One of the most effective tools in your toolbox for getting lean, strong, and healthy is making changes to what you eat.
This isn’t the only tool in your toolbox, however.
There are four steps that have nothing to do with what you’re eating that you can take right now to start seeing changes in how you look, feel, and perform.
- Slow down.
- Chew thoroughly.
- Focus on your food.
- Stop at 80% full.
You might think these steps sound too simple, but there’s plenty of evidence backing them up.
Eating quickly has been shown to be associated with excess weight (1).
Eating slowly, on the other hand, has been shown to help reduce energy intake without any increase in hunger (2).
Not sure how to start eating more slowly?
Chew your food.
Chewing has been shown to not only help reduce food intake, but also promote the release of hormones that aid in digestion and satiety (3).
While you’re doing all that chewing, pay attention to and enjoy your food.
Eating attentively has been shown to reduce not only the amount eaten in the moment, but also later on (4).
That, and life is way too short to spend it not enjoying your meals.
Finally, aim to stop when satisfied, not stuffed.
The Okinawans have a saying, “hara hachi bu”, or “eat until you are 80% full”, that just may be a key factor in their having a higher than normal concentration of centenarians (5).
Here’s how you can get started putting these steps into practice.
Create space – physically, mentally, emotionally – to eat and just eat.
When are you going to eat?
Where are you going to eat?
That which isn’t scheduled often doesn’t happen.
Turn off the TV.
Put away the phone.
Take a minute to just breathe and be aware.
Just you and your food.
Focus on and enjoy your meal.
How’s it smell?
How’s it taste?
How’s its texture?
Rest between bites.
Appreciate the moment.
You’re nourishing your body.
Providing it the energy and support it needs to fulfill its purpose.
This approach can be a major change.
This may take practice.
But you’re worth the effort.
You’ve got this.