Love Your Food

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You can quit smoking.

You can quit pharmaceuticals.

You can quit drinking alcohol.

You can quit being a couch potato.

You can quit not running.

You can quit not exercising.

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Wanna know what you can’t quit?

Eating.

You can’t quit food.

All of the unhealthful habits above, you can quit.  In fact, you can quit them cold turkey.  Sure, there will be withdrawals and aches and pains, but stay the course and you come out on the other side.

What happens if you quit eating?

You die.

This is one of the reasons so many people have a hard time with their weight.  Their addiction is not something that they can just quit, cold turkey or otherwise.  Unfortunately, through a chain of events that may or may not be of their own making, poor eating habits have developed and the physiology, chemistry and physical make up of their bodies has changed.

So what to do?

Last week I wrote about the five habits of healthful eating.  Following them I believe can help make a difference in anybody who wants to live a more healthful life, but I think it’s important to revisit one of them and take it just a little deeper.

The very first habit, Eat Slowly and Stop at 80% Full, is probably the most important and effective of the five habits.  It may also be the hardest to actually follow and accomplish.

Why?

Well, if I tell you to eat a protein dense food (habit 2) or pack your plate full of veggies (habit 3) or eat healthy fats (habit 5) with every meal, you have concrete instructions on what to do.  For lack of a better phrase, it’s black and white.  There is no grey area in those rules.  The same could be said about saving starchy carbs for post workout meals (habit 4).  Oh, I worked out this afternoon, I’m going to have rice with dinner  – or  – Oh, I didn’t work out this afternoon, I’ll save the pasta for tomorrow. There really isn’t any ambiguity there.

But what the heck does eat slowly and stop at 80% full actually mean?  See,  a pretty subjective rule, right? One person’s “slowly” is another’s “quickly”.  My sister used to take an hour to eat dinner when we were kids…maybe that’s too slowly.

So this is what I would suggest – learn to love your food.  Treat it like you would a lover in a tender moment.  Take your time, savor the flavors, stretch out each bite and enjoy the moment, the smells, the texture.

Don’t treat your plate like it’s some drunken college hook up, racing to the end…you don’t want your plate looking up at you, saying, “that’s it?”

Whether it’s a gourmet meal or a burger and fries from some fast food joint (not often, I hope), take your time.  If you do, you may find that you reach that point of satisfaction around the time you are actually about 80% full…that point where you are no longer hungry, but not completely stuffed.

Once you are satisfied, you may want to keep going.

Don’t.

We all know what happens if you do.  Be happy that you avoided the discomfort of overindulgence.  Enjoy the sense of satiety. Bask in the afterglow of satisfaction.  Walk away guilt free knowing you’ll be back in a few hours to do it all over again.

 

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