The SIMPLEST Nutrition Tip + 5 Ways to Start Practicing it Today!

July 31, 2018

(First of all, how dope does that auto-stylized photo of my romanesco and purple cauliflower from the Farmer’s Market look?? Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell you to eat that. Although it is delicious.)

Hey there Rockaholics and welcome back (finally) to Down With The Fitness!

I’ve had a lot on my plate but it’s great to be back. One of the things on my plate was getting certified as a Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition. This is one of the most well-respected organizations in the health world and they taught me a TON of stuff I’m excited to share with you!

Fear not! I didn’t go off the deep end into full-on ketosis or veganism or any of that. Matter of fact, I haven’t even told any of my clients to stop eating pizza or chicken wings!! Or any other delicious modern foods that commonly aren’t so good for the waistline. And people are STILL losing weight!

How?

Well, there’s a lot of factors we work on together. It’s not about taking an extreme approach (those can be effective, but are rarely sustainable); it’s about improving little things gradually and letting them add up over time, for the long haul.

Speaking of adding, that’s a big thing we focus on. Instead of subtracting wings and ice cream- which would make me extremely hypocritical- we add things like vegetables and protein. We eat more real food. Simple stuff. We essentially check into the game of paying attention to what we eat, how we eat, and how much we eat, instead of sitting on the sidelines. Common sense stuff takes you far when you actually apply it consistently!

Everything I just mentioned involved WHAT to eat. It’s awesome and certainly speeds up the process, don’t get me wrong, but today I wanna take a step back and talk about HOW you eat.

EAT SLOWLY

How you eat right now is probably wayyyy too f***ing fast. I can say this confidently enough to put an asterisked f-word in there (what up corporate!) because I still do it, and I’m educated on the subject AND help others practice it!!

I can also confidently say this because a good chunk of our capitalist food supply chain is designed to keep people mindlessly shoveling down high-calorie, low-nutrient food as fast as possible. (AFAP? Lol.) They make stuff taste so good it literally sets off the same part of your brain as cocaine! That kind of addictive behaviour is obviously good for business. It’s not so great for the country’s health, though.

A lot of this food is loaded with carbohydrates, AKA carbs. Well, here’s a fun fact about carbs: up to 20% of their digestive process can occur in your mouth thanks to your saliva! You read that right. One fifth.

(There’s also enough confusion surrounding carbs to warrant it’s own blog post. Suffice to say for now, they’re not all created equal. Some are better for your health than others. Whether you’re getting your carbs from quinoa, beans, and bananas, or muffins, pasta, and soda; you could be digesting them up to TWENTY percent better just by slowing down your eating.)

The other main reason eating slowly is effective, is because it takes your brain at least 20 minutes to get the signal from your stomach that it’s starting to get full. When you eat slow, it’s much easier to stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed. When you eat fast, you’re stuffed by the time you get the signal and you’ve still got 20 minutes of food coming down the pipes. Then you’re bursting at the seams and ready for a nap. I’ve been there plenty of times. Eating slower is the best solution.

When you slow it down, you also get to notice more things about the food. A lot of that highly-processed food that’s designed to get you behaving like a lab rat with an 8 ball dangled in front of it’s nose, actually doesn’t taste so good once you get past that initial half-second “flavor” burst of chemicals that seems so great at first, but quickly leaves you wanting more...

You know what tastes f***ing amazing when you eat it slow? Fruit. Carrots. A nice juicy ribeye. Pizza. Chicken wings. Everything on the menu at Pie Bar.

I’m not saying eat kale 4 times a day. I’m saying no matter where you get your carbs- or calories in general- from, you will be savoring a lot more flavor (it doesn’t rhyme when you switch up verb tenses, dammit!) by slowing down.

It’s simple. It’s not easy. Especially if you’re wired like me. (The medical term for that is ADHD.)

This is a fun, worthwhile approach to eating, that doesn’t have anything to do with changing what you’re already eating. You really think I’m gonna come in here with my new certification like: “Alright f***ers, clear out those fridges, delete the pizza place from your contacts, sign up for an organic produce delivery service, AND NO DESSERT EVER AGAIN!”??

That sort of Tony Perkis approach is not my “speed”. Just slow down your eating and notice what you find. A lot of people don’t enjoy certain brands of chips quite as much when they start this. A lot of people, myself included, LOVE dessert even more because they have more time to enjoy each individual bite. Bacon? Even more amazing.

You get the idea. Eating slower is awesome and astonishingly simple. It won’t turn a keg into a 6-pack overnight, but it is a great first step to change your relationship with food for the better. It is the number one foundational habit I work with my clients on, and they’re having some incredible results that will last a lifetime!

It’s not fancy. It’s not specific... It’s also not rigid or restrictive, though! Actually, it’s actually kinda fun. Approach it like a game to see how often you can actually remember to do it, and what you notice as a result. That’s it.

There’s not much to it. At this point, the seed has been planted. You’re in the game now. There’s no turning back. I may sound crazy but you can’t NOT try it out if you've made it this far! Once you try it out, you can’t quit. It may be difficult to remember and execute on, but that will only make the challenge more intriguing because it’s so damn simple.

Now, let’s get to some actionable advice. Here are my top 5 methods to help you eat slower:

  • Put your utensil down between bites. If you’re eating finger food, put the food itself down between bites, not your finger.
  • Add roughly 5-10 minutes to each meal. You can guesstimate or use a timer.
  • Take a sip of water between each bite. This will also help you feel fuller, for zero calories!
  • Eat with your non-dominant hand. This one is my favorite. Maybe don’t do it on a first date though ;)

The first four too involved for you? Okay here, I saved the easiest for last:

  • Take a breath between each bite.

Okay fine, here’s a sixth, even SIMPLER one, as a bonus since I’ve missed you:

  • Chew slower.

Pretty simple stuff, right?

Good, because remembering to do it, and actually doing it are a little trickier… Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Have fun with it out there!

We'll get back to exercises next time. You can get all the previous ones here.

Take Great Care,

Matt