Most of us tend to live fast-paced lives.
We’re always focused on the next task and what we want to accomplish.
As in, we have a very, very hard time slowing down.
This directly translates into your eating habits.
You will condition yourself to become a fast eater.
Where you’re eating under constant, low-level grades of stress.
From this place, you cannot achieve the results with your body that you want.
In today’s episode, I teach you how to become a naturally slow eater.
And how this is one of the most underrated and simple practices you can do to change your eating habits for good.
Hello, friends. Happy thanksgiving week. I cannot believe it’s already this time of the year. So crazy to me. I know it’s a bit different for everyone, with the circumstances of this year, but to me, this year has flown by. I feel like March was yesterday. So, it’s crazy to think about how we’re already at Thanksgiving week. I hope you’re remaining healthy and positive at this time. And I hope that you’re celebrating Thanksgiving this week in whatever way makes sense to you. I know this year things look a bit different to say the least. And we’re all just adjusting. And that’s okay. But just because this year’s Thanksgiving looks a little different, doesn’t mean that the same thoughts around Thanksgiving aren’t there. And what I mean by this is that many of the humans have a lot of worry and guilt associated with the Thanksgiving holiday because of what that means for them in terms of eating. When you’re on this journey to changing your eating habits, Thanksgiving can feel like kind of a burden. Like it’s this big dark cloud that’s there to mess up your progress and make you feel horrible about yourself afterwards. And this just isn’t true. You can completely enjoy your Thanksgiving and everything it entails without feeling like you ruined your healthy eating goals. So, in today’s episode I want to share something that can really help you do this. And that’s the concept of slowing down when it comes to eating. And of course, this won’t only apply to Thanksgiving. This will apply to all areas of your life when it comes to food. But it’s especially useful this week. When so many feel like they’re out of control with their eating habits. And it’s just not true. You’re always in control. And slowing down with food is a wonderful way to remind yourself of that during this time of the year. When there’s more opportunities to indulge in foods we love.
Now, before I get into specifics with slowing down when it comes to food, I want to talk about the fast paced nature of our lives. It’s no secret that in our society, especially the United States, we pride ourselves on being very fast paced. As in, we’re always doing one thing right after another. There’s very little room for pause. And of course this will depend on your specific lifestyle, career, family – all of those things – but for the most part this is true in our culture. We have a very, very hard time slowing down. When it comes to all areas of life. Especially in this day and age where the next task or activity is available at our fingertips, right? Technology allows us to access work, communication, social media – at any given moment of the day. Fifty years ago it was normal to clock in and out of a job. Nowadays, you can take your work with you everywhere. Little dings from your cell phone throughout the day remind you of what still needs to be done. And what this does to us over time, is it leaves us in an on-going stress response. Now, a stress response can be both an emotional event and a physiological event. Which just means it has an effect on both your brain and body. And there’s two types of stress I like to focus on in my practice. There’s the more momentary stress-response. Which is more immediate and instantaneous, right? This would be the fight or flight stress response that would be triggered if a mountain lion jumped out and tried to attack you. That’s a really random example, but you get the point. This is a triggered stress response that happens instantaneously. It happens in the moment. Then, there’s the other type of stress-response. Which is a more gradual, long-lasting, low-level stress response that can live inside you indefinitely. It’s like a low-vibration stress response that you’re constantly carrying around. And this is what most of us, in today’s culture, are dealing with. We’re carrying around this low-grade stress with us all of the time due to the fast-paced nature of our lives. Now, this on-going stress affects you in many ways when it comes to food and body. It will de-regulate your appetite over time, it will increase weight retention, and it will make you a very fast eater.
And I want you to really take a moment and think, do you consider yourself a fast eater? It’s really interesting because most people have no idea that they are fast eaters. I know I certainly didn’t when I started this work. You guys, I was the fastest eater. Like, I would finish a meal quicker than anyone at the table. And here’s what’s really interesting. In the beginning of my health journey, I would feel really ravenous with specific foods. I was experiencing all the cravings and always felt like I wanted to eat. Which was because I was restricting foods and not feeding my body properly. So, I took care of that. And started eating a diet that my body liked. So, I managed to eliminate my cravings where I wasn’t feeling ravenous during meals anymore. But, it’s so crazy. I noticed I was still a really, really fast eater. Even without those cravings. And this is because it was a learned habit. I conditioned myself to become a fast-eater based on the low level on-going stress response I was experiencing. And I want you to know that if you’re a fast eater now, that’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s very normal. I promise you, most humans in our culture are conditioned to eat very quickly. It doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong with you. And it doesn’t mean you’re not perfectly capable of eating healthy and getting the results with your body that you want. What it does mean is that you’ve conditioned yourself to become a fast eater based on the stress you’re experiencing. And it means that these fast eating patterns are affecting your ability to get the results you want. It’s going to affect you losing weight, eating more intentionally, and taking ownership when it comes to your eating choices. On top of this, fast eating patterns actually further perpetuate stress in your body. Since fast eating will literally signal to your body that food is running out. Thereby further increasing that stress response. And a stress response to your body is really just a survival response. So, in response to fast eating your body is going to be like, “What’s going on here? There must be a reason she’s eating so quickly. Maybe we need to hunker down, slow our metabolism, retain weight, just in case we won’t have access to food in the future”. And it’s funny to think about this way, but I promise you, this is generally what your body is thinking when you eat quickly.
