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How to Slow Down the Pace of Eating

timerIn today’s fast paced society it’s only natural that we rush around trying to get everything done before the day is over. You rush to work, school, and everywhere else you have to go. While moving fast may be a necessity for you, eating fast can be detrimental to your health and body.

 

Did you know that eating your meals quickly can actually lead to overeating and weight gain?

 

Think back to your last meal… did you inhale it or take the time to enjoy every bite?  How long do you think it took you to finish your meal? If it’s less than 20 minutes then keep reading.

 

Don’t worry you’re not alone, most people devour their meals in about 5 minutes. They put a forkful of food in their mouths and before they even swallow, the next forkful is ready to go. Do you do this too?

 

When you do this you’re not savoring your meal and you’re not being mindful as you eat. Slowing down as you eat will allow you to really taste every bite and get the most satisfaction out of the meal as possible.

 

Eating quickly also prevents you from eating until you are comfortably satisfied because you don’t pay attention to your inner fullness signals, instead you eat until the food is gone. It takes the brain 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full. If you eat fast you can completely miss that fullness cue and you can overeat. It can even cause bloating, gas and heartburn.

 

In a Japanese study of over 3,000 people, both male and female, those who ate quickly until they were completely full were three times more likely to be overweight than those who ate slower.

 

Slow down your eating by:

  • Setting an allotted 30 minutes to sit down and have a good meal
  • Putting your fork and knife down between bites
  • Chewing slowly
  • Using your non-dominant hand to hold the fork
  • Eating with someone else
  • Eat without distractions (meaning no T.V. or Phone)

 

Challenge yourself

Set the timer on your phone and see how long it normally takes you to finish a meal. It might be 5 minutes and you might think that stretching it out to 20 is impossible. It’s not! Continue to use the tips above every time you sit to eat to help lengthen your meal minute by minute. Before long, you will be eating slower and using your inner fullness signals to guide you when to stop. And, you’ll enjoy your meal a whole lot better.

 

Comment below and let me know how this goes for you!

 

Chocolate Doesn’t Solve Your Problems

Overwt woman contemplating chocLife is hard sometimes, wouldn’t you say? Things can be going along wonderfully and then all of a sudden BAM, you get hit in the face with a situation that you are not quite ready for. What I’ve learned in my life is firstly that this is just a part of life. We become better people when we go through tough situations and we learn from them. And, secondly, I’ve learned that food (and for most people…chocolate) does not make the problem go away.

 

Now, I know you are reading this and perhaps you are saying “you are wrong Bonnie, chocolate makes it all better”.

 

And, to that I say, it makes it all better for the moment you are in your empty body, stuffing the chocolate in your mouth, pushing your feelings down deeper and deeper. But now, the chocolate is gone and what are you left with?

 

THE PAIN! The pain of still dealing with the difficult feelings you had originally, AND the pain of the GUILT of bingeing on chocolate and the PHYSICAL PAIN of eating too much of it.

 

So, what are you to do when you just don’t want to deal with the situation that has presented to you in your life?

 

You SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH IT!

 

WITHOUT. THE. CHOCOLATE.

 

Yes, I know that sounds harsh, and I don’t mean to be harsh. But it’s just a part of life. You are here on my blog reading my articles, following my work because you want help. You want and need someone to say to you “let’s learn how to deal with your emotions and difficult situations in life without using food. Because food is not the answer.”

 

Here are 2 steps for you to take immediately so you can learn how to turn away from the chocolate when feeling down:

 

Step 1: Make a list of the situations and/or emotions that cause you to turn to chocolate (or any food for that matter).

 

Step 2: Click on this link to request to speak to me so I can help you craft a plan to overcome emotional eating.

 

I look forward to speaking with you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

The Negative Effect of T.V. on Eating Pleasure

TV watching  - LaurenThis past Sunday was a busy day. I’m sure you have busy days too. But what I experienced Sunday really brought what I teach my clients to life.

