Monday, January 7, 2013

Back to Basics: Savor the Flavor


I don't know if this will become an actual series or not but it seems the appropriate time of year and all.  When I was lumbering around the house at 494 lbs, the first change the Mr and I made was t0 chew our food thoroughly.  That was literally one of the most simple ways we lost our first 40 lbs.  The Mr was (and kind of still is) a "wolfer."  He competed with two siblings and his parents for food as a kid so it was take or be taken at the dinner table.  Even once he married me, he still had that mentality despite my habit of always making sure he had a little more than I did.

215 lbs. later I am fairly confident that our weekly portions are under control but the weekend portions aren't.  It's like when Saturday comes there is this insatiable feeling that comes over me that I just want to fill my gullet with everything in sight.  I don't obviously but there are days I feel like I can't get enough.  I am thankful for the days I don't indulge that and go so insane that by night's end I have to sleep sitting up to keep myself from yakking in my sleep.  Oh yeah, it's happened.  (Not actual yak but that reflux stuff.)  Part of that feeling of wanting to shove everything in there is that it's so good and not what we eat the other six days of the week so I feel like I have to cram as much in as I can to last for another week.  I am going to make a conscious effort to go back to basics and savor each bite.  This means chew each bite 10-15x, put the fork down and a sip of water between each bite.  I not only want to do this on high cal days (though those are getting a shake up soon as well) but more importantly every day.

It's just generally a good habit to get into.  It aids digestion, makes you less likely to be bloated and therefore less "musical" and it gives your brain a chance to reach that 15-20 minute mark to signal that you're full.  When I did that with dinner last night, it felt like it lasted me much longer instead of me counting down the hour until we could have our snack.  I need to make this a habit and get back to what helped me in the beginning to carry me to maintenance once I've reached my goal.  I'm tired of being 1/3 there and not moving past that.  It's good but not good enough!

Do you make a habit of chewing your food really well or is this an area you could improve on?

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40 comments:

  1. Great advice. Eating slowly and stopping when we were full worked wonders for us early on because it lead us to figuring out what real portion sizes were supposed to be. While our portions are more in line with reality now, we should still work on keeping that habit. I have not done as well with it as I would like so I am going to work on it more.

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    1. Yes, I think we definitely need to get back to that. It's helping me this morning with breakfast too.

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  2. My back to basics step this week is to drink more water. I'm so bad about that, and considering I've gained a lot over the past few months, I need to make changes, but I need to go slow and do it right. I will keep this tip in mind as well. I'm sure I could use the savoring too.

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  3. I definitely need to slow down at meal time. Well, suppertime anyway. My problem there is that breakfast and lunch are eaten at school and I have the same amount of time as the kids. Less actually when you figure in lunch duty 2 days a week and breakfast duty a third. Between having 10 minutes for breakfast and 27 minutes for lunch and trying to keep the kids from killing each other it doesn't leave a lot of time for chewing. Suppers, weekends and vacations I tend to eat at the same pace even though I don't need to and I'm invariably the first one done. Slowing down is definitely something I need to work on.

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    1. 10 minutes for breakfast! Yike! Hopefully you can slow down in the non-timed meals.

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  4. I can improve on this for sure! And I like the idea of this being a series, in case you were wondering. We all can use the reminders and I like hearing more about how and what worked for you and the Mr. That's my vote! This week I am working on walking..."just put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking"...a mile or more!

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    1. Vote taken. ;) Good luck on the walking goal. I'm envious of you getting to do that for exercise. I'm dying to get back to a normal routine!

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  5. I really need to improve on this! I notice when it's something I really want I will eat too much of it, and usually afterwards I realize how satisfied I would have been if I'd just quit halfway through. I have to get out of the mentality that I need to stuff it all in like it's my last meal on earth. Thanks for this.

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    1. Very true. I did that with some pizza we had over the weekend. We both commented it wasn't very good but we were famished. I stopped short of eating my half and felt better for it and was perfectly full.

