ARE YOU THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS EATER?

Eating a meal – very often is just another task on so many people’s to do list. They eat super quickly, so that they can just tick one thing off their list and move on. Doing this however comes with its disadvantages. Very often mothers tell their children – to chew their food, eat slowly. It is not just something that mom’s say – there is a reason to it.

Did you know – that your speed of eating can be one of the factors that determine your body weight?

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Why so? The brain takes some time, about 20 mins to process the chemical messengers from the stomach that you are full. When you eat fast, means you are not paying attention to your signals from your stomach and it typically leads to you over-eating as the brain hasn’t received the message to stop yet. That’s why despite of eating – you don’t feel full and you reach out for more food. Now imagine, doing this daily over every meal. What are the results – Weight Gain!

Today we want everything – FAST. Fast Internet, Fast Cars, Fast Food and most definitely FAST WEIGHT LOSS. Yet, speed always isn’t good. When you are doing something nice or having a good time – don’t you want time to Slow down, so you that you can cherish each moment?

Eating slowly with complete awareness is a natural appetite regulator and a powerful tool when it comes to losing weight. When you direct your entire focus on your meal in front of you, involve all your senses into it, relish and savor every bite – you automatically slow down.

So the next time you sit down to a eat – just sit down, say a little prayer or grace, thank the food in front of you and give it your complete attention. You’ll not only enjoy your food, but you will also naturally regulate your appetite, maybe lose a few kilos or inches 😉 and most importantly, you’ll remember that your mother was right. 😉

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FOOD – NOURISHING THE MIND, BODY & SOUL

Every time I think I need to write my blog – I realize there are so many topics I could write on, so many myths I could dispel, yet somewhere I realized I was missing a point – something a lot more deeper – something I really needed to write about and did not know what that was. At the same I have been really engrossed, enchanted and mesmerized with Steve Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson, and I totally agree with Steve’s love for Simplicity.

How often do we end up complicating things in life, purely by just over thinking or over analyzing and then end up complaining life is so complicated! There is always a simple answer to every problem, yet we choose the most complex ways to solve it, because we simply cannot believe Life can be simple. Let us take an example of our diets – don’t we readily jump, read and believe theories which tell us – some foods are amazing and how eating them would miraculously make us skinny and how some food are bad, and why we must avoid them like the plague. (And a few days later, there will be another theory speaking the exact opposite – so what really is true.. God alone knows!)

No wonder it is said that Common sense is the least common thing! Why can we not be simple with our food and food choices? Why go to extremes – why completely eliminate certain foods, why only eat certain foods?

Now let us talk basic. Scientifically thinking – what is the purpose of eating? Why do we eat food?

Answer: the body uses food to perform one or more of four main functions:

To supply energy – Food supplies the fuel or energy needed to perform the many tasks of everyday living. We need energy to think, breathe, walk, sit, speak and even sleep. We get energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important that we eat enough food to supply all our needs. If we don’t, we will feel tired and listless. Having no energy can be compared to a car that has run out of fuel. On the other hand, if we eat more food than what our body needs – we do know that it makes us FAT

For growth and repair Food provides the materials needed to build, repair and maintain body tissues. Proteins, fats and minerals are the best nutrients for growth. Growing bodies need extra amounts of these nutrients. Every person whether growing or not, is going through a continual repair process of replacing injured or dead cells. It is food that supplies the nutrients necessary for this process.

For regulation – Food supplies the substances that help regulate the body’s processes. Water, vitamins and minerals help regulate breathing, the nervous system, digestion, blood circulation and the elimination of waste products from the body. They help keep all the systems in the body working properly.

For protection – Vitamins, minerals and protein keep the body’s tissues and organs healthy. Healthy organs are less likely to be attacked by disease.

This is what science has to say! But is this why we eat food or is this how we decide what we will eat for lunch or dinner? Though some of us do include certain things in our diets that are aimed at health, yet 80% of our food choices are emotional. Very often after eating amazing food we say – ‘what a soul-satisfying meal?’ or ‘dil khush ho gaya’. So doesn’t this imply that our foods not only nourish our body but our soul too! Great food can have an uplifting impact on our mood and vice versa.

How about we get simple with food? Can we eat not to just stuff ourselves but to nourish our soul? Enjoying our now, reveling in the beauty of the world and the simple pleasures of existence are equally important to our survival as food is. Gratitude and a sense of abundance, no matter how little we may seem to have, makes us happy, content and fulfilled. Perhaps all these may even help the body metabolize our food better.

Being skinny or size 0 can never guarantee enlightenment, happiness, or inner peace – it is instead a choice we make. In every moment can choose to be happy NOW, love and accept our body the way it is TODAY.

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I would suggest a small exercise by Louise Hay for a week – “Cease all criticism of yourself and others. Accept yourself as you are. Praise yourself as much as you can. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit, praise builds it up. Look into a mirror often and simply say: I LOVE YOU, I REALLY LOVE YOU. It may be difficult at first, but keep practicing and soon you will mean and feel what you say. Love yourself as much as you can and all of life will mirror this love back to you.

And after a week assess – how you are feeling? How your body is responding to a simple change in your thoughts? See how nourished your soul feels after receiving this love? Would love to hear your experience.  🙂

 

9 Commandments to Effectively Handle Emotional Eating – to Go from i-Crave to i-Understand

1. IDENTIFY YOUR HUNGER

Is your hunger physical or emotional? (Refer to the comparative chart on the previous post to determine if your hunger is based the physical need to eat, or emotional need to eat.)

If you ate a few hours ago and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you may not be “truly” hungry. Give it 5 minutes and see if the cravings are present yet.

