Nourish and Nurture

Slow Down and Feel Your Best!

January 25, 2024 Miriam Hatoum Season 4 Episode 86
Nourish and Nurture
Slow Down and Feel Your Best!
Show Notes Transcript

Episode #86: Slow Down and Feel Your Best

It really DOES take approximately 20 minutes for your gut to send the message to your brain that it is full enough - not full to the point of the feeling of bursting. I started to respect the practice of slowing down and paying attention to my food, and this went a long way to make me aware of my fullness cues. 

In this episode you will learn all the ways to slow down your eating so that your brain and stomach catch up to being on the same page, making it much easier to find your fullness cue.

If you learn to pay attention through slowing down, you will have less disconnect with your eating, which in turn, will help you pay attention to your satisfaction level. When a meal or food “hits the spot” you tend to be satisfied with a lesser quantity of food, or, at the very least, it will keep you from overeating other foods either at the meal or between meals. This satisfaction factor is not to be underestimated or ignored and contributes greatly to feeling your best. 

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Episode #: 86  Slow Down and Feel Your Best

 You’re Listening to the Nourish and Nurture Podcast, Episode #86, Slow Down and Feel Your Best.


 Did you know that you don't have to spend money on a diet program or even weigh, measure and track your food unless you want to? What if you could learn to have success by learning how to change your mindset so that you can believe in yourself, which is the cornerstone to weight loss success? What if you could learn about what foods work best in your body for weight loss and why they work? Join me, Miriam Hatoum, health coach, course creator and author, as I give you actionable coaching advice that is sure to empower you so that you will finally find peace with food and learn to trust your body’s signals. You’ve got this, girl.

 I am celebrating Season 4 with a brand-new party dress, Nourish and Nurture. The title has changed but not the insightful advice and tips that you enjoy and look forward to. And now, you can get all my free guides that are designed to help you in your journey, in one place, at

 Oh, and before we start, I want to let you know that the primary purpose of this podcast is to educate and does not constitute medical advice or services. And please know that I’m keeping up with the science as fast as I can so I can share with you the latest breaking research in this area to help you achieve your dreams!

 I want to thank you all for being faithful listeners. I have hit almost 10,000 downloads in my first 18 months on air. If you had told me I would have reached 100 people and would have lasted more than a few months, I don’t think I would have believed it. I do have a favor to ask of you. Please leave a review wherever you listen to your podcast. It helps other people find it by bringing it up in the various directories. Also, don’t be a stranger. Like or join my Facebook page, Breaking Free From Diet Prison, and let me know if there is anything you would like to hear on the show, and let me know you are a podcast listener. 

Now on to the Episode…

We always hear that it takes 20 minutes to feel full after you have eaten. What are the mechanics of this 20-minute message?

It takes 20 minutes for food to get from the stomach to the small intestine. One signal comes from your stomach wall stretching to accommodate the meal you are eating. Nerve "Stretch Receptors" send signals to the brain that the stomach is expanding, and you can begin to taper off and stop eating.  

o   The science-y explanation is that:  It normally takes 20 minutes for food to get from the stomach to the ileum in the small intestine.  

o   The ileum secretes the gut hormone, PYY, which is responsible for making you feel full.  

o   That is why it is better to eat slowly, and this will take care of “How do I know I am full?” 

Understanding this “gut- stretch” response will help you recognize and respect satiety. This is why if you slow down and don’t shovel in your food, you are apt to be satisfied with a reasonable portion of food and not feel you have to keep eating.

Remember how uncomfortable it is when you think you are eating “to full” and then are stuffed after the meal. Learn, instead, what it feels like to eat “to enough” and that 20-minute gut stretch response will take care of the rest. 

Other than really paying attention to your hunger scale and stopping before you are at 7 or 8, what are the things you can do to bring awareness to when you have had enough to eat and it’s time to stop before the gut-stretch response brings you to a point of uncomfortable fullness even though you have stopped eating when your mind says you have eaten enough. The answer is to SLOW DOWN. 

Even though I have had a very hard time with slowing down, I still intentionally set out to practice it at every meal. Sometimes I don’t manage to be present. But more and more often I do. How am I working towards this improvement in mindfulness and slowing down?

It's putting down the fork between bites and not having more than one bite in my mouth at a time. You would think putting down the fork between bites would take care of this, but it doesn’t. Yes, I might put the fork down at the end of each bite and not pick it up until the next one, but there is chewing and swallowing in between, and my second forkful often comes to my mouth during that in between spot. Come on…. You know what I am talking about. 