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  6. This is something I have to consciously think about. I am also a wolfer. It's like I think I'll never have food again or something! I do find that when I slow down and enjoy each bite, I feel satisfied and don't want to keep eating. So, I am continually trying to work on this. I will never forget when I was a kid I had a cousin who was very thin and pretty, and ate whatever and never gained weight. She was an extremely slow eater t hough, and we'd all be done before her. I said, "Wow, I have never seen anyone take so long to eat. Hurry up so we can go out and play!" Her dad, my uncle, said to me, "Well, maybe if you ate slower you wouldn't be so fat." I have had so many similar things said to me throughout my life, and I have never forgotten a single one, unfortunately.

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    1. Sorry...I'm picking my jaw off the floor. I can't imagine an uncle saying that to his niece or I suppose I can't imagine me not smacking an uncle who said that. When will adults ever taken responsibility for their words and when will they ever learn that just because you think it doesn't mean you need to SAY it!? GRRRRR!

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    2. Even my own mom would talk to me that way. I grew up in a very abusive, chaotic environment. My own mom told me no man would ever want me because I was fat and I would never get a boyfriend. When I would run by in gym on the track, the other kids would act like the ground was breaking. It's sad I remember more of these types of things from when I was a kid than I do anyone saying something nice to me.

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  7. I hear ya on that..I wolf down stuff and then wonder "hmm where did my dinner go?"...lol...

    My back to basics is to keep in the lower range and not let go of tracking at dinner...

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    1. It's so easy to do, isn't it? You'll rock your goal this week, I'm sure!

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  8. I DEFINITELY need to think about this more often. Whenever I eat something really delicious, I find myself feeling like "I'm so full, but I love the taste of this food so much, I con't want to stop!" I need to work on telling myself that I am not deprived of food. If I want to eat more later, I can, and it will still be there for me if I save some as leftovers.

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    1. YES! I do the same thing! It's like if I could swim in a vat of whatever I'm eating I'd be happier than a pig in slop but sadly I'd look like one too so better nix that idea! LOL

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  9. I feel like I am the most well behaved on the weekend, but I think it is because my husband and son are here to hold me accountable. I have always been a closet eater (that's what happens when you are 8 years old and every bite that goes in to your mouth is scrutinized by EVERY member of your family).

    As for the S-L-O-W chew. I really believe that it works. There was a time that I was following Dr. Phil's plan, and the slow chew really helped. I was able to lose weight despite eating chicken fingers and fries for lunch every day. I chewed each bite 30 times, maybe I need to get back to that!

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    1. The Mr was the same way...a 'sneaker' and for the same reasons. 30x eh? I might just give that a go!

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  10. I'm definitely a wolfer, and I too appreciate the reminder. Yes, please make it a series. Since it takes nearly a month to establish or re-establish a habit, maybe you could give us a new tip at least once a month, and we could all work on it together.

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    1. I think it's something most of us could use a reminder on. I think we all eat too fast in our busy lives. Thanks for the vote for the series! :)

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  11. That's a great idea- I never thought about it like that. I do realize that sometimes after I eat I can barely remember what the food tasted like; I need to learn to take more time!

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    1. I do the same thing. It's like I get so entranced by the food I barely take the time to enjoy it.

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  12. I really appreciate you "getting back to the basics", because it helps remind me of some things I still need to implement to get healthier. Eating mindfully is one thing I know I need to work on. I like that you set a very measurable goal of chewing each bite 15-20x. Please, if you are on the fence about making "the basics" a series, know that I will be avidly reading each of those posts (I read them anyway, but I will really sit up and take notice on the "Basics" posts!)

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    1. I think we can all use reminders, myself included! Since several have mentioned they like the idea, I think I've got myself a series! :)

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  13. Yup, this is a good one. Thanks for the reminder. Water is a good one as well but latley I've been trying to have one serving of fruit or veggie at each meal. It's amazing how you can go so long without something fresh and good for you.

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    1. No prob! You're so right about that too, there's nothing better than getting back to it after eating pure crap!

