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Slow Down to Slim Down!

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Looking to drop some pounds? Read on -- our nutrition expert shares her secrets.

woman eating

JJ Virgin: A recent article in the Washington Post shared seven secrets of highly obese people. What they revealed is that obese people eat from larger plates, consume greater amounts of food, eat faster than their slim counterparts, and clean their plates (oh yeah, and they skip breakfast too!). In our world of supersizing, this is not good news.

When we consume our meals too quickly, the feeling of fullness and satiety are delayed, causing us to overeat. Inhaling food makes it tough for our digestive systems to function properly, resulting in heartburn and indigestion. Frenzied feeding causes the gut to contract, sends us running to the bathroom, and prevents necessary nutrients from being absorbed by your body. Consequently, weak digestion leads to a weak immune system ... leaving you susceptible to illness. The interplay of proper nutrient ingestion, digestion, and absorption to your overall health is quite spectacular!

How do you know when you are eating too fast? Well, if you don't fully swallow each bite before taking the next one, that's a red flag! Believe it or not, the whole digestion process starts in your mouth in the chewing phase. Chewing well grinds food into small bits, allowing it to be more easily swallowed. Well-chewed bits of food are more easily coated with digestive juices once in the stomach. Chewing well also allows the molecules of nutrients from the chewed food to be more quickly released and assimilated. Keeping food in the mouth longer allows the food's flavors to be recognized by the tongue. When the tongue recognizes the flavor, it sends a message to the brain, which in turn sends messages to the digestive system, resulting in the release of the digestive juices needed for that food.

Bottom line: We should be chewing at least 20-25 times per forkful!

Follow these nine strategies to shift gears from chowing down to slowing down during mealtimes:

• Never "dashboard" dine. Like laws to prevent folks from using cell phones while driving, the nation should enact new regulations to prevent us from eating in our cars!

• Eat meals at a regularly appointed time at your designated eating area, i.e., the dining room or kitchen table. Last time I checked, beds and sofas were developed for other purposes.

• Focus on your food -- be mindful not mindless, and tasteful versus being tasteless!

• Use chopsticks -- I dare you to eat quickly with these suckers.

• Shrink your plate to shrink your belly -- remember that the average person's stomach holds about 1 quart of food. Look at your plate, and make sure the food quantity matches up.

• Load up on non-starchy veggies for volume -- your body and your health will thank you for getting in five to 10 servings a day!

• Put your fork (or chopsticks) DOWN between bites -- perhaps spend those seconds chewing per the above guidelines?

• Shrink your bites and increase your chewing.

• Remove the food triggers -- do you have a candy dish on your coffee table? Get rid of it! Don't leave candy or sweets in view; in fact get all the enemies out of the house!

next: Gosselin Home Video: From Pregnancy to 8
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
abbi September 13, 2009, 12:02 PM

does being obese also make you stupid?
these are SIMPLE, COMMON-SENSE tips and steps that it shouldn’t take only a lean person to figure out.

Close the mouth a little more so you don’t put more food in, and exercise your brain power.

Besides, it doesn’t take a moron to also figure out that lean people everywhere are disgusted, and mortified by their fat brothers and sisters. It’s really a disgusting epidemic that’s taking over the human race.

I’ve never met a single lean person (who works for it with healthy diet and exercise) not cringe and be disgusted at the prospect of being fat or even overweight, which is just as unsightly and hinders movement as well.

Claire Larr December 2, 2010, 8:01 PM

It was definitely a interesting post. On the other hand I am having difficulty getting your web site to display properly with this firefox browser, any suggestion what might be the problem???

Ebony Hesse February 14, 2011, 10:11 AM

Keep all the posts coming. I love checking out your posts. Thank you.

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