Even if I have managed to be mindful at a meal and I slow down, my other struggle that is getting much better, is being aware of my satiety cues. I have the hunger cue nailed down. I have spent so many years dieting where the portions were given to me, by weighing, measuring and tracking, that I really had no awareness of the signal as to when I was done. I was done when the food was gone. Worse, yet, because I was eating too fast, I was still hungry when my plate was empty because the gut-stretch response did not have time to set itself in motion. This confounded the issue of finding my satiety cue, because what was in my stomach did not match my brain (where the number resides). 

It really DOES take approximately 20 minutes for your gut to send the message to your brain that it is full enough - not full to the point of the feeling of bursting. I started to respect the practice of slowing down and paying attention to my food, and this went a long way to make me aware of my fullness cues. 

I also started to pay attention to other signals. Have you ever been eating and just had a sigh? Have you ever been eating and then just started pushing food around? Have you ever been eating and suddenly the food is no longer as enjoyable as that first taste? Yeah, these are all signals that are flashing at you to STOP. And sometimes it doesn’t even take the 20 minutes.

I was not very successful when I officially did Intuitive Eating with two different Intuitive Eating therapists. I was not successful because I was missing all these cues to stop eating. This is why I want you to start to automatically assign a number when you are wondering whether you are hungry or full. Think of the hunger and fullness cues as boundaries at either end of a football field. There is still a lot of room in between you can be working on.

Mindfulness while you are eating starts the slow down process

There are many ways to be mindful. Most overeating comes when our minds are somewhere else – either not thinking at all, or purposely using eating to avoid or dampen feelings. How often do we finish our dinner and don’t even remember that we have eaten it because we have not registered any fullness cues?  How often do we wake up from what seems like a trance, and wonder how a bag of chips or box of cookies got emptied? 

·       Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites (or for instance if you are eating a rollup, put the food down).  

·       You probably eat way too fast. 

·       If you are harboring some anxiety with this process you will find that the food will be gone even more quickly without even realizing that you ate it!  

·       To take advantage of that gut-stretch response and to feel satisfied with the quantity of food you are eating you must SLOW DOWN. 

·       Slowing down takes mindful practice and you can easily accomplish this by putting down your fork or food between bites and then actually chewing your food.  

·       If you are a fast eater, notice at your next meal whether or not you actually thoroughly chew your food. 

o   You will be shocked, I guarantee it.  

o   Whenever I am with people who eat more slowly than I do, I always tell myself, “I will not be the first one finished at this table!” 

·       “DIG IN!” does not mean “Shovel it in!”  Take your time! 

o   eat slowly, 

o   chew, 

o   swallow and 

o   breathe.  

·       Put in a speed bump.

o   Take what you feel is an adequate portion of food and divide it onto two plates. 

o   Put the plate in front of you that you are going to eat, and put the other plate either in the middle of the table or on a kitchen counter.

o    Finish what is in front of you, then see if you want the rest. 

o   If you are eating out or with other people, just draw that divider in your mind’s eye.

o   This is a great mindfulness practice to use. 

§  But, do not take 3 ounces of protein which is the standard “deck-of-cards” or “palm-of-your-hand” sized portion, and divide that. 

§  Take something substantially more to start so that half is at least 3 ounces.

§   If you are still hungry and want to eat more, EAT MORE!!! 

o   You will learn what satiety is – believe me.  

o   Things take time.  

o   If you are an adult and have been overweight for a long time (look at me – since childhood!) you will have to meet mindfulness and intention at least halfway. 

o    I promise, eventually it will become natural for you.


·       Before you even take your first bite take three deep breaths. 

o   You can do it quietly so no one else notices.  

o   Sit for a moment with your hands in your lap and breathe.  

o   Let your senses take in the food.  

o   Being mindful and aware of what you are eating will also help you feel more satisfied by the food in front of you. 

·       Add some slow breathing at various points in your meal – even during the preparation and plating.  

o   Just SLOW DOWN.  

o   We are always so rushed around food.  

o   Just tell yourself that, with each meal, you need the specific vitamins suggested by Mark David which are SD and BE. These stand for Slow Down and Breathe. I will put his book in the show notes and transcript.   

o   Again, when you sit down with your plate of food in front of you, just take a moment and look at the food and be grateful it is there to nourish you.  

§  Take a breath. 

§  Eat. 

