It’s Not Your Willpower: How many times have you berated yourself saying, ““If only I could build up the willpower, then I’d be able to squeeze into those jeans or the little red dress.” Well, I’m here to tell you that your willpower is NOT the problem. The problem for a majority of you is that you go unconscious during eating. You likely inhale the entire meal and barely taste your food. When was the last time you noticed how spicy your grilled chicken was? Or appreciated the intense tang of sriracha sauce from Mo’s? When we eat on autopilot, the brain, which requires taste and satisfaction, misses out on a key stages of the eating experience. The brain literally thinks it didn’t eat, or didn’t have enough to eat. And it simply screams back at us: “I’m hungry! Feed me and feed me more… more.”
Solution: When you sit and eat, only eat. The point is simply to eat as opposed to eating and talking, eating and watching TV, or eating and watching TV and gossiping on the phone while Tweeting and updating your instagram, or Facebook status. Your multitasking is making you miss out on the whole sensual adventure of eating and then you’re hungry for more. You can dramatically decrease your overeating by increasing your awareness and presence at every meal by just concentrating on that moment.
Slow Down and Speed Your Metabolism: If you typically eat fast, specially most pf us who work in Manhattan or other big cities around the world (and drive fast, talk fast), it’s time to shift into a lower gear. For many of you eating fast means eating more lots more. That’s because the act of eating fast is considered a stressor by the body. Humans are simply not biologically wired for high speed eating. So when you eat fast, the body once again enters the fight-or-flight physiologic stress response, which results in decreased digestion, decreased nutrient assimilation, lowered caloric burning rate, and a increase appetite. The bottom line is that you can literally crank up your metabolic engine by slowing the gears down.
Solution: Mindful eating to the rescue again, Try this: place a spoonful of food in your mouth. Make it something you enjoy. Let’s say it’s that first nibble from a steaming bowl of chicken stew. Feast on the rainbow like colors of the peppers, tune in to the texture of the chicken and the crunchy snap of veggies, the flavor of the herbs, the bright orange color of the curry in the bowl, the aroma of the rising steam.
Chew slowly masticating each morsel at least 10-30 times before you swallow. Stop talking. Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was so good and another immediately beckons. You’re hungry. But resist the reflexive urge to plow through your meal like a rescued dog who hasn’t eaten in days.
Resist it. Leave the fork on the table. You can also try eating with your non-dominant hand as that will force you to slow down or eat with chopsticks to pick up only bite sized portions versus shoveling food in your mouth. Continue this way throughout the course of your meal, and you’ll experience the third-eye-opening pleasures–and perhaps the initial frustrations–of a Buddhist practice known as mindful eating. Mindful eating is meant to nudge us beyond what we’re craving so that we wake up to why we’re craving it and what factors might be stoking the habit of belly-stuffing. And the exciting news is that the byproduct of mindful eating is to serve as a psychological barrier to overeating. I bet your traditional calorie-counting weight loss program never factored this into the equation!
Originally posted 2015-07-17 19:44:36.