Last week I was watching my kids compete over who could make their ice cream cone last the longest. As adults we would usually find ourselves gobbling down that ice cream as fast as possible between work, school, gym, carpools, and countless errands. Well grownups, we are missing out. Not only are we missing out on the enjoyment of food but we are forming habits that negatively affect our health and weight.
Americans make over 200 decisions a day about food. We think about it all the time. Yet, when it comes to eating it we do it quickly on the run, in the car, or while in front of the computer or TV. We don’t even enjoy it. For those of you trying to lose weight or increase your energy, this type of mindless eating is like a big bag of chips standing between you and your health goal.
When we rush through meals instead of taking time to relax, our bodies do not metabolize our food efficiently. The food just sits in our stomach causing a decrease in nutrient absorption, and increase in digestive problems. Eating in a state of low level stress also causes our metabolism to slow, and that can lead to weight gain and fatigue. We need to calm down at meal time.
The most effective way of doing this is to start by noticing your lifestyle habits or “life rhythm.”
Ask yourself the following:
- What is your eating rhythm? Do you eat standing up? Do you eat in the car? Do you eat at a table? Do your meals last 5 minutes or 50 minutes? Do you taste your food?
- What is your life rhythm? Do you rush from place to place with seconds to spare or do you take time to meditate during the day? How does the pace of your day hinder you from nourishing yourself well?
Want to make a change? Take on one of these challenges for one week:
- Before eating or doing anything else, take 5 minutes after walking through the door to sit quietly by yourself. Just sit and breathe. Then go about your normal routine. Does this slow your pace?
- Clock how long it takes you to eat your biggest meal. Now add 10 minutes. That means making a 10 minute lunch last 20 minutes. Look at your meal. Smell it. Touch it. Notice the textures. Do this once a day.
- Pick your favorite food and “trade up.” Trade your cheap yogurt for an organic variety. Toss the Hershey bar for a dark chocolate organic treat. Choose wild salmon, not a farm fish. Just trade up one thing. Sometimes it is easier to slow down and appreciate the $4.00 dark chocolate bar versus the 50 cent bag of M&M’s.
When you take the time to slow down in your life healthy eating habits will follow. Nourish yourself with the gift of time and good food. Your body will thank you.
Sherri Sacconaghi is a Certified Nutrition Coach, workshop leader and corporate speaker. She is passionate about helping others obtain a healthy body and a joyful life. For more information visit: www.themissionofnutrition.com
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