§  Put fork (or food) down. 

§  Chew. 

§  Swallow. 

§  Breathe. 

o   You would not think you need to be instructed to do this, until you actually do it and realize that you never do.  

o   Centering yourself at this step will prepare you, more than you know, for success with any eating style you plan to follow.

Marc David, the author of "The Slow Down Diet" brilliantly coined the term: Vitamin SD for Vitamin Slow Down and Vitamin BE for Breathe. Without these two practices, no amount of food will satisfy you.

Pay Attention

·       Pay attention to what you are eating and how the food or quantity of food makes you feel.  

·       Think about how you might adjust the meal the next time you eat these foods, if you were not satisfied by the meal, if you didn’t feel well, if it made you sleepy or you found you were hungry soon after.  

·       Equally important is to notice if the meal or individual food made you feel good. And this is not just the lack of not feeling well.  

·       Did the meal give you energy? 

·       Did it satisfy you for several hours? 

·       Let’s use potatoes for an example. 

o   As you are cutting down sugars and foods that turn into glucose in your body, you might find that you are becoming sensitive to heavier carbohydrates. 

o   A baked potato that never bothered you, now feels heavy in your stomach. 

o   All vegetables are carbohydrates, but a potato will feel different in your body than a salad would.  

o   You might find that these starchier and heavier carbohydrate foods make you sleepy, make you hungry sooner or even unsettle your stomach.  

·       Start to pay attention to these things. 

o    It will help you make smarter choices so that you use your carbohydrates more wisely. 

o    It will also help you immensely if your goal is to be fully Keto, because a well-formulated Keto diet has a lot to do with what foods you are eating and in what quantities they satisfy you.  

o   But for any eating lifestyle, you will start tuning into hunger and satiety signals.  

o   If you want to move away from weighing and measuring, listen to your body to know that you have picked the right foods and quantities for satiety. 

o   This mindfulness practice is an important step to help you get out of diet prison.


·       Survey what is on your plate and take just a few seconds to be grateful for what is in front of you.

·       This will help keep you in the present.

·       Have your feet on the floor, physically grounding yourself when you do this. This helps you with awareness – your body and how you feel in that body.

·       This will also help slow you down.  

Your Hunger Scale

·       At all points of the day and all points of your meal (but especially as you are finishing) pay attention to your hunger scale.

·       Unless this is your very first time following a nutritional program, I am sure you have heard of the hunger and fullness scale.  

·       I have a free guide if you go to, or I have covered it extensively in several episodes.

Kaisen and your Mindfulness Practice

·       Going back to Episode 18, Kaisen – The Practice of Gentle Improvements, I talked about how small but steady 1% improvements in your behavior add up to great transformations over time. This is such an important concept I will be revisiting it again this year.

·       A lot of these practices are perfect opportunities to set up a Kaisen practice. For instance, your goal might be to sit at the table while you are eating. However, you might need several steps to get there. 

·       You’ll stop eating in the car. 

·       You’ll stop eating standing up at the counter or in front of the fridge. 

·       Move to the table with the bag of chips. 

·       How about eating snacks from a bowl? 

·       Then put the snacks in a large bowl, then a medium one, then a small one. 

·       How about setting out a napkin? 

·       You might need all these steps to reach your mindfulness practice goal of sitting at the table with your food. 

·       Each step is an improvement over the one before. 

·       Don’t discount the small steps.        

Suggestions for other mindfulness practices

What would you like to work on? Here are a few more to get you practicing!

1.      Sit at the table when you eat.

2.     Have gratitude for your meal.

3.     Eliminate distractions. Just eat.

4.    Bring other senses to the table like smell and sight.

5.     No judgment. If you are eating cake, enjoy every bite!

6.     Practice positive self-talk.

7.     Practice positive affirmations. And go back to Episode 23 if you need some coaching on this.

8.     Recognize when you have stopped an urge or craving.

9.     Recognize and congratulate yourself for all NSVs which stands for non-scale victories.

10.   Recognize and congratulate yourself for bringing Kaisen into your life.

Feeling Your Best

Pay attention to what you are eating and how the quantity of food makes you feel.

Think about how you might adjust the meal the next time you eat these foods if:

·       You were not satisfied. (Were you perhaps “needing” crunch but the food was smooth?)

·       You do not feel well. (Is there some hidden food intolerance, or did you just eat too much?)

·       You feel hungry before your next meal. (This is a sign you need a little more protein and fat, whether it was a meal or a snack.)

