“Eat your water and drink your food”
This ancient quote pretty much sums up how we need to think about our eating habits in the simplest possible way.
Many of us take the miraculous process of digestion for granted. The journey from mouth to anus to convert outside material (food) into cells, bone, muscle, blood, brain tissue and hormones etc. is a miracle of biological engineering and we tend to only take note of it when it goes wrong. Considering 80% of people now have gut health problems, it’s now not to be laughed at.
This amazing journey starts in the mouth where the food should be broken down into a liquid by your teeth and saliva with digestive enzymes, then the pharynx and oesophagus where the food enters the stomach. The food is then broken down by HCL and enters the small intestines. This is where the food is broken down further to separate the good from the bad and absorb the maximum amount of nutrients. The large intestine followed by the colon is the last bit of the journey to complete the process. Then of course millions of other things happen to convert what was gained through the digestive process into what is needed by the rest of the body. Abuse this process and then the trouble starts. Eating too much is one way and eating too much rich food is double trouble that comes with a delightful side order of fat gain.
The point is, there’s no need to overburden the digestive system, even at this time of year… and yes, you can still indulge and have fun! Now, I’m as guilty as anyone for over eating (although not on a regular basis) as my brother and I, as well as friends would in the past have had contests in eating the most Christmas Puddings and Cornish pasties in one sitting while trying not to throw up after (ah yes the fabulous silliness of teenage years). But, aside from those rare moments of insanity, enjoying the festivities and losing fat is really rather simple.
Lets take an example here: The fabulous mince pie! Here is a process for you to think about with the mince pie and any food and drink this holiday season, one that enables you to never feel like you’re missing out on some tasty festive food again but also stripping down that waistline!
How to eat a mince pie.
- If you’re used to eating 4 at once? First of all, cut that right down to 1! With cream, just to make you happy.
- Use a small plate. Smaller plates make your eyes and brain think that the quantity of food is larger and thus, helps you feel fuller.
- Every time you take a bite, put your fork down and chew. I mean really chew here… remember the quote above. All food should be liquid before you swallow.
- Breathe. Diaphragmatically.
- Take your next bite, small bite and add some cream
- Repeat the process of chewing
- Once you have finished the mince pie (or cake or anything else) wait for at least 5 minutes before making the decision to eat another. Ask yourself if you really need to or can you wait until later during another meal time… the chances are, if you’re honest, you won’t need another just yet!
Some notes on this… It will take your brain 20 minutes before feeling like you are full after eating a meal, so slow down the eating process and you will eat anything you want this holiday but less of it. This is of course key to your weight loss goals through till January. There’s no need to ruin all the work you’ve done so far.
I’m off to eat some homemade paleo mince pies, just two, I promise!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays