You may think it’s only what you eat that is important, but the truth is, it’s also how you eat.
These 6 habits are a surefire way to fall off track with your weight loss, so read on to learn about what they are and what to do instead:
- You don’t chew your food – It sounds simple, but many of us don’t chew our food enough. The first digestive enzymes are released from the mouth and they start the digestion process of carbohydrates. Inadequate chewing means this digestion doesn’t get facilitated within the mouth and food enters the stomach less digested than it is supposed to be. The result is partially digested food that sits in the stomach and putrefies, leading to symptoms of bloating and gas, or undigested food that is passed through to the large intestine and causes constipation. Either way, this poor digestion is not conducive to weight loss, absorbing maximal nutrients or filling you up.
- You eat in front of the TV – Or the computer, or your phone, but whatever the case, you are distracted and simply shoving food in your face. This leads to you not having a good idea of how much you have eaten and mindlessly reaching your hand into the bag of chips for more, and also leads you to be unable to focus on your cues for hunger and satiety. The result is you don’t know when you’ve had enough food and are satisfied and this may lead to overeating. Mealtime is for meals, so make eating the only focus and avoid all other distractions to ensure you don’t gobble down extra calories, which derail your weight loss goals.
- You’re eating in a rush – You’re late for your lunchtime meeting and you didn’t get a chance to finish your lunch at the office. Since you were sitting at your desk, on the computer, texting a colleague and still eating it anyways, you decide to just pack it up and take it with you, finishing it on the way out of the office and in your car in the five minutes you have left. If this sounds familiar, and is a regular occurrence for you, you may be struggling to lose weight because you are eating on the run. Eating on the run doesn’t facilitate proper digestion, meaning you don’t feel full and satisfied and tend to snack or grab a treat on your way past the coffee shop later. Furthermore, it can be a big cause of acid reflux and indigestion leading to bloating, gas and general discomfort. Sit down to eat your meals, pay attention to your hunger cues and let your food be properly digested and absorbed to optimize your weight loss success.
- You guzzle a drink while you eat – Drinking lots with your meal dilutes the enzymes and digestive juices in your stomach and makes it harder for them to do their job. This, combined with the fact that there is liquid in your stomach that acts as a great medium to move the food through means that the food is more easily passed into your bowels without adequate digestion, leaving you with irregular bowel movements, poor absorption of nutrients and feeling fatigued and unwell due to poor digestion. Avoid consuming liquids 20-30 minutes before and after your meal.
- You don’t have a meal routine – There’s a reason your mom always made you eat as a family around the table, prefaced by setting the table while she cooked dinner. Having a routine like this helps prepare your body for eating a meal. This is important to ensure the proper secretion of enzymes, which are responsible for digesting your food, and proper digestion is essential to help you feel full and satisfied, as well as help you recognize your hunger and satiety cues so you don’t overeat. If you’ve fallen out of the practice of a meal routine since you moved out from under mom’s roof, get back into it and make it a daily habit.
- You eat meat and potatoes meals – It’s not just the fact that it’s meat and potatoes, and has a low nutritional value, but the fact that these two foods constitute poor food combining and can lead to digestive havoc within your gut. The body secretes different enzymes to digest each carbohydrate, proteins and fats, and each of those works best on the one they were designed to digest. This means that when you eat meat and potatoes, and hence combine carbohydrate and protein into one meal, the enzymes are not able to as effectively digest their target food and the food will sit in your stomach longer, or may be passed through only partly digested. Aim to consume carbohydrate and vegetables or protein and vegetables, but not protein and carbohydrates in the same meal!