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  14. This is a really good technique to get BACK to!! I know that A LOT of Lapband folks are committed to that. As a 12 year post op RNY I know that I do not always chew chew chew. I fill up real fast BUT I am not a good chewer now so many years out. Thanks for sharing this. It will be on my mind when I catch myself WOLFING my food and it does happen. thanks.

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    1. Yep, my mom did it when she had her RNY about the same time. I know she had to do that for at least the first 6 months. It's a good practice for anyone.

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  15. Thanks for the reminder to savor my food. Too often, I wolf it down, sometimes I have to swallow extra hard to get a mouthful down, cause I haven't chewed enough. Isn't that awful? I'm going to s...l...o....w down. I know I will enjoy my meals more!

    I used to hate that feeling in bed after stuffing myself late into the evening, where you're too uncomfortable to sleep. We go out to eat after hubby's bowling league at 9 p.m. on Thursdays. It is a ritual, we go with the whole family (who bowls with him), and take turns picking the restaurant. Even before I actually started losing weight, I had decided to cut way back on what I ate that late at night, because it made getting to sleep impossible. Of course now, I always eat light and most often have a salad when we go out. And now I never wake up with that awful reflux/heartburn. Tums are a thing of the past.

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    1. Yeah I hate it when you have to swallow a little harder. I always get the headline in my head of "fat lady chokes on naan." Good on ya for going for the salad on bowling nights. No one likes that gross feeling when you're trying to sleep.

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  16. I don't chew and savor the food that is in my mouth as long as I should, I'm too busy swallowing it down so I can fill up again. Rushing my eating means that I stuff too much in before my body realizes it's full, so eating slower, savoring every bite and chewing it well would be helpful for my body to realize that my reasonable portion of food is all I need. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. I know how you feel. Especially if I'm eating something on high cal day, it's like I can't eat it fast enough.

      You're welcome, hope it helps!

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  17. If I get too hungry, I'm a wolfer, but my worst new habit is starting to eat while I'm bringing my plate back to the office (a.k.a. dining room). Working on it! :)

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    1. It's always good to be mindful of those things so we don't slip into a habit we don't particularly like.

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  18. I get the same way on Saturdays. Sometimes I feel like I spend the whole week counting down to it, which is probably not very healthy! But on those Saturdays when I don't go overboard, I feel SO MUCH BETTER. So I'm also trying to keep myself in check. Not give up those extra calories on Saturday, but be more mindful about them.

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    1. That's a good way to look at it. Hopefully I can do that too!

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  19. Thank you for the reminder - my aunt used to tell me that was how she stayed thin. I was a skinny teenager at the time and did not heed her advice. I will start today! (I am no longer a skinny) teenager.

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  20. It's so interesting that you bring this up because I was just thinking about you over the weekend and how you'd mentioned in the past that this is how you and the Mr first started on your journey. I was thinking about that because I, like your hubs, have been a wolfer my whole life and it started when I was very little. Food was used as a weapon against me and kept from me (I literally survived on a big bag of generic cherry jello that I kept a spoon in and hidden between my mattress and headboard when I lived with my father every two weeks). I'm embarrassed to say that I STILL wolf down my food and I can tell you during the binge days, I couldn't even tell you what the food tasted like because I ate it so fast. There was no "savoring" going on, and that's a huge regret on my part. I sometimes believe that I have no clue how to eat, ettiquette not withstanding. I'm always the first one done with lunch or dinner and I'm never satisfied with what I did eat. My hubs has always been a slow eater and has absolutely no problem leaving half a sandwich on his plate and throwing it out if he's full. WHAT?!@#$ I've been a member of the clean plate club since I could walk. So I find it so timely that I was just thinking about you and this very subject and here you write a blog about it! I'm truly going to make this my focus for the month. Chew 10-15 times, put the fork down, and drink some water in between each bite. I'll let you know how I do at the end of the month!

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  21. This hits a little close to home. I started choking last night while wolfing. I handled it, but man, it made me take a step back and think about how I needed to slow down and chew. Why am I not chewing? So weird. I need to take smaller bites and chew. geez.

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