Good morning friends! Welcome to the start of a new week, another week of opportunities to chase your goals. Last week Crown Publishing sent me a copy of Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky's new cookbook called "Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow." to review on the blog. It's a cookbook tailored towards runner's nutritional needs. It is chalk full of healthy, whole-food recipes to give runners the nutrition they need to perform their best.
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I made the Superhero muffins last weekend, and they were a huge hit. Even hubby who doesn't always prefer my "healthier" versions of recipes was eating them like hotcakes. They are delicious for a post-run refuel made with oats and almond meal, flavored with honey, walnuts, and real butter. I was thinking next time I make them I may add collagen powder for an added protein boost.
In honor of my new cookbook obsession, this week is Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow week on the blog. Today we will talk more about nutrition, the benefits of eating slowly, and how to develop the habit of eating slow. For 'Workout Wednesday' I'll give you tips for running fast, and on Friday I'll share more details about the superhero muffins from the book. Are you ready to run fast, cook fast and eat slow?
I write a lot on this blog about the importance of developing healthy habits instead of crash dieting or extreme exercising. Habits are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. It's hard work in the beginning. It takes time and effort to cultivate, but once healthy behaviors become routine, they are effortless. You begin to eat healthily and exercise because it is a habit, like brushing your teeth, drinking your morning coffee, or taking a shower, it becomes just what you do.
The struggle and mental battle of making the "right" choices goes away almost entirely because you end up wanting to eat the foods, and move your body in a way that makes you feel your best. The healthy choice becomes the choice you want to make most of the time. Beautiful, right?
It's simple in concept, but it's not easy to execute. You have to work at developing those habits. It takes time. Habit development isn't a three-week challenge. If you try to change all your habits at once, you set yourself up for failure. Too much at once and your mind will rebel against all the changes. You have to take on habits one or two at a time. Then once those habits are ingrained, add a new one. It's not sexy or exciting. It takes time, but it's effective for a longterm healthy lifestyle.
WHY EAT SLOW?
Because Shalane Flanagan says so and she wins marathons, just kidding. One of the first habits I like to work on with my clients is the habit of eating slow. In our rushed society, many of us are eating our breakfast from behind the wheel or in front of a computer screen, but there are health and weight management benefits in slowing down and paying attention.
It takes about twenty minutes from the start of your meal for your brain to send the signal to your body that you've had enough. If you're anything like me, you may scarf your food down in seven minutes flat and have a second serving before ten minutes have passed.
When you eat too fast, you risk overeating because you don't allow your body the time to recognize that it has had enough. When you eat slowly, you can start to feel fullness signals while you eat, not after you've finished, once it's already too late. You naturally can control your portions based on how satisfied your body feels, which goes a long way in weight loss and weight maintenance efforts.
The benefits of eating slowly include better digestion, easier weight loss or maintenance, and greater meal satisfaction.
HOW TO EAT SLOW
Eating slowly is hard. It's hard to remember to do it, and it's hard to execute it when you do remember, especially when you have a million other things to do right that minute. But it's important, and it's worth it to take the time to eat your meal slowly. It takes practice.
SET A REMINDER
Some of my clients tell me they finish their meal before they remember to try to eat slowly. Good thing we usually eat at least three times a day, it gives us plenty of opportunities to practice, and habit development is all about practice.
Set a reminder on your phone at meal time to remind you, or place a post-it note on the table where you sit, or in your lunch bag with a reminder: EAT SLOW!
One of the reasons we eat so fast is that we are distracted. We are catching up with our Instagram feeds, emailing our boss about why we'll be late, or watching Netflix while we eat. Start by removing distractions and giving your full attention to what you are eating. Enjoy every bite.
Sometimes when I give my dog a treat, he bites my whole hand off, swallows it whole then begs for seconds. We are not so different than our canine friends. One easy way to slow down is to chew your food entirely with each bite. Try counting the chews. It slows you down and helps you to be more mindful.
Set your fork down and take a sip of water between each bite. If you were running a race, I'd advise you not to start out too fast, but to pace yourself, so that you can endure the distance. You want your meal to last at least twenty minutes so you must pace yourself so that you don't run out of food before time is up.
It's a good exercise to set the timer on your phone when you start eating to bring awareness of how long it takes you to finish your meal. Do it a couple of times and see if you can improve your time.
BUT I DON'T HAVE TIME?!?!?
I know. In our hurried, stressed lives it seems that anytime we can save a minute or two, it is in our benefit. When your kid is throwing green beans at you from the behind the high chair, eating slow may not seem like a priority. I get it. We don't have time. No one has time.
I challenge you to weigh (pun intended) the benefits vs. the time saved. An extra 15 minutes at each meal over time can help you lose or maintain your weight, feel more satisfied after meals and improve digestion. It's hard. It takes time, but it's worth the effort.
It's the small habits that add up to significant results. Too many people are looking for the next supplement, diet book or miracle workout plan when the real answer to a longterm healthy and fit lifestyle is in the basics. Eating slow is a fantastic first step. Are you willing to give it a try? It sounds easy, but it's harder than you think.
Let me know how it goes. You can find me on Twitter at @Leagenders
Know someone who might benefit? It helps me when you share with your friends and followers.