What did you eat yesterday? If you didn't record your food intake in an eating behavior journal (EBJ) or food journal as you went about your day, chances are you only have a vague recollection of what you consumed. Does it matter? Yes! Here's why.
When you are paying attention to your diet (meaning the foods you consume, not weight loss diet), you can make conscious, rational decisions about what you put in your mouth. You may even enjoy your food more. Mindless eating often results in poor nutrition, unwanted calories and weight gain. You may have heard this before: “It takes twenty minutes for the brain to register you have eaten and turn on your satiety signals.” If you eat too fast, you may overeat and bypass the feeling of fullness until it's too late. Repeated behavior like this results in dulling your satiety mechanism, so it takes more and more food to feel full. The good news is you CAN slow down while you eat, allowing your body to begin to recognize the signals that tell you you've had enough.
Second, when you eat too fast or you're not paying attention, you miss all the delicate flavors, aromas, textures, visual presentation and mouth-feel of your meal. When you get up from the table, out of your car or off the couch, you still feel unsatisfied and find yourself with an empty feeling and looking for more food. SLOW DOWN. Pay attention so you can appreciate the nuances of your food. You may even enjoy your food more and find less IS more.
Try this. Next time you feel like having a meal or snack, sit down at a designated spot. This could be your kitchen table (yes, some people actually do eat at a table these days!). Set a nice place setting, turn on some soft relaxing music if you wish, but tune in. Shut off the TV, BlackBerry, computer and phone, and close the book or magazine. Place your food, even if it's just a small snack, on or in the appropriate dish. Pause, look and smell your food before you dig in. Savor each bite; chew, swallow, pause and reflect before taking the next bite. Do you notice any difference? Describe it in your EBJ. The more you do this, the more you will enjoy your food and improve your nutrition and digestion.