the food before you begin. Take small bites. Chew slowly and sip water regularly. Enjoy the food and take at least 20 minutes to complete your meal. Do not distract yourself with other activities while eating. This means none of the following television, business, reading or talking on the phone. Sit down and enjoy your meal.
Essentially, you try and enjoy your meal as much as possible.
Once you start looking at food differently, you will feel the difference in every aspect of your life, starting with your energy levels.