A simple trick to keep excess weight off

Have you ever dreamt of eating whatever you fancy and get thinner instead of heavier? This is a big dream for most people living in the so-called first world where there is a massive offer of flavors and textures to the reach of our taste buds.

Maybe this is the reason why we produce “light” food, sugarfree sweets, fatless butter … also taste-less?n Very often these products deceive us because they are just a bad copy of the flavor we remember. But go on reading, there is a way to make this better ….

 Do low-calorie products really exist or are they only a little calorie-reduced?

If you take a close look at the “light” or “low calorie” product, you very often realize that the difference in calories is not as important. It is much lower in taste and enjoyment than in calories.

Sometimes, as with diet coke, the change in taste is so radical that …. it may not even be worth it for you.

In most cases  the product maker is only substituting one ingredient for other, for example, fat for sugar, sugar for sweeteners, or sugar for fructose, which makes them doubtfully good for our health.

There are no miracles. Food has the calories that it has, but we need to also look at other components of food. Food is not only the calories that are shown on the label, and also not all calories are burnt in the same way. Food also contains nutrients that are essential for our health and that allow us to have a fulfilling and happy life and that bring a flow of vitality to our body.

Although what I said before is some kind of obvious, I have also found myself at times, choosing my food based on the calories that it contained and not taking into account the other nutrients that were also included. I think counting calories is easier than really worrying about being really healthy and it makes it a simpler way to deal with food intake.

However, recently, studies show that in weight gain and loss, there are more parts involved than just food, sometimes, excess food intake is not even the most important part of weight gain, but we will talk about it in another post.

So, if it is so, what can we do?

The oldest kind of exercise in history …. Chewing 

Ok … chewing might not be the oldest exercise in the history of humankind. Sure you can say that simply moving or walking came first. But one of the first things we do we when we come into this world is looking for food and sucking like crazy moving our jaws to survive out of the womb. At least this is what my three kids did. They did not stop to say hello … they looked for food.

I can read your thoughts while reading this … I already chew. That is great news, you chew your food. Now let’s take a closer look. Stop and count. How many times do you chew every bite? Eat something and count.

Now that you know how many times you chew each bite I can tell you that chewing your food throughly and letting it stay a bit in your mouth before you swallow it, is a great help to keep a healthy relationship with your food and extract from it all the nutrients.

You might have heard the word “Fletcherism” before. It is an idea that comes from the USA, just like so many others, but this one good and healthy, just for a change in what regards food.. Around 1885 Horace Fletcher, who suffered from important health problems, solved them in 6 months thanks to a special diet which consisted on chewing his food throughly until it became some kind of a soup before he swallowed it. He maintained the idea that every bite should be masticated at least 32 times. Soups and purees are easier to swallow, but according to him we should keep them in our mouth for some seconds until they were well salivated.

You can have a look at Horace Fletcher’s life in this Wikipedia article. Fletcher has supporters and detractors, but it is also true that there are examples that support his thesis. One of these supports come from Lino Stanchich. Lino learnt form his father, a survivor of the nazis concentration camps, to chew his food 150 times or more. His father had survived the terrible conditions of the camp chewing his food throughly, so throughly that it became water. This gave him more energy, war(father) was one of the few survivors of the camp.

 

Some of the benefits of Chewing 

 

1- One of the main benefits that I can find in chewing my food throughly is that I find so much satisfaction in smaller amounts of food that I need to eat less to feel completely full and satisfied.

2- It also improves digestion. Mastication pre-digest food in our mouth and makes actual digestion easier and faster. In this way we also show our marvelous stomach that we love it and care for it. A little compassion for this loyal life companion that is our stomach will not harm us at all.

3- A third benefit is that mastication facilitates nutrient absorption. Digestion in fact starts in our mouth where we initiate the absorption of the vital mineral, vitamins … that our food contain. As you know … if you are very hungry… eat slowly… food will reach your cells faster.

4- Chewing our food improves intestinal transit. It makes our guts peristalsis easier.

5- There are some more benefits that I am not going to name to avoid boring you with long lists, but there is one that I cannot leave unnamed. Consciously chewing our food is a form of meditation. It is a way to be more present in our now, helps us be more relaxed and calms down our anxiety to eat … This only  makes it worth it for me to move my jaws up and down until my food is reduced to a puree for babies.

 

So what are the downsides of Chewing?

Chewing throughly has no downsides … however it can a bit boring for some of us. So I can give you 3 ideas to improve your chewing:

  • Count the times you chew each bite.
  • Duplicate the number of times you chew every bite you take. If you chew your food less than five times, make your new chewing fashion be at least 10 up and down jaw movement for each bite.
  • Pay attention to what is happening in your mouth: to the flavors, textures, temperatures … There is a whole festival taking place in your mouth with every bite.

 

There is a meditation that you can use to pay more attention to what happens in your mouth. I learnt it from Jan Chozen Bays and have adapted it to my own needs. You can find it bellow:

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