4 Natural & Effective Ways to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels is something that effects around 31% of the human population. Having a cholesterol levels can lead to high blood pressure, angina and kidney diseases. In more serious cases it can lead to strokes and heart attacks. This is because cholesterol builds up in our arteries and blood vessels. Due to this build up, it leads to a narrower vessel hence the increase in blood pressure and the increase likelihood of blockages. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, today let’s discuss 4 ways for you to lower your cholesterol.

 

  1. Reduce the amount of saturated fats in your diet. This is because it contains high amounts of LDL. This is a type of cholesterol that is harmful for the body as it leaves build ups and is easily solidified in room temperature. Thus leading to narrower blood vessels in the body. We find saturated fats in many unhealthy foods such as pies, cakes and different types of pastries. This is because they are all made from some sort of animal products like butter and margarine. Another way to avoid food that contains high amount of saturated fats is to consume less processed meats. This is because it is often mixed with cuts of meat that contains high amount of animal fat.
  2. Consume food that is high in omega-3. Even though omega-3 is a fat it does not build up in the body as it is classified as an HDL. Think of it like this, omega-3 is the oil that keeps the mechanics well oiled. If everything in your body is well oiled, it’ll function smoothly and be kept in a better state. By keeping the arteries better oiled, it decreases the amount of plaque and fatty builds up from the LDL. As a result, even if you do have high cholesterol, it’ll lower your blood pressure. Leading to a lower likelihood of heart diseases.
  3. While we are sticking to recommended foods, it is highly recommended for people with high cholesterol to consume soluble fibres like beans, oats, citrus fruits and barley. This is because our body is not able to digest these foods. This create a small barrier where these soluble fibres are then attached to the cholesterol, preventing it from getting into the blood stream. In addition, soluble fibres helps your gut bacteria (probiotics) function better. So start consuming more fibre right now!
  4. Do some exercises. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between exercise and lower cholesterol levels. This is because exercise stimulates a higher production of HDL levels. As we have mentioned it above, HDKL decreases the amount of plaque and fatty build ups in the arteries. As a recommendation, exercise 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. It can be anything from brisk walking to playing a sport that you enjoy.

 

Here are 4 tips on how to reduce cholesterol. Remember, it won’t be decreased overtime. Try these tips for a couple of months and retest your levels after. Sometimes it may take even longer. But I guarantee that if you stick to it, results will show over time!

 

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Evening Exercise Benefits

 

Whether exercise is done first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day or late in the evening, it should be a staple in your daily routine. We have previously discussed about the positives and the negatives of working out in the morning. So I thought I should do the same but later in the evening.

 

Positives:

  • Your muscles are already at prime function. During the day your body would’ve had time to warm up and lengthen the muscles to optimal tension. Once we prep the muscles , the output would be much more. As a result, you will be able to lift heavier, sprint faster and jumper higher. In another word, you will be at your physical peak in the late afternoon/evenings.
  • Exercising in the evening can help you build muscle faster than working out in the morning. Firstly, this is because you are getting the most out of your workout as mentioned in the point above. Secondly, research has shown that working out in the evening stimulates more testosterone production compared to working out in the morning. Testosterone is one of the key hormones for building muscles.
  • It is a great time to relieve stress. At the end of the day, we are often very tired from our daily chores such as work and tasks. Most of us will have a lot of stress built up, a great way to release stress is to work out. Studies have shown that exercise is great for mental health because it releases endorphins and dopamine. Both hormones are responsible for metal positivity.

 

 

Negatives:

  • Although it is a great way of releasing stress, it is also very tempting to skip evening workouts. This is because by the end of the day most of us are very tired and we would just rather go home, curl up and watch Netflix. The best way to get past this hurdle is to force yourself to go to the gym before you enter the house and once you enter, you can treat yourself with something good.
  • Intense exercise late in the evening can cause a spike in heart rate and adrenalin. This may alter your sleep quality in the evening. We can see this in competitive sports or any high intensity work out. This is because your body will be in a fight or flight response and it has not settled down yet. To counter this problem, the best way is to try do something relaxing before you sleep to allow your body to calm down. Stretching is one of the best ways to calm your nervous system down and it is a great way to warm down your body.
  • Distractions may occur. This is because it is during this time when people are usually free. This means there will be plenty of gatherings, hangout sessions or some recreational activities. Due to these social aspects, we may forget or prioritise those events before exercising. To work around this issue, try set specific days and time dedicated to your exercise program. Those days will not be altered against most events. This will help you to create a healthy habit for you to get into.

