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Slow Down. Enjoy Eating!

Tanner Batten | tanner@paradigmsport.com

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This year I had the privilege of completing PrecisionNutrition's Level 1 Certification program.  I was also fortunate to go through their online Nutrition Coaching program as a client, thanks to Paradigm Sport member, Rafael Palomino.  This process helped me take an in-depth look at nutrition while experiencing it from a client’s perspective.  To my surprise, the most helpful information I learned didn’t have to do with macronutrient ratios or carb cycling.  It wasn’t about super foods or intermittent fasting.  It was simply about eating slowly, to 80% full.

This topic is especially important given this time of year.  The holidays often bring lots of opportunities for parties, family gatherings, and sweets.  Who can be expected to say no to their favorite childhood dish? You don’t have to! There is a way to have your favorite foods without completing derailing your training or weight loss progress.  It all starts with a mindset shift. 

The “all or nothing” mindset held me back for a long time.  I thought that I either had to eat perfectly (count every calorie and make sure each food choice was “healthy”) or go all out.  To me there was no in between.  Either I ate healthy, or I ate as much as my stomach could handle.  If I’m going to eat ice cream, I may as well eat the whole pint, right?  Sometimes I would actually experience anxiety when going out to eat, because I knew I would have to make a choice between something good and something bad. What really began to change this mindset was my first Precision Nutrition habit, Eat Slowly, to 80% full.

At first glance, this seems like a very easy habit.  How hard could it really be?  The first time I timed eating a meal, it took me less than 10 minutes to finish.  I was embarrassed!  I couldn’t believe that I had just scarfed my food.  I simply ate what was on my plate with no regard to how much I actually needed.  I couldn’t even tell what 80% full was.  I just knew hungry or stuffed. As I slowly started to stretch my meals out, I noticed something… I didn’t need to eat all the food on my plate to feel full.  In fact, at times there was a lot left over!  This may sound really simple, but I have been amazed at how many people share the same problem.  In today’s culture everything is moving fast and people often eat with distractions (TV, smart phones, etc.) present.  This causes us to eat with no understanding of how full we are or how much we truly need.   

Once I began to eat slowly I started to take in fewer calories.  I didn’t have to eat a second helping of every meal to feel satisfied.  I could leave a social gathering without feeling stuffed to the brim.  Eating slowly allowed me to enjoy the foods I liked without over eating.  Yes, most of your meals should still be based around lean protein, veggies, and healthy fats, but eating slowly can keep you from overindulging on your favorite foods. 

This concept may not seem cutting edge or exciting, but I believe it is the missing link for many people.  I know it was for me!  Remember, how MUCH you eat trumps WHAT you eat.  Energy Balance is still the guiding principle for fat loss.  So rather than experiencing anxiety about what to eat, simply try to S L O W down and enjoy your food.  Break out the stopwatch and see how long it takes you to eat a meal! Anything less than 15 minutes is too fast. At the end of the meal you should feel just satisfied, but no more.  You will find you can still eat your favorite foods and continue to maintain or lose weight through the holidays (and win Net Zero while you’re at it)!

 


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