We need to make an intentional effort to slow down and eat with intention and mindfulness. This will really make a big positive impact on your gut health and overall health.
FOR INSTANCE: If you eat a bit slower, your hormones that tell you you are no longer hungry have time to tell you you're no longer hungry if you eat slower. ;) hehehe. So ... I usually eat 1/2 my meal first. And admittedly it's usually fair quick, but I'm usually pretty hungry. But ... then I set down my fork, I look at the people I'm eating with, chat with them and experience the other joys of social stuff. Thats good for you too by the way. Then I look at my food and decide if I want to eat more. Or if I do and I know I don't need to ...I ask myself why, and ... is it the best thing. If I really want to because it's a food that I really like or socially it's the thing to do .... like nachos, I LOVE LOVE LOVE nachos.... then I will mindfully splurge. Out of joy. And I will NOT have that voice that says ... so now you need to run extra tomorrow. I'm ok with being a bit fluffy. For nachos.
Now ... not so much for the mindless eating of chocolate that I do. Usually in secret. Or at night. Just last night, Derek asked me what I was munching on. AT 3:30 AM PEOPLE!!! I said "oh not much" and he said "chocolate". ... he said, hey, I don't care but you are the one complaining about being fat. Not me.
Anyway. We can make a lot of changes to our gut health and overall health if we learn to do things differently when we are eating, take the stress level down a couple notches. It is very important HOW you eat. Here are some suggestions.
BRING YOUR BODIES INTO REST and DIGEST
- Leave any problems behind. Don't talk about work at the table. Practice hitting pause during stressful thoughts during dinner time. Create some rituals around eating. We pray before we eat. Setting the table can be enough to slow you down and bring the body into a calm state. Eating needs to be a time for nourishment. Not doing a bunch of things and get it done asap. This impacts your gut motility, digestive enzymes, etc. Savoring how the food tastes. Make the best nacho bite each time. Pay attention to your breathing. Talk about fun things, happy things. The main thought is that you are focused on the present
- Create body awareness. Eating is a physical activity. However our minds wonder off. So then we don't hear the body's cues. Savor each bite. Build the best nacho bite with each bit. Share your food with your people. Pay attention to your breathing. Focus on a calming word or imagine. Focus on the PRESENT MOMENT. This helps the body to understand that nothing is threatening at that particular moment.
- Express Gratitude. You can pray. Or say what you are grateful for the day. Or share what was the best part of their day. This helps to bring positivity into the. moment. To be present. And to share things that help the body to come into a relaxed and safe feeling space.
- Eat without distraction. Work and technology free zone. No phones. TVs. Etc. This really helps the body to be present in the moment. And your mind. Share time with your people. This is so important and can really help the overall dealings with stress. Plus this helps us to be present with other people around. Which ends up being less stressful for them. They are more happy that you are listening to them. Talk. Converse.
- Dine in pleasant surroundings. Clearing the table. Music. Candle. Dine outside. Build a fire. You don't' have to be on a date to set the "mood". Dine with other people, friends and family, to help with bringing the body into a very relaxed and happy state.
The GI tract works the best when the mind and body are calm and in a relaxed state. This allows blood flow to go to the digestive tract. And for other processes to start, like the salivary function. Smelling that awesome food. :). When the nervous system is in the relaxed state it can focus on digestive functions.
So even if you are in the car, thinking of cramming food into your mouth, you can stop for a minute and breath deeply for a bit. You can work to relax for just a moment.