 

There are many positive and negatives when it comes to working out in the evening or morning. Personally, I’ve always been an early bird, so I like to exercise in the morning leaving the rest of the day free. I understand that not everyone is like me so I would say as long as you set yourself a specific time to exercise and stick to it, it is the most important thing.

 

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Whole Foods

 

This era has unlimited food on the supermarket shelves. We’ve got plenty of meats, vegetables, grains, oats, dairy products etc. However, not everything on the shelves is safe to eat in the long run. But there will always be one part of the supermarket that’s always going to be reliable and delicious; that’s whole foods.

 

So what are whole foods? Whole foods are a group of foods that has not been processed or went through minimum processing before being put on the shelves. Previously fresh meat and oils were also considered in the category. However, now that some meat contain antibiotics and hormones while we now know that even some oils are heavily processed before distributed. So nowadays, whole food are mostly fruits and vegetables that have not been processed or refined. Oats, legumes, beans are some of them.

 

cont.

 

So why are whole foods recommended so much? Firstly, they are not processed. This means, there are no additives in there. This means that everything is natural. The human body is made for digesting natural foods. Due to these additives and extra processing, it causes gut inflammation. Since out gut is inflamed, it’ll slow down any other healing process and make it look like there is a belly. Secondly, it decreases the chance of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and other health problems.

This comes back to it being unprocessed again. When processing food plenty of chemicals, MSGs, fats and oils are added to a product. This chemical mixture is like a time bomb that is going to explode in your body. A build-up of these may causes unhealthy reactions in your body leading to cancers. Finally, they overflow with healthy nutrients. These food were literally designed for the human race to keep us going! They are filled with everything we need. Don’t get me wrong, supplements are extremely useful when used correctly. But most of our daily nutrition is already lie in whole foods!

 

So next time you pick up something from the supermarket, think bigger picture than is it yum? Whole food can be just as tasty if prepped right! So make sure you read the label carefully and choose what’s best for you body!

 

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Pull Your Head In: Posture Exercises

Today we’re going to give you some exercises you can do in your gym routine for good posture.

Commands like “stand up straight!” and “don’t slouch” were commonplace for our grandparents. When training to be a seamstress my great grandmother would have to sit as straight as a ruler or else be whipped by it. Such a method may not be approved today, which is probably a good thing however the importance of posture is as important now as ever.

Hyperkyphosis, the technical word for what we might call forward head posture, rounded shoulders or “hunchback”, has actually been shown to be linked with shortened life expectancy in elderly (Kado et al, 2004). If you are not currently elderly and you are reading this then chances are that one day you will be, and guess what, the habits you build around posture now will get harder to break as you get older. This is a good thing thought because if you instil good habits then those too will be harder to break as you age!

Being aware of your posture at work, home, when driving, sitting at the table for dinner and on the couch is important. But so is building the strength and muscles required to hold you in good posture.

Pretty much every activity we do in a day, except doing up your bra for you ladies, is done with our arms in front of us. This means our brains are very connected to the muscles on the front of our upper body, the pecs, biceps and muscles at the front of the shoulder. The muscles on our upper back like the posterior deltoids, rhomboids, lats and traps are often over stretched and under developed, almost forgotten by the brain. The issue is that these back muscles are vital to hold you in good posture.

So what must we do about it?

Don’t make the mistake of working the mirror muscles (biceps and pecs) more than the upper back. Aim to do twice the amount of reps for your upper back compared to the front of your body in a given training week. This means putting more pulling movements versus pushing movements in your routine such as:

  • Pull ups/chin ups
  • Cable rows
  • Cable/lat pull downs
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Barbell rows
  • Face pulls
  • Band pull aparts
  • Reverse flies

You can do these exercises during warm ups for the main lift of the day. You can also do them as extra work after your main lift. If I am going to superset a pulling exercise with a main lift like a bench press or overhead press I will do an easier/lighter variation like lat pull downs or face pulls so as not to use up too much effort that would cause too much fatigue. More intensive pulling exercises like pull ups, barbell and dumbbell rows can be done on their own.  However you choose to put them into your routine make sure you are doing them correctly! The focus should be on initiating the movement with your back by pull the shoulder blades together and don’t let your arms and biceps do most of the work.

Here’s to building a strong healthy posture.

