I tried everything else. But the time came to take things to a whole new level. A scary level for me.
After a lifetime of throwing food down my face like it was drugs I was trying to hide from an imminent police invasion, I needed to learn to slow things down.
How Slowly, You Ask?
I’m by no means perfect. I still multitask when I eat, and often eat standing, neither of which are recommended by the strong advocates of mindful eating.
But I went from barely chewing my food, to utterly and completely chewing the hell out of each and every bite. Slowly, oh so very slowly. In addition, I put my utensils down in between each bite. This was quite a difference for me, since beforehand I would be readying myself to put more food in my mouth long before I swallowed the previous bite. I was like a vulture, ready to swoop down on my prey.
But here I was, chew chew chewing, and waiting (somewhat) patiently for the next bite to come.
This was tough, although it did get easier as the weeks progressed. It started to become somewhat of a habit for me. But I could never keep this craziness up if there were no results to speak of.
So I’ve been slowly chewing my food like crazy for six weeks. What do I have to report?
Random Results of the Chewing Experiment
Well, first the random items that don’t make any sense to me (yet).
For one, I’m thirstier and seem to need to go to the bathroom more often than before. I don’t know why. My best theory is that I’m, essentially, drinking all of my food. I’m chewing everything until it’s basically a liquid, so in essence, I’m drinking a ton… and hence the bathroom visits.
And speaking of liquids… one of the weirdest things I’m experiencing so far is a craving for hot beverages. All the time. I know it’s winter, so it’s logical. But it’s never happened to me before. A few cups of coffee here and there. But always for the caffeine jolt, never for the heat. In fact, the heat was always a deterrent for me. And I was happy to have an iced coffee, if it meant getting the caffeine into my system quicker. So craving hot beverages is an entirely new and odd sensation for me. And I have no idea why this is happening.
New Perception of Food
So, the main changes I’ve experienced so far in this new world I’ve entered:
I’m starting to perceive food differently, which is a really welcome change. I think twice before putting most things in my mouth. My thought pattern usually goes like this, “Eating is more of a task than it used to be. Before I would just unthinkingly shovel massive amounts of food in my face. But now it takes time. It takes effort. If I’m going to eat this, I need to be committed to the task at hand. Is this particular food worth it?”
And that thought pattern has a serious impact on just about everything I eat.
And I love it!
For the first time since I can remember, I’m slowly starting to get in touch with what the sensation of “full” feels like. Generally speaking I usually only felt full after gorging myself on a whole lot of food, or after eating a bunch of red meat. But this was an uncomfortable sensation. I wasn’t full so much as in a bit of pain, and somewhat grossed out by my own gluttony.
If I didn’t get to that point, I basically just had to decide to stop eating. It wasn’t my body saying it was comfortably full. It was me telling myself, “OK idiot, it’s time to stop eating everything in sight.”
But it’s changing. It’s amazing! I feel like I’m getting closer to knowing when I’m good to go. I don’t necessarily know how to follow the signs just yet, but I’m most certainly moving in the right direction.
Husbands = Human Garbage Disposals
As is the ritual of many men across the world, I’m usually the spouse garbage disposal. I finish my food… and then I finish whatever my wife does not.
But the other night was a new and different experience. I was done eating. I felt full, which was already a unique and exciting experience. But then she gave me her food, and, well, ya know… tradition.
I ate it.
And then I got a stomachache.
And I was so happy.
Yes, happy with a stomachache. Why? Because my body was starting to send me signals I hadn’t received in decades!
Full? This is a concept I’m not so familiar with. But I desperately want to be! And I’m overjoyed that the possibility of having any understanding of the way my body processes food and hunger singles is actually within my grasp.
But what about the important stuff?
But everything up to this point is just words. It’s all theoretical. If I learn to feel full or have a better relationship with food, I’m still not going to be happy if I don’t see results. I’m going to get frustrated, and I’m going to give up.
I weigh myself every Friday morning. For the last several years I’ve angrily gotten on the scale to see myself wavering in the 191-192 range. Every single week, no matter what I did. Intermittent fasting? Reduced carbs? Cutting out sugar? Extra cardio? It didn’t matter! That scale wouldn’t budge, and it got to the point where I would dread stepping on the scale every Friday. It was too damn frustrating to see the same old crap each week.
One week into my chewing slowly adventure, I hopped on the scale and I marveled at the 188 staring back at me. Was something finally working? I had dipped below 190 for the first time in years. And I was very, very intrigued.
And each week I would step on the scale again and again. Each time a little fearful. Fearful that my progress would stop. Fearful that upon seeing an unchanging number I would lose the motivation to continue.
How far can this go!?
But each week I marveled as the numbers were going down and down and down. And here I stand, six weeks in. My most recent weigh-in had me at 179.4, about 12 pounds down from the weight I started at. In just six weeks! I look good. I feel good. And I couldn’t be happier that I finally found something that is working for me.
Chewing slowly is not easy… but it’s getting easier. Of course, how could it not be getting easier? Look at the results I’m receiving!
Will I ever become a super hippy-dippy full-on mindful eating nutjob? Highly unlikely. But I’m a convert to the world of chewing slowly. I just wish I started twenty years ago!
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