 

My day started off cleaning out our storeroom. I’ve been after my husband for a long time to do this, so I was so glad we began this adventure. We then had some errands to do, and eventually we dropped my daughter off at her friend’s house for a birthday party.

 

The party was for 2 hours and it was a distance from our home. We wanted to hang out in the area and just go back and pick her up at the end of the party. We found a nice park to walk around and it was beautiful.

 

We decided to find a place to eat dinner, as it would be too late to eat when we got home. So, we went into a local restaurant, seemed nice enough. I ordered food at the counter, my husband went to find a table. When I brought the food over, I noticed that our table was right under a television hanging on the wall. I looked around and realized my husband chose this table because it was the only table available.

 

As I began to eat my chopped salad filled with artichokes, hearts of palm, egg whites, sun dried tomatoes and mandarin oranges, I was feeling very out of touch with my eating experience. I quickly realized that the T.V. blasting above my head was taking away from the pleasure in my meal. I was frustrated and wondered why on earth this restaurant needs to have a T.V. on in the dining area. Yes, it’s casual dining, but really? Doesn’t the restaurant owner know anything about mindful eating?

 

Apparently not.

 

I concentrated on my inner satiety signals, wanting to be sure I didn’t miss comfortable satiety. I took a few more bites and told my husband I was finished. I packed up the rest to take home.

 

As we were driving home, I thought about this experience. I was looking forward to this delicious salad, but the distraction and noise from the T.V. took away from my pleasurable experience. What a shame. Had I not been aware of this, I would have probably gone home and looked for food, anything to achieve satisfaction.

 

A lesson learned. I won’t be going back to that eating establishment any time soon.

 

Your turn to take action: Have you had a similar eating experience? Please share below.

 

 

 

Powerful Strategies to Conquer Overeating

I recently started a series called Powerful Strategies to Conquer Overeating on The Diet Free Zone Show™ on my YouTube channel.

In case you don’t subscribe to my channel (although you should…here’s the link to subscribe for free https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_vbh0Zqy6Y2TSQCbHQwziA ) I wanted to share the first 3 strategies with you here.

 

Click on the images below to watch the videos, then come back and comment below.

 

Stay tuned for the next 3 strategies in the coming weeks.

 

Strategy #1: Be patient!

Powerful strategy 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy #2: Talk to yourself!

Powerful strategy 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy #3: Make new friends!

Powerful strategy 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Manage Your Emotions without Turning to Food

Sad woman eating donutOne of the things that come up often in my work with my clients is how they deal with emotional eating. We all experience different emotions throughout a given day. For some, there might be more than others. Such emotions include anxiety, loneliness and sadness. Other more subtle emotions that often might lead you to turn to food include boredom and stress. It is totally normal to experience these emotions from time to time, but how you cope with them is key. (Note: if you are experiencing intense sadness and depression, please see an appropriate mental health professional.)

 

So the question here is: do you find yourself reaching into the food cabinets when these emotions arise? If you do, how do you feel after you eat the cookies, candy or whatever your “go to” mood fixer food is?

 

I know that deep down you realize that food is not resolving the issue at hand. Yet, you still find comfort even for the moment in the box of chocolates. But you know what? After you eat them, you now have to deal with the guilt, physical discomfort of overeating and the original emotion you were trying to numb. You are now worse off than when you started.

 

Does this sound like you? How do you get out of this viscous cycle?

 

The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you turn to food to comfort negative feelings, even to numb the emotional pain you might be feeling. Then, you need to commit to learning a new way. Before immediately turning to food, STOP and ask yourself what are you really feeling. If you can honestly say you are hungry, then by all means you should eat….a well-balanced power snack or meal. But if you are being true to yourself and really want to help yourself, you won’t automatically say “I’m hungry”. Instead, you will think about what you are feeling and how you can comfort yourself without turning to food.