Kado, D. M., Huang, M. H., Karlamangla, A. S., Barrett‐Connor, E., & Greendale, G. A. (2004). Hyperkyphotic posture predicts mortality in older community‐dwelling men and women: a prospective study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society52(10), 1662-1667.

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5-Minute Total Body Warm Up

Warm up Wisely

It can be really tempting to skip your warm up and get right into an intense strength training session to maximize the time in your day. Not only will this decrease your performance in the session, it will also increase the likelihood of injury, which is never fun.

Today we’re going to take you through a catch-all warm that will ensure that all your joints are ready for motion and your blood is pumping. Feel free to mix and match these with other warm up routines to tailor it to your specific training needs.

Be sure to move within a comfortable range of motion and don’t push yourself too far too quickly. Keep breathing throughout and make sure you’re keeping proper form with control and you’re not flailing your limbs out uncontrollably or your may injure yourself.

We’ve combined movements in some of these to maximize the variety of movement your get in shorter time. We’ve presented the movements to time, but feel free to do them to a specific amount of reps or whatever gets your muscles warm and your heart pumping.

Here it is:

Jumping Jacks (1 min)

  • Start by standing with feet together and arms at your sides.
  • Jump while spreading your legs to shoulder width apart and raising your arms over head.
  • Jump back to starting position and repeat.

Related image

Squat & Twist (30 secs)

  • Squat down and use your left arm to hold your left foot while keeping your elbow on the inside of your leg.
  • Twist your torso and other arm towards the ceiling.
  • Twist back to the starting position and squat up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Image result for squat and twist

Side Lunge with Frontal Raise (30 secs)

  • Spread your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down with your left leg while raising both arms out in front of you.
  • Stand up to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Image result for side lunge with frontal raise

Forward Leg Swings (30 secs each side)

  • Hold on to something to the side and start with both feet under your hips
  • Swing the outside leg forward and backward while gradually increasing the range and height of your swing
  • Repeat on the other side

Related image

More exercises

Lateral Leg Swings (30 secs each side)

  • Hold on to something in front of you and start with both feet under your hips
  • Shift your weight to your right leg and swing your left across your body and out to the side (left)
  • Repeat on the other side

Image result for leg swing

Skipping Shoulder Circles (30 secs forward/30 secs backward)

  • Skip forward or in place and make circles with your arms going forward
  • Repeat with your arms going backwards

Related image

Walk Out with Shoulder Taps  (30 secs)

  • Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, touch your toes and walk your hands out to a plank position
  • Tap your right shoulder with your left hand while keeping your core braced and torso stationary
  • Walk your hands back to your feet, stand up and repeat

Image result for plank shoulder taps

***Give this routine a try and feel free to mix and match with movements to make it your own!

 

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How To Make More Time For a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone already knows what to do to be healthier. For starters, eating less processed foods and moving more is what you’ve heard since you were young. And guess what… It’s true! But then come the fancy diets and elusive theories that cause confusion. On top of that, you’re busy with work and kids and LIFE.

If you’ve been meaning to eat healthier and exercise more for a while, believe me, you’re not alone.

What’s required is a system of thinking, prioritizing, strategizing, and planning that identifies what’s important to you as an individual and the steps to get there without them being too overwhelming.

Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding once you start reaping the benefits. Let’s get started.

  1. THINK: Ask “why” 5 times.

  • Understanding why you want to achieve the goal you want to achieve is important because it digs deep to find your inner motivation to keep you going.
  • All you have to do is keeping asking yourself why until you end up with a reason that’s worth your time.
  • Here’s an example:
    • Why do I want to eat better and move more? Because I want to lose weight.
    • Why do I want to lose weight? Because I’ll look better
    • Why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
    • Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself I’m more confident and in control.
    • Why do I want to be more confident and in control? Because when I’m confident and in control, I won’t be scared to go for it and live out my dream.
  1. PRIORITIZE: Fill in the big rocks first.

  • Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” gave the best analogy for prioritization: Think of your time as a jar that you can fill with rocks, pebbles and sand.
    • Your big rocks are the necessary things in life, like friends, family, health, career, and sleep.
    • The pebbles are the fun things in life that aren’t completely necessary but you love doing them, like playing piano, competing in sports, and discovering your passion for baking.
    • Your sand is all the bonus activities that are enjoyable but not at all important to your survival and fulfillment, like checking Instagram, playing video games and going out drinking.
    • Now if you fill your time with sand