Eating slowly has been something I’ve heard about for years. The theory goes, that if you are trying to lose weight, you usually have to eat smaller portions than you are used to. This typically means that you are hungry afterward. However, eating slowly is supposed to help you feel fuller. This is accomplished (allegedly) because your body doesn’t know its full until 20 minutes (!) after you’ve started eating.
I did some research on this over the weekend. It turns out that some smartfaces at Harvard did some research about this and its not as simple of an answer as we thought. In their article they say that the feeling of hunger is actually caused by two factors.
Eating Slowly Science
- Stretch receptors in the stomach tell the stomach that its full, these are activated as the stomach fills with water or food. But this alone isn’t enough to make you feel full.
- Overtime your body releases a hormone called Leptin, this hormone also communicates to your body that you are full. The tricky part about Leptin is, those of us who have weight problems are often “Leptin resistant” and it makes it harder for our brain to know we are full or that we’ve eaten enough.
I’m pretty sure that’s what Kirk was thinking in that scene right?
So, the bottom line is, we should be eating slowly to help our bodies feel full but our bodies also have to do their parts by giving us the chemicals our brain needs to know that we ate.
Eating Slowly Strategies
So, what do those of us with “broken” bodies do? Leptin and I aren’t on speaking terms, so we have to do its job for it. That means using a few key strategies.
- Always eating slowly, this isn’t just a strategy for us, this is a necessity. You should plan your meal to allow you at least 20 minutes of eating.
- Take a bite, tell a story. Listen to a story, take another bite. Drink something, take another bite etc.
- Do a mental check, think while you are eating if you’ve had enough. You have to take over the job of Leptin. Send your brain your own signal.
- Plan your meals to be the right size before you sit down so you aren’t tempted to keep going.
- Give yourself a small snack another 20-30 minutes after your meal. Plan this into your total calorie count for the day.
What are your strategies to overcome your stomach?