Have you been through military boot camp? I haven’t, but I have many family members who have. One thing I have heard consistently is that during boot camp eating meals was not given priority on the schedule, and the DI’s attitude was usually “eat now, taste it later.” Which they often did. Burp!
When my boys were young they seemed to delight in burping their ABCs. Lovely, eh? But they were doing it on purpose, mostly to bug me. When you are burping – or passing gas – involuntarily, it is usually because the food you ate is not being digested properly, or you gulped it down with a lot of excess air.
Even if you don’t experience a lot of burping, if you are regularly eating on the run, you are not supporting effective digestion and your body will pay the price.
Physiologically, digestion is part of the parasympathetic nervous system – also called the “rest and digest” activation. Those two functions go together. It’s not “run” and digest.
What can you do to add a little “rest” to your digestive process? Here are a few ideas …
- Sit down! Don’t grab your food and charge out the door. Give yourself a break and take a seat.
- Pause …. take 5-10 deep breaths, pausing each time before you exhale. This is effective for calming stress, and helps to balance the nervous system.
- Chew more than usual. “Chomp – chomp – swallow” is not chewing. Chewing is the only voluntary part of the digestive process and is important mechanical and chemical preparation for the next stage. Practice really chewing – until your food is nearly liquefied – and notice how you feel afterward.
- Put your utensil or sandwich down between bites to keep you from being tempted to rush to the next bite.
- Still finding a slower pace challenging? Try eating with chopsticks (unless you are already proficient) or with your non-dominant hand.
EDITing your approach to slow the process of eating your meal will not only support better digestion downstream, but will also give your body time to register that it is full. During the meal, your body will release a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) which signals the brain that you are full. CCK is generally released about 15-20 minutes after the meal begins, so eating too fast can set the stage for overeating. Slow down and give your body an opportunity to gauge the volume of the meal.
We have been talking about ways to skip the diets and focus on EDITs to improve your health. If you put these tips into action, you will likely be satisfied when eating less. That could support weight loss as you pursue wellness for you, for life – because health is wealth.