·       You feel tired. (This is a sign that your blood sugar and insulin were not happy with the food/meal.)

Also be aware that as you cut down on carbohydrates you become more sensitive to them and so you might be ready to cut back a little more. Although carbohydrates break down to glucose in your body, you get a different feeling of energy from a salad than you would a potato. Start to notice this.

Work at tuning in to hunger and satiety signals. Tune in to whether or not you are hungry and whether or not you are reaching satiety as you also tune in to how foods make you feel. The combination of feeling your best and learning when you've had enough are the keys to making these a lifestyle without ever having to weigh, measure or track your food again. I promise!

Become more aware of another mindfulness practice: What do you want and what do you need? Take time to ask yourself these questions at least once a day for a meal or a snack – or even before eating or serving yourself a part of a meal like the side dish. Do you really want it? Why?

Sometimes the answer to this question is just that you want it, and it brings you pleasure to eat it. There is nothing wrong with allowing food to be a pleasant experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of pleasing your palate. If you pay attention to this, you will have less disconnect with your eating, which in turn, will help you pay attention to your satisfaction level. When a meal or food “hits the spot” you tend to be satisfied with a lesser quantity of food, or, at the very least, it will keep you from overeating other foods either at the meal or between meals. This satisfaction factor is not to be underestimated or ignored and contributes greatly to feeling your best. 

What mistakes are we making?

·       We don’t have patience, one of the first and most important factors of mindfulness. We are impatient to get on to the next bite, the next meal, the next activity. We rush. We don’t slow down.

·       We think that mindfulness is something out there and that we need to set aside a time and a place for it. NO! Just be present.

o   Whether it is brushing your teeth or your granddaughter’s hair, be present with what you are doing. Notice what you are doing. Think about it. 

o   As you start to practice mindfulness with everyday things, this will transfer to where you need it, while you are eating.

·       Another mistake is that we don’t approach mindfulness with curiosity. I bet most of you have already made up your minds along the lines of, “This won’t work,” “This is malarky,” “I have no time for this.” Put all that aside and just be curious about it. Instead think, “I wonder if this will work?” “I wonder if it really takes up too much time?” or “I wonder if it will make any difference?” 

·       We don’t trust ourselves or the process. 

o   It’s a lot of, “I can’t do this, or that is stupid.”

o   Let the doubt go, embrace curiosity and accept that you actually might be surprised with the results.

·       And the biggest mistake is we don’t just start with the easy stuff.

o   Put your fork down.

o   Don’t have two bites in your mouth at the same time.

o   Chew.

o   Swallow.

o   Breathe.

These practices will help with the disconnect you have with the food you are eating, the food that you want, and your overall meal experience. 


·       Practice developing your own mindfulness practices.

o   Set up a worksheet (or use index cards) to examine the practices you would like to work on and steps you will need.

·       Take a page in your journal or use a plain piece of paper or an index card:

·       Make three columns.

o   The first one says Mindfulness Practice.

o   The second one asks a question with two possible answers: 

§  Am I able to do it right now?

·       If the answer is YES, then do it!

·       If the answer is NO, then work on a third column.

o   The third column asks: What steps do I need to take?

·       Play with this a little bit. One of my clients found that the best practice was being mindful of the way her husband eats his meal. He is a slow poke and she decided she was not going to finish before him. That’s one of my favorites, and I do it too.

·       With this as her umbrella goal she put everything else into practice: putting her fork down between bites, chewing, swallowing and breathing.

·       You don’t have to do everything at once, but it becomes natural to move on to the next goal once you are comfortable with what you are doing.

Next week’s episode

Next week I want to revisit how you can feel empowered during your weight loss journey. So often we feel at the mercy of whatever the rules are, that we forget that we are in charge. We forget that none of it will work, anyway, if we don’t love and respect ourselves and our efforts. This empowerment to take charge and be successful starts with self-talk, affirmations, and self-forgiveness. I will talk about all of that next week.

Please share the new Nourish and Nurture Podcast with your friends, and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become free from diet prison. And remember, if you are already subscribed to this podcast you don’t have to do anything on your end. It will automatically change the name behind the scenes without you having do a thing!

Until then, go live free from diet worry — I’ll see you back here next time. I wish you, your friends, and family, a happy and healthy new year.

Get all my free guides
Take a look at this great course
Join me on Facebook
Follow me on Instagram
Check out Pinterest
And don't forget my book!