I excel in relaxation. Whether I’m vacationing on a tropical island or spending a weekend at home, I know how to relax and unwind. I enjoy it, and I don’t feel guilty about it.
But even during the week, I’ve noticed that time management is not my forte. Often times, I cut it close when showing up for meetings or spending time with friends. I watch my favorite TV shows on DVR because I’m never sure exactly when they air.
But last month I noticed one thing that I do without taking my time or relaxing, and that’s eating my food. I’m not talking about snacking or grazing. I’m talking about breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t eat particularly quickly. But I noticed that I would pick up my fork, and hold it continuously until I finished eating. I held it when I was eating and even when I was talking. I just never put my utensil down.
Soon after I noticed my habits at the dinner table, I started noticing the habits of the people around me. I watched strangers and friends, and I noticed that most of my friends who are in great shape put their forks down between most bites. They take a little longer to chew, and they drink water as opposed to other drinks. I drink water almost exclusively. I have no time for sodas or coffee, and I feel fuller than I did a year ago when I drank three cans or bottles or Dr. Pepper per day.
Anyway, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort, much like Jean Nidetch (founder of Weight Watchers) did. I’ve begun putting my fork down between bites — not every bite, but many. And while I still have to concentrate on doing such a thing, I am determined to make it a mindless habit.
I spend a lot of time exercising and preparing the right foods. Shouldn’t I give my body as many opportunities to feel satisfied as possible?
I measure my portions when I’m home and when I’m out. And while I have found that on some days, I feel full faster, the biggest change is that I know when I’m satisfied. By putting my fork down between bites, my brain has the opportunity to register that it’s full thus making it far less likely that I’ll overeat.
It may not seem like rocket science, but it’s taken several months of conscious effort to figure this out. Do you hold your fork continuously? Or do you take time to thoroughly chew and chat during your meals?