Eat slowly Dr Viola Zulian

Eat slowly

An ancient Japanese proverb reads “Eight parts of a stomach support a man, the remaining two support his doctor.” Given my work, I could not agree more than that, 100%. Thank goodness, today, we must not take a bow and arrow to go hunting for an animal; we simply have to open the pantry and every good will be present. The fact of not having to walk for miles to get food, makes us eat very often and what we eat is immediately stored in the form of adipose tissue. That most of which the proverb speaks, refers to the portions that forcibly become more important and that go to feed obesity, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. So here are some tips that I suggest in the clinic to stop at the famous eight parts mentioned by the proverb and not necessarily continue to eat to pay the university to your doctor’s children!!
This test was designed by the endocrinologists of the University of Montpellier (Prof Avignon) where I did my master’s degree in nutrition. It is indicated if there is a problem with the preparation of portions too abundant and a deficit of sense of satiety (overeating episode). It must be done during 3 or 4 days, during the same meal (or lunch or dinner).
  • You prepare the single dish as you would have the habit of doing on any day but stay in the kitchen.
  • One wonders how hungry one is and gives one from 1 to 10 votes.
  • Instead of bringing the plate to the table, it is divided into four / fourths (as in the figure), and placed ¼ in a dessert dish.
  • You sit at the table and eat the first quarter, sitting, with a set table, the most beautiful cutlery, a napkin, without TV, without telephone, without pads, light music is allowed but not the radio.
  • Eat mouthful after mouthful and place the cutlery between bites. Each bite should be chewed at least 15 times and you should try to control the moment of swallowing, that is, do it voluntarily and not mechanically.
  • Once the dish is finished, place the 5-minute stopwatch on the telephone or in the kitchen timer. During these 5 minutes, people get up from the table and voluntarily do other things outside the kitchen or the dining room (you could take a shower, call a friend, watch TV or arrange your laundry).
  • When the timer sounds, you must ask yourself this question “Am I still hungry? from 1 to 10 how hungry?»
  • If you feel you have a hunger greater than 6, go and serve yourself a second quarter from the main course that you will eat in the same way as the previous quarter.
  • If you aren’t longer hungry, stop eating and be vigilant about your food sensations during the next few hours.
  • If the answer was still greater than 6 and you have eaten another quarter, put the timer back and during the next 5 minutes do something else.
  • Continue doing this until you aren’t longer hungry.
The objective of this test is both to make you eat less but also, and above all, to be more aware of the feeling of satiety that the stomach transmits to you. We often eat only to finish the dish. The hunger survival instinct prevails over listening to the message of our stomach. Remember, Hara hachi bu, as described above, get up from the table with an empty stomach. You will be surprised at the result of this test! I guarantee that if the problem is the portions, this will put the accent on your sense of satiety rather than on eyes.
I recommend the second trick when there is a problem of rapidity in taking the meal. I have already spoken of the fact that by eating slowly and consciously (mindfull eating), we satisfy the need for pleasure we have when we are preparing to eat (hedonistic relationship of food). To be more aware it is necessary to chew slowly, take small bites and live the present moment. I cannot be there with you to mimic the movements of the mouth, I cannot be in your head and invite you to taste what you are eating, but you can choose to take small bites. If you have children, try using their cutlery, if you don’t have any at home, use the dessert spoon and fork. You will see that already at the motor level, they are movements that must be reworked and secondly, being the smaller bites, you will need to enjoy them to the full.
The third one is more of a challenge than a suggestion. This too is suited to problems of rapidity or lack of awareness during feeding. Try eating with your non-dominant hand. When I was a specialist in surgery we had fun making sutures with both hands to develop the non-dominant hemisphere and be ready to suture in any position and place (I don’t know, if we had to leave for a war zone -va well, we were a little follish, I recognize it …). Having to take the bites with your non-dominant hand will force you to slow down and be present with the cabeza.

Now that I have recommended these small exercises to you, I would like to know what the result was and if this has produced a change in the way you eat. For my patients who are following the bariatric path, do not do them with too much determination otherwise you will no longer want to let them operate given the results and I will not be able to buy my house!!! (obviously it’s a joke, unfortunately it’s necessary to work on all the bad habits before the operation). Leave me a comment if you feel like it, I’d love to.

With gratitude,