Most four-letter words are, well, four-letter words – meaning they have been assigned only letters to shield onlookers and onlisteners from the terrible meaning with which they are associated. However, just because a word is comprised of four letters, doesn’t automatically demonize it. Take the word CHEW, for example. Simple enough word, mostly inoffensive in the right context:
chew verb \ˈchü\
: to use your teeth to cut food into small pieces before you swallow it
: to bite on (something) repeatedly with the teeth
: to make (something, such as a hole) by chewing
How, do you ask, is this four-letter word related to the suddenly-not-so-sexy-solution you were looking for? Let’s focus on the entry line of the definition above: to use your teeth to cut food into small pieces before you swallow it.
Small pieces. BEFORE you swallow it. Hmmm. This may sound entirely too simple, and it’s possible you will want to completely dismiss me altogether. But wait a second. Did you know that chewing is a significant part of the digestive process? I mean truly significant, especially for us over-40 types whose guts are changing?
Chewing is kind of a big deal, and doing so many times with each bite we take serves a few wonderful purposes IF we can slow down enough to make it happen.
Chewing thoroughly aids in digestion cutting the food into small pieces with your teeth is a form of pre-digestion, which gives your gut a much less wieldy bit of matter to work with once it arrives in your belly. Your stomach’s job is to liquefy whatever comes down the pike to prepare it for the intestines. Just imagine how thrilled it will be to find that the latest delivery is in the pliable form it’s supposed to be, and no gastronastics or digestive overtime will be required to complete the job!
So once you get that hunk of steak between your molars, slow down and savor it a while. Chew each bite at least ten times to break it down as much as possible. Your fellow diners will appreciate not having to heimlich you, and you’ll enjoy the comfort and confidence of emitting lower emissions at both your entry and exit points.
Chewing thoroughly helps you eat less by chewing each bite ten times or more, you are forcing your meal into low gear. And this is a GOOD thing. Too often we are shoveling and gulping, and before we know it, we’ve inhaled three times what we really wanted or needed to eat. You have probably heard that it takes roughly 20 minutes for the brain to let your stomach know when to say when. Being mindful of your moments at the table, and taking time with your meals will help you reach that satiety threshold naturally, and you’ll be satisfied with a smaller portion.
I think that’s pretty sexy (and definitely something to consider for your next cheat meal) but let’s do a quick check here, just to be sure. Do you agree this is something easy? Is it something you can do now – or if you aren’t presently masticating – something you can at least accomplish at your very next meal? Do you understand that: 1) if you practice chewing thoroughly on a consistent basis, 2) that will in turn force you to slow down, 3) which then enables you to eat less while still feeling full, 4) which will ultimately help you become more fit and allow you to sustain that fitness level?
That’s a lot of information for one string of dominoes, but I really hope it makes sense. And if you need further clarification or encouragement, please leave a comment below. You won’t be transformed overnight, but with patience and persistence this easy tool will pay off in the long run. You know me. I don’t subscribe to quick fixes, and sustainability lives in the little choices you make every day. The sooner you can start making them the better!