One Easy Eating Hack To Help You Feel Fuller Sooner // Thick N Fit Kitchen™
So y’all know I love to take advantage of free resources (lol) — And by take advantage I mean utilize them an appropriate amount.
But in any case, since I’m in grad school and I’m on my school’s insurance plan, I recently learned that have the option to meet with our school’s registered dietitian. I’m not sure if this is a resource at every school, but I would definitely reach out and ask. I was on my parent’s health insurance when I was in college. So I wasn’t too familiar with the health center offerings back then.
One day while meeting with my PCP, and giving her the full run down of my health history (which included my disordered eating history) she highly recommended that I meet with her. While this wasn’t my first time meeting with a dietitian, it was my first time getting to build a relationship with one. The first dietitian I went to was back in Massachusetts, my home state that I visit once or twice a year.
Towards the end of last year/the beginning of this year, I was dealing with the aftermath of a depressive episode that caused me to gain around 10 lbs. Now having perspective from that low moment in my life, I have come to realize that in moments of high stress/depression, I will eat high sugar foods with no limits (which I’m now coming to identify as a sign that something is off with me for the future because I do not like super sweet tasting things at all). A cookie or some ice cream, here or there, I’m fine with, but I remember when my ex moved in with me for a month (despite my very strong desire to not have this happen), I used to eat large cups full of fro-yo with all of these cake crumbles and sprinkles, 4-5 times a week— sometimes twice a day. And, I’m not kidding you, the day after he moved out, it was like I couldn’t look at another cup of fro-yo again. And I also still can’t believe that I only gained 5 lbs during that time.
But, anyway, after realizing that my body and my eating habits were not in a place that I found to be comfortable, I really wanted to work with my school dietitian to get back on track in a healthy way.
So one of the first things she and I worked on is my eating pace. When it comes to eating and being healthy, much of the focus is often put on what we eat. But my dietitian noted that it is also just as valuable to monitor how we eat our food as well. Because American culture emphasizes efficiency and productivity and working for as long as legally possible (and then some), we have also developed an eating culture that prizes eating as quickly as humanly possible to get back to work. The act of eating now you could say in some ways has become a chore; a mundane task; a thing we just need to do. And because of that attitude, it is causing us to either over consume or mindlessly consume additional calories that can lead to excess weight.
So my dietitian recommended that as part of an eating mindfulness routine for me to start counting how often I’m chewing in between bites of food. She suggested that I count out at least 20 bites before I put another bite of food in my mouth, and to make sure that halfway between the meal I take a drink of water.
It might seem a little neurotic at first, but I remember first trying it out and being in shock about how quickly I was shoveling down my food. By slowing down how quickly you eat, you are giving your digestive system time to catch up and signal to your brain that you are full. When we eat too quickly, that cue might not get to our brain fast enough to keep us from thinking were not full, and cause us to overeat.
So this hack is pretty simple. Next time you’re enjoying a meal, try to keep track of two things:
How much time you give yourself to chew before your next bite
How often you are drinking water with your meal
By learning how to chew slower, and drink more water during my meals I’ve definitely seen a significant difference in how full I feel by the end of the meal. And remember, this practice isn’t meant to be a permanent thing. I don’t count every time I eat. But it is a great tool to lean on when I suddenly realize I might be going through a meal faster than I anticipated.
Hope you found that helpful! See you next time, Queens!