"Eat somewhat less, but eat it more"
Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Recently during a podcast I heard these words and they really resonated with me. They come from a quote by a gentleman called Horace Fletcher. Horace was around at the same time as our Hypnotherapy pioneers Emile Coue and Milton Erikson, Horace was nicknamed "The Great Masticator". He believed that chewing food to a pulp was the best way to aid digestion and held many other benefits.
Some disagreed with his theory stating that the bowel needs a certain amount of bulk to process food efficiently, but there is a lot to be said about his thoughts on the subject.
I got to thinking about the chewing. I decided to become more aware of chewing my food - consciously aware of each mouthful and I started to notice a few very significant things. Firstly I slowed down, savouring each mouthful, counting and chewing as much as I could, secondly I was more aware of the textures and the tastes in my mouth and thirdly - I was consciously present and connected with my meal, not distracted by working or the TV and this spiralled many more thoughts about food and our relationship with it.
“We have to eat drink and consume, but if we do it unmindfully we may destroy our body and our consciousness” - Thich Nhat Hanh
Are you present when you eat your meal? Do you take time to look at the food, smell it?
How are you feeling when you eat? Does this affect what you eat?
"Eat not at all in a worried mood, or suffer harm from the best of food"
Irritable Bowel syndrome has been associated many times to stress levels, stress being the primary cause, affecting digestion. Then we have are emotional triggers to food - "Comfort Food"
I personally dive for chocolate when I am feeling like I " need a treat"
How does your body feel after you have eaten? Satisfied? Full? Bloated? Craving something else? For many years I ignored the potential allergy I have to Gluten, being diagnosed with stress related IBS or a sensitivity to particular foods, onions, garlic etc.
I decided after keeping a food journal to cut out gluten and the change has been incredible. I also realised that my body does not like red meat - and eventually I cut out meat altogether and this has been of huge personal benefit to me.
Fletcher also said
" Don't cause your blood pressure to rise, by prizing your menu by its size"
Remember that saying your Mum or Granny used to say to you " You've got eyes bigger than your belly" or " Come on eat all that up, if you clear that plate you can have a dessert" Have you ever been so full you feel sick? Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner? The meat sweats? We can easily eat ourselves into a "food coma" and then feel tired and sluggish.
Stop when you are full, this may happen sooner if you chew your food more, giving your stomach more time to recognise that full feeling.
I noticed also before lock down that if I went out to a beautiful restaurant and paid for a fine dining experience I sat longer, paused more, visually appreciated the food, often stopping to photograph it as it always looked so beautiful ( see my insta account for evidence of this) I noticed my environment more, the way I was feeling and savoured every mouthful of the expensive food, and I realised, shouldn't it be this way when I eat at home too - or at work or even on the move?
We have gotten so busy that we have maybe lost that ability to sit and be mindful about what we are eating, why we eat it and how it makes us feel afterwards.
We need to be aware and present in our relationship with food and our emotional triggers if we want to lose, gain or maintain weight to be our ideal shape and size and to be healthy and full of energy.
So the next time you sit down to eat, really think about it, look at what you are eating. Is it nourishing, are you grateful for it? How are you feeling? Are you really tasting the food? Are you really chewing it? Are you distracted or focused on eating? Smell your food, relax and be undistracted ( that means not eating and watching the television at the same time)
For more information about food journaling or to discuss hypnotherapy as a potential support to weight loss or gain email me.
In the meantime - Enjoy your food, and eating it and don't forget to chew.