So, what I’m getting at with all of this, is that fast eating will not bring you the results you want. And it seems like such a small thing. And it is. It’s a very simple change we can always make. But it yields amazing results for your body when you transition from being a fast eater to a slow eater. And that is the goal I have for you and all of the clients I work with. The goal is for you to make the switch from an on-going stress response to an on-going relaxation response in your body. And the way you do this when it comes to food is by learning to eat in a relaxed state. You learn to slow down your eating patterns. And all this means is you’re creating intentional awareness around the eating practice. You’re, in a sense, learning to eat very mindfully.
Now, this sounds great, right? Eating mindfully. Slowing down. It all sounds very pretty. But I really want you to understand why this is important. While it’s nice to make your meals more of a spiritual, present experience, that’s not why I’m suggesting you do this. It’s because as soon as you commit to creating a relaxation response, your body will begin to heal. And when I say heal I mean, your body will begin reverting the processes that were created by the stress-response. For example, your cravings will lessen and your appetite will become more regulated. You will stop retaining weight and your metabolism will slowly increase over time. Basically, when you commit to slowing down and creating this relaxation response, you’re telling your body it’s okay to slow the ‘eff down. You’re telling your body it’s safe. And that it can stop being in survival mode all of the damn time. And this is something we have to intentionally tell our bodies when it comes to food. When you eat quickly, your body just assumes it’s time for it to trigger a stress response so it’s keeping you alive. It doesn’t know you’re eating quickly just because you’re really busy. It thinks you’re eating quickly because you’re in danger. Or because food is in short supply, right? So, we need to teach your body that it’s all good here. That you’re not in danger. And that it’s safe. I know I’m going real hard with this one. But it’s so important. And it’s a really underrated practice.
Slow eating is really the goal here. To remove the stress response from your body when it comes to food, you will have to become someone who eats consciously and slowly during their meals. Now, once again, I’m going to be very real with you. I happen to be a naturally fast-paced person. I am someone who is always thinking of the next step to take. I’m always on the go. So, when I first heard this, that I needed to slow down my eating patterns, I was like, “Whaaaat? Are you serious right now? How in the hell am I supposed to bring myself to eat slowly every single meal? Come on now”. And it’s super hilarious to think about. When I first started eating slowly I thought that meant I had to like eat in slow motion. For any of you who have seen, what’s it called, Zootopia, it’s this really cute animated Disney movie. For those of you who have kids, I’m sure you’ve seen it. And in that movie there’s this sloth who works at the DMV, and he obviously moves super slowly. It’s hilarious. This is how I thought I had to eat in a sense. Like slow motion. Which felt very kind of frustrating. It just didn’t feel useful. And I want to tell you right now. That is not what I’m referring to when I talk about slow eating. Slow eating is really about conscious eating. Where you’re intentionally savoring the experience of every bite you eat. And that will look a bit different from everyone in terms of the amount of time that takes. But, you need to be honest with yourself. Chances are right now, you’re probably eating a little fast. So, just practice savoring every bite in whatever way that makes sense to you. For me, this means I’m taking the time to chew my food and experience it. That’s it. And I know this sounds simple, but when I was a fast eater, I was barely even chewing my food. I was totally unconscious to the eating process. And this is why I felt unsatisfied from my meals much of the time. It’s because I wasn’t even truly experiencing them. So, just take the time to chew your food and experience it. Be really present with your meals when slowing down. Not only will your body begin to heal in all of the ways. But you’ll be able to better access your natural body wisdom.
Also, I want you to take a moment to brainstorm and think about how you can intentionally create a nourishing environment that would promote the relaxation response in your body. In other words, what eating environments most compel you to eat slowly? I know if I’m in front of the TV, I’m way less likely to savor my meal because I’m so distracted. So, maybe for you consider eating at the table. When you first start doing this, you want to make it easy for yourself to slow down and be really present with your meals. Then, once you’ve conditioned yourself to be a naturally slow eater, you’ll be able to do so in any environment.
And I mentioned this in the beginning, but if you’re feeling a little stressed out over Thanksgiving, and what that means in terms of your eating, put this into practice. Slow down your eating so you feel more relaxed. Take the little moments to savor each bite of food. And give yourself permission to enjoy the eating experience. Because what normally happens with people, is that they’re conditioned to eat quickly. So on Thanksgiving for example, they’ll do just that. And then they’ll finish their Thanksgiving meal having eaten way past what feels comfortable for them. And they’ll feel unsatisfied from that meal for the most part. So, they’re just left feeling regretful, shameful, and out of control after that meal. And this is all because of fast eating. Now, here’s how I would like you to approach your Thanksgiving meal instead. Or any meal for that matter, if you’re listening to this after Thanksgiving. I want you to sit down at the table and consciously take each bite. Savor each bite fully and check in with your body during the eating experience. Ask yourself if you’re naturally still hungry during the meal, and ask yourself at what point you feel naturally full. Practice having a very intentional awareness over that meal. And I promise you, by doing this, you will finish that meal feeling satisfied and empowered by every eating decision that you made.
And here’s something I want to leave you with. Slowing down with food is really just about slowing down in life. When we eat quickly, it’s just a reflection of how we’re approaching our lives in general. So, when you make it a point to slow down your eating, you’re making an intentional decision to slow down your life. And this will not only promote a relaxation response during your meals, but it will also promote relaxation in all areas of your life. And this is a perfect example of why our work with food, and the work I do with my clients, is so much deeper than losing a certain number of pounds. It’s so much deeper than fitting into your old jeans. While those are amazing side benefits, the real magic of this work is how it trickles into all areas of our lives. Where you end up becoming someone totally new after you put the work into practice.
So, I hope you take this with you. Whether that’s during this Thanksgiving holiday or at any other time of the year. I’m so thankful for so much this year, but I’m especially thankful for you. I’m so happy you took the time to be here with me today. Have an absolutely wonderful holiday weekend and I’ll talk to you next week.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.