Updated: Mar 4, 2022
In 2022, I want to focus on nourishing foods and healthy habits that we can ADD to our day vs. foods and habits we have to remove, which can lead to a very negative and restrictive mindset.
Over the last two weeks, I challenged you to add a green vegetable to your diet everyday. Continuing on the theme of adding nourishing foods and healthy habits, your challenge for the next 2 weeks is to ADD my favourite mindful eating habit - Forks Down!
I love the habit of putting your fork down between bites during meals and snacks because it’s a domino habit: it creates a domino effect that leads to many other good eating habits and health benefits:
1. Eating slowly and enjoying your food vs. shovelling it in. We’ve all done this - head close to the plate, using a fork as a shovel to load food into your mouth. The next bite goes in before you’ve even swallowed the previous bite.
2. Slowing down helps you realize that you’re satisfied before all your food is gone, which leads to:
a. Lunch leftovers vs. finishing the food on your kids plates (a few bites of Annie’s mac n’ cheese is not a nourishing lunch) or grabbing fast food
b. Breaking the habit of having to “finish your plate.” Many of us were taught at a young age to finish all the food on our plates. While I understand the reasoning behind good intentioned parents (food waste, getting enough healthy food, etc.), this habit squashed our ability to pay attention to our body’s important hunger cues.
c. Tuning back into your hunger cues: Have you ever watched a little kid eat? They have no problem leaving those last two bites of delicious waffle on their plate, and walking away. They’re satisfied, and haven’t lost the ability to realize that. Eating slowly gives us time between bites to check in, and figure out what hunger level we’re at. If you’re feeling 80% full, and satisfied - walk away.
d. Disassociating being finished eating with being full or stuffed: this ties into that old habit of having to finish all our food, and we’ve become comfortable with the feeling of being stuffed, and it’s become a signal that we’re done eating. What if we could associate being finished eating with being satisfied or 80% full?
e. Weight loss: if you consistently leave food on your plate after realizing you’re satisfied, you can cut out anywhere from 100-300 calories per meal. That’s about 200-600 calories per day, which is 1400-4200 calories per week, which could lead to weight loss over time (you need to burn or cut 500 calories daily or 3500 per week to lose 1 pound). Simply leaving some food on your plate can help you accomplish your weight loss goals without having to go on some crazy diet!
3. “Forks down” also gives you time to chew your food longer, which allows the digestive enzymes in saliva to start breaking down your food before you swallow, leading to better nutrient absorption and digestive health.
Your challenge over the next 2 weeks is to put your fork down between bites - good luck!
To learn more about mindful eating, check out: The Mindful Diet.