Also –

  • When having a meal stay away from all distractions. Switch off your tv, you cell phones. This will help you put your complete focus on the food in front of you. Now with every morsel of food – try and involve all your five senses; see the food in front of you – the colour, the variety; smell the aroma of food, feel the texture in your fingers, taste the various flavors and finally enjoy the silence of your meal. This will make you more attentive towards your food and help you get in touch with your real hunger signals.
  • To help determine if your hunger is physical or emotional, try asking yourself questions like “When was the last time I ate?” “Am I suddenly hungry or I have been hungry for a while now?” “Do I really need to eat this specific food that I am craving for, or can I substitute it for something else?”
  • Create healthy alternatives to eating. Whether it’s a walk in the park or curling up with a good book or talking to your friend or even playing with your pet – planning other activities will help you relax and avoid binge eating.

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2. IDENTIFY YOUR EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS

Emotional eaters must become aware of their reasons for wanting to eat.

A long drawn but a great way to be more aware of your emotions surrounding food is to keep a journal and record how you feel before you eat and after you eat. Write down what you eat, how much you eat (portion sizes), when you eat, how you’re feeling when you eat and how hungry you are (on a scale of 0-10). Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal emotionally driven eating patterns and you will see your triggers that you need to avoid.

Top 6 Emotional Eating Triggers

  • Stress and Anxiety –Oh God! I am so nervous and edgy. Munching on the bag of chips or a tub of ice cream makes me cope with it better.”
  • Loneliness – “I am alone, I don’t know what to do or I am lonely and sad – let me just switch on the TV, watch a movie and order in a pizza”
  • Anger –I am so angry with XYZ, and what makes me more angrier is that I can’t tell XYZ how angry I feel – so let me just munch on anything I can lay my hands on”
  • PMS – “where is that CHOCOLATE? I need it NOW!”
  • Sadness and Depression – “I am feeling so low – only a good dessert would make me happy”
  • BOREDOM“I am bored and I have nothing to do, let me what is there in the fridge or the pantry or the kitchen”

3. AVOID KEEPING YOUR SNACKY-MUNCHY FOODS AROUND

  • Avoid keeping your comfort foods at home. Give yourself special days that you allow yourself to have “treat” foods available, and only in MODERATION
  • If you are planning on food shopping and are also feeling hungry or low, postpone the trip for a few hours so that these feelings don’t influence your food choices at the store.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time! Knowing what you plan to eat ahead of time, will make you look forward to every meal, as you know exactly what your next meal would be and will make it less likely that you will opt for an unhealthy option, even after a stressful day.
  • Eat every 2 – 2 ½ hours. Eating frequently and in small portions throughout the day will help to keep your blood sugar stabilized, keep your energy and mood up, and prevent cravings for sugary or fatty foods.

4. EAT A BALANCED DIET

  • If you are not eating enough in your normal meals – for the fear of getting fat, you may not be getting enough calories to meet your energy needs for the day and that may make you more likely to give into emotional eating. So try to eat at regular times and never skip breakfast. Include foods from the basic food groups in your meals (carbs, proteins and fats). Avoiding or reducing any of the food groups – leads to a lot binge eating. Get your portions and proportions of these correct. When you eat your basic food well, you are more likely to feel full longer.

5. EXERCISE  

Participate in regular physical activity. Be active for a minimum of 40 minutes for 5 days a week. Go for a bike ride, run or even a swim. Every little bit counts!

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(Image Courtesy – http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=55003566)

6. GET ADEQUATE REST

Your mood is more manageable and your body can more effectively handle stress when it is fit and well rested. You can also do relaxation exercises such as imagery and guided visualization, deep breathing and meditation. Try tai chi or yoga.

  • Get enough sleep. If you do not sleep well when you are stressed, it may have an impact on your weight loss efforts, and often will cause fatigue leading to emotional eating.
  • Develop a ritual to help prepare you for sleep, and try going to bed at the same time each night.
  • Deep breathing, yoga, and meditation are all great ways to ease emotional stress, and to help you fall asleep more easily.

7. DEAL WITH YOUR STRESS

Since lack of emotional support is directly linked to the tendency to binge-eat, it is important that you build your own reliable support system. This could mean talking with a counsellor, or a friend or starting a healthy weight loss program.

  • If you have difficulty expressing your emotions verbally, try getting them out on paper. Maintain a journal or write a letter to even to yourself writing in detail about how you feel. Avoid judging or critically analyzing your own feelings. Acceptance of what you feel and where you are helps
  • Be sure to schedule time to spend with your friends or loved ones or family works wonders. Building relationships doesn’t happen overnight, so make spending time with those you care about a priority.
  • Make yourself your No.1 Priority. This is not about being selfish. It is about SELF – LOVE.

8. LEARN TO COPE WITH CRAVINGS

We all get food cravings, and often we all give into them. It is how we deal with these – is actually what will make or break our dream body efforts.

In essence, we subconsciously desire food that might bring on a specific feeling like a sugar rush or comfort. These “comfort foods” may have more to do with emotional security than a desire for food.

SO, THEN WHAT TO DO? TIP – The key to dealing with any food craving is to select times that you will give into them. If you deny your cravings all the time, you will only drive yourself to binge and eat more of what you crave once you do indulge. Select a day once every 2 weeks or once every month – where you eat the food you love! Be honest with yourself, and understand that having a treat does not mean having an entire day devoted to poor food choices.

9. COMPLETE WELLNESS OUTLOOK

It is important to remember that we eat to nourish our bodies and not for comfort. Look at food as nutrients that fuel your body. Every vitamin, mineral or nutrient that you put into your body helps to maintain your youth, vitality appearance, energy, fitness and health. Combine your food with exercise and a happy spirit, and you’re on your way to living happy, eating guilt free yet MINDFULLY!