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Meal Time – Its not a race.

By | Lifestyle, Men's Health | No Comments

How long does it take you to eat a meal?  

15 minutes?

7 minutes?

3 minutes?

I have always been a quick eater. I can remember my mother scolding me for swallowing forkfuls of macaroni and cheese whole without bothering to chew a single time. My mealtime speediness continued to be honed during my time in boot camp. Meals were inhaled so fast that my fork never stopped moving along the path from my tray to my mouth.  At times utensils were skipped altogether and field rations were guzzled directly from their foil pouches. For me, a 3-minute meal was a stretch.

All that fast eating hasn’t done my body any favors. There is some lag time in the signal transmission between our stomachs and brains. By the time my brain gets the “full signal” from my stomach, I have most likely consumed hundreds of extra calories through mindless eating. Those extra calories can compound to become extra weight and an unhealthy body. Without fail, if I eat too quickly, I eat too much- no matter how healthy my meal is.

One of the simplest ways I have found to live the best version of myself is to SLOW DOWN.

Slowing down is easy to think about, but elusive and tricky to put into practice.

Here are 4 tools that I use to pace my eating:

  1. I settle myself before each meal.  I bless my food, take a few deep breaths, let go of the day’s stress and focus on my meal.
  2. I drink water between bites. Taking a drink between bites slows me down by making me set down my fork. At the same time, it helps my body with digestion and nutrient absorption.
  3. I try to chew each bite at least 10 times. Again, this practice adds time to each bite and allows the enzymes in my mouth to do more work of breaking down my food before it hits the rest of my digestive tract.
  4. I socialize. When I am eating with others, I spend time building relationships and community. Not only does this slow me down, it allows me to share experiences and ideas with those I care about.

 

That’s it, I don’t have to buy any fancy pills, I  don’t have to struggle through cravings for foods given up in pursuit of health.

I simply give my body the time to process.

 

You can do this too.  It doesn’t have to be all 4, at the same time.  Pick one and give it a try for a week or two. Listen to what your body is telling you during your eating experience and honor the “full signal” when it comes.

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Different

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

I have always wanted to be someone different.

In grade school, I wanted to be my neighbor who had a room full of Legos.

In high school, I wanted to be the jock with a good body or the witty guy that everyone was always trying to hang out with.

In college, I wanted to be the life of the party, the biggest drinker, and the most popular with women.

In the Marine Corps, I wanted to be the next higher rank.

In my working life, I wanted to be the leader with all the answers, or the project manager that could keep all the details straight in my head.

The funny thing is, I always thought becoming what I wanted could happen overnight. Like Peter Parker’s spider bite, some extraordinary event would befall me. I would wake up one morning and I would be all the things I ever wanted to be without ever having to lift a finger.

Not so surprisingly, change doesn’t happen like that for 99.99999% of the people in this world.

Life-long, permanent, healthy change has two essential parts. First, establish a vision for yourself as the best version of who you want to be. Second, with that vision clearly held in your mind’s eye, wake up everyday and do the work of consistently finding one small area of your life to make more like the future you, the best you.

Looking back, I realize I missed both essential parts. First, my desire to be someone different was misguided. Trying to be something because I am jealous of the benefit it gives someone else can never lead to the best version of me. Second, yearning for change without physically doing anything about it is a lousy way to actually make that change happen. What I wished would happen overnight with very little effort on my part has taken years of patient repetition to make even the slightest gains.

So, can everyone change? Yes. Without a doubt in my mind, I believe anyone can change. But for any change to be effective and last a lifetime, it has to be for the right reasons and it has to be done with patience.

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