 

If you are unsure what you need, seek out the support from a friend, counselor or therapist. Talking through your emotions instead of eating through them is an amazing feeling.  If you are not ready to face your feelings, then engage in an alternate activity.

Write down some things that you enjoy doing that can distract you during these times. Take a walk, do a puzzle, read a book, go for a ride etc.  Figure out what works for you.

 

I’ll tell you what works for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed, stressed or upset about something, I remove myself from the area I am at that is causing me distress. I then take several deep breaths and count down from 10 to 0. It really helps me clear my head, and prevents me from heading to the peanut butter jar:)

 

What works for you? Please let me know in the comments section below. And if you need help sorting through your emotions, I am here for you. Just click here and request to speak with me so you can get clear on your challenges and have a clear path towards dealing with your emotions without turning to food.

Food Deprivation Leading to Rebound Eating

Overindulging in a food item that you restrict is common if you are a chronic dieter. This is called deprivation backlash-rebound eating.

 

Here’s a common scenario: you deprive yourself of a certain food, such as your beloved chocolate because you are on a diet and you are not allowed to have chocolate, right? Well an old time friend comes to visit and brings you a box of chocolates. You put it away vowing you will not open it. A family member spots the chocolate, opens the box and now what do you do? Hmmm, I’ll just have one, really only one. But before you turn around, you have more than one, and at this point you might as well finish the box because you promise yourself you won’t have chocolate again. You truly believe that you won’t. Yet, you now feel guilty and as a punishment you skip dinner only to find yourself bingeing into the evening.

The above scenario is one example of the backlash that happens when you deprive yourself of a food you love. You rebound by eating, and overeating.

 

There are many different forms of rebound eating.

 

Have you ever engaged in The Last Supper eating? I have had many clients tell me that they knew they were coming to see me on Monday (or whatever day their appointment was on) and so the day before they overindulged on all the foods they thought they would no longer be allowed to eat….the foods that they thought would be off limits.

 

Listen, eating shouldn’t be this difficult. It’s time for you to make peace with food so you can once and for all stop the dieting cycle.

 

Need help? Click here to schedule a time to chat.

 

 

Your turn to take action: Tell me about a time that you engaged in rebound eating or The Last Supper. Share your stories in the comments section below.

No Thank You Miss Food Pusher

Hand Stops CakeAround this time of year with the holidays of Passover and Easter just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about a category of people I like to call “food pushers.”  These people mean well, but they have a tendency to start interfering with the hunger and fullness cues you have been working to develop.  To help explain, I am going to tell you a story one of my previous employees who has been on her own mindful eating journey told me recently.

 

Lucy* had struggled with cyclic weight gain throughout college and it wasn’t until she started studying nutrition that she began to realize it is not about diets, but about living a healthy lifestyle.  The more she started practicing intuitive eating principles, the more she stopped worrying about her weight, and was happy with her health.  The problem was, Lucy’s mom had her own hang-ups when it came to body image that she would sometimes project on her.  If Lucy appeared thinner to her mom, her mom would be more agreeable to offering her dessert, or encouraging her to take seconds at meals.  But when she felt like Lucy was going back to her “heavier” weight, she would make comments like “Are you really that hungry? Do you need to eat more?”

 

While this frustrated Lucy, the more she listened to her own intuitive eating voice the less she cared about what other people thought about the quality and quantity of the foods she decided to eat.  Recently she was shopping with her mom and sister and they spotted a candy that is only around during holiday time.  Lucy and her sister purchased one and split it.  Her mom said, “Did you need to eat that candy?” As she began to reply she realized there was no need for justification.  There was nothing wrong with her eating that candy, it was not mindless nor was it in excess so she simply said, “yes” and everyone moved on.  No food pushing (or pulling) away—just Lucy “trusting her gut” (pun intended!)

