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It’s the heartbreaking saga I’ve heard far more than once in the nearly two decades that I’ve been training. But it didn’t make the email I received from Christine late on a Thursday night any easier to read.
“…On the nutrition side of things, I’ve done it all. Weight Watchers, 21 Day Fix, calorie counting, macro counting, etc. I lost 40 pounds the first time in Weight Watchers, but it’s all back and a second try at it did nothing to budge the scale. I’m now calorie counting again to make sure I’m eating enough, because I think eating so little for so long has trashed my hunger cues, metabolism and cortisol levels. I just don’t really know what to do and I’m starting to lose hope.”
What a mess.
But between the lines, you can see the desperation.
Christine explained to me that her body just felt awful. She had zero energy and strength, and everything she tried was complicated, extreme and required so much time and effort.
Her motivation had been completely used up on all these diets, and she didn’t have much left to give to try and eat healthy anymore.
There’s no doubt about it: the nutrition industry has done a poor job of making healthy eating easy.
Do you remember learning about the Food Guide Pyramid in elementary school?
It started out as a triangle with cute little pictures of bread and rice on the bottom, suggesting 8-10 servings of whole grains per day. Cartoon designs of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and sugars made up the other blocks of the pyramid.
But then it all changed!
Along came a pyramid that looked completely different – the food group blocks were now vertical with some a little fatter than others. But it was still unclear how much of each category we were supposed to be eating.
Is it still 8-10 servings of bread per day? How much milk should I be drinking per day? And why is the vegetable slice so skinny?
And then it became the “My Plate” image, with colored blocks showing you fruits, grains, vegetables, protein and dairy in a cup. Maybe a little bit more helpful, but still really nebulous.
The other day I googled “Healthy Eating Tips”, and the first result that popped up was from the CDC and it said, “Bump Up Fiber, Increase Calcium and Vitamin D, Add More Potassium, Limit Added Sugars, Replace Saturated Fats, Cut Back on Sodium, Aim for a Variety of Colors.” That’s so clinical and nobody other than a registered dietitian really knows how to do this. It’s just ridiculous!
The diet industry never used these pyramids and recommendations anyway. They threw them out the window and told you to eat whatever had the least calories, and then have spent the past 30 years rearranging where the tiniest amounts of calories should be coming from: are we going low carb? Fat free? Meat free?
I can’t keep up.
No wonder you, me, Christine, and countless other women that just want to feel healthy are so confused about how to eat these days.
Unfortunately, what the nutrition and diet industry has completely neglected to tell you is the MOST important nutrition habit of all.
But that’s exactly what you HAVE to learn first, and what I’m going to teach you today.
I know that sounds funny, but you have to stick with me here. What you eat becomes so much easier when you address HOW you eat first.
Think about how you normally eat. What does it typically look like for you?
All of these eating behaviors lead to overeating, undereating, and mindlessly or emotionally eating things that aren’t healthy.
So, if you’re always struggling with overeating, undereating, and mindlessly or emotionally eating things that aren’t healthy, then you must MASTER THE ART OF EATING SLOWLY.
And that’s what I’m going to teach you how to do today.
Before, I show you how to do this, I know exactly what your biggest objections are to this:
Ok, my argument for that last objection is, really? How are the numbers and rules actually working out for you in the long run? I bet they’re just making you feel like Christine did in my story at the beginning.
And, to tackle your other objections…I’m going to show you how to eat slowly and you’ll see that it’s doable and actually extremely effective for getting the results you want.
1. Time yourself:
At your next meal, prepare your food and sit down to eat. (Yes, in a chair. Maybe at a table even… like the dining room table. Pretend you’re fancy!) And time yourself. See how long it takes you to eat your meal.
Do you finish eating in 3 minutes? 11 minutes? 20 minutes?
This time is your baseline.
2. Begin to extend your time.
Your goal is to gradually add a minute or two at a time until it takes you between 15-20 minutes to eat your meal.
Hacks for taking longer:
3. Ask yourself the 4 awareness questions while you’re eating:
Don’t turn your brain off or have your attention completely engrossed on something else. Make sure that you’re able to ask yourself these questions as you eat:
You can write these 4 awareness questions in the notes on your phone or even on a sticky note somewhere in your kitchen. Run through these questions at as many meals as possible.
If you’re scarfing your food down, or eating on the go, you have zero capacity to tune in and pay attention to what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel.
The true power of mindfulness and intuitive eating begins with eating slowly.
Going back to your objections:
Let me give you some quick examples for how this can play out in your life:
The big idea here is that practicing HOW to eat is far, far more important than learning rules about WHAT to eat. Hopefully you can see now why I teach this slow eating before any other food skill in my programs. And honestly, it sets you up for a lifetime of good eating.
Your simple action steps now are to practice eating slowly:
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