While we can all agree that what we eat affects our appetite, what you eat is only part of the story.
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How we eat has as much impact, if not more, on our hunger and cravings. Here are my top 3 secrets about how you eat that will change your hunger and cravings for good.
1. Slow Down
Most people rush through their meals. Eating quickly strains your digestive system and can put your body into a stress response.
One of the many consequences of this is that nutrient absorption is diminished.
The nutrients your body cannot absorb are then eliminated in waste.
When your body isn’t receiving adequate nutrients, guess what it does? Yup, it drives up hunger and cravings.
How can you slow down? Chew thoroughly so that your food is almost mush before you swallow.
Put down your utensil between bites, let it go, and don’t pick it up again until you have fully swallowed. And take time to breathe.
2. Eat With Awareness
Did you know that awareness is responsible for 30-40% of your total digestive response? Digestion actually starts in your brain.
Your Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (or CPDR, cephalic means “of your head”) combines cataloged information about the food you are eating with input from chemical receptors on the tongue and in the oral cavity to prime your digestive system for what’s coming.
The CPDR initiates secretion of digestive enzymes needed to handle the incoming food.
If your attention is elsewhere while you eat, that is, if you are multitasking, you are not fully engaging your CPDR, which means you are only digesting at about 60-70% of capacity.
Again, reduced digestion means reduced nutrient absorption which leads to more hunger and cravings.
So next time you eat – give yourself permission to just eat!
Did you know that pleasure increases metabolic efficiency and nutrient absorption?
Pleasure chemistry aids in the digestion of protein and fat, and it shuts down our appetite.
As humans, we are designed to really want to experience the pleasure of an eating experience. When we don’t, we are left wanting more.
Pleasure is often given a back seat by dieters who may be eating prepared meals or budgeting calories, points, etc.
But taking away pleasure only increases hunger and cravings.
So choose foods that taste good, add some interesting spices and flavorings, and enjoy!
My challenge for you: slow down, stop multitasking while you eat, and enjoy your meals.
Does that sound easy? Based on my own experience and my work with clients, putting these strategies into practice can, in fact, be quite challenging.
You are looking to shift behaviors that you’ve been doing for a very long time.
I advise you to take it one step at a time. Focus on a specific meal (like dinner) and/or a specific day of the week.
Start slow, be patient, and allow yourself to grow into this new experience.
You will find that these practices complement and reinforce each other. As you improve in one area, the others may come along for the ride.
For example, it’s hard to receive pleasure from a meal if you are eating quickly while working on a financial spreadsheet!
Just remember what these three practices have in common: they work together to help you optimize your digestion and maximize your nutrient absorption so your body gets the most out of what you are feeding it.
In this way, your body needs less food to be satisfied, so your hunger and cravings will stabilize.
I’d love to hear what you experience as you put these strategies into practice! And if you want to learn more about how you can transform your health – and your life – through mind-body nutrition, let’s connect!