 

You might find that these people in your family, especially those you see only during the holidays, are the first to comment about your appearance and your eating habits.  They typically have a tendency to comment if they feel you did not eat enough and try to guilt you into taking more food.  There is no justification required for how much or how little you choose to eat.  You know what will satisfy you and you are in charge.  If you are afraid of hurting a family members feeling for not trying something special they made, simply ask for the recipe and say “thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to make it!”

 

Family members sometimes have no filter.  Usually the things they say to you regarding your personal eating habits occur because they are unhappy with their own.  Perhaps this holiday season will be a time when food pushers turn into mindful eating converts when they see how well it is working for you.  And hey! If they need some guidance you know where to find me.

 

Your turn to take action: Recall a time a food pusher got involved in your decision about what and how much to eat.  What are some ways you could have stayed true to your own mindful eating needs instead of being swayed by them?

*Name changed

Hunger Scale vs. the Bathroom Scale

scale2I have written before about not being a slave to the numbers, be that the size clothing you are, or more common—being a slave to the weight you see on the scale.  Now while I still don’t want you to be a slave to these numbers, there is one scale you can pay attention to when you are being intuitive.  That is your hunger scale.

There are many things that can make you reach for food that do not involve actually being hungry.  You might be stressed, tired, sad or lonely.  But if you take the time to think about hunger prior to reaching for a snack or pulling through the nearest drive-thru, you might find that you are not biologically hungry, but you are experiencing emotional hunger.

Think of your hunger on a scale of zero to ten.  At zero you are beyond starving, at 10 you are sick from overeating.  Do not wait until you are completely starving to go and get something to eat.  If you do that, you’ll likely find the nearest food to eat, which is not always the best option, and you will shoot yourself up the scale to a ten (sick from overeating).  Part of being healthy and in control of your body is feeding yourself before you get to a zero, and knowing when to stop when you are satisfied.  Staying in the middle of the scale throughout the day by eating at regular intervals will keep you feeling good all day.

So feel free to hop on to the habit of using this scale rather than the other one!  It’s one number that will help you rather than hurt you on your journey!

Your turn to take action: Use the hunger scale this week prior to eating to discover how in tune you are to your signals!  How is it working for you?

Meals vs. Snacks: Which Team are You On?

SnacksThroughout most of the past decade, the idea of “3 meals a day” was widely accepted and practiced by a majority of American households.  You ate a breakfast of maybe toast and eggs, a sandwich packed for lunch and you would sit down to a dinner that focused on protein as the star, with a vegetable and a starch in the supporting role.  Perhaps a dessert would accompany that dinner, but for the most part, it was those three meals that shaped the day.

Now much of what we see supports the idea of several smaller “meals” a day or 3 small meals and 2 snacks throughout the day as opposed to the traditional 3 large meals.  The reason behind this recommendation stems from the idea that eating more often is necessary to keep your metabolism working all day long.  If you wait too long in between meals you will likely get too hungry and then eat too much.  When one gets too hungry, they also are likely to make the wrong food choices and it takes a greater amount of food to rev up the metabolism.

When it comes to meals versus snacks, like most things in nutrition, balance is the key.  Creating balanced, smaller meals interspersed with healthy filling snacks is the key to staying comfortably full and satiated throughout the day.  By planning your meals and snacks in advance, you will find yourself having an easier time saying no to unplanned foods that pop up throughout the day because your hunger is tamed.

For a guide to planning meals and snacks, take a look at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics new graphic called MyPlate which can be found at: www.choosemyplate.gov.  The site explains how to fashion each meal so it has all the necessary nutrition components for optimal health.

For creating healthy snacks, remember to have them include carbohydrates, fat, and protein in a balanced ratio and plenty of filling fiber to keep you satiated until meal time.  For example, hummus and vegetables, or fruit and Greek yogurt are excellent, nutritious snacks.

For help with meal planning for weight loss or to manage a medical condition, click here.

Time to take action: Please comment below and let me know which team are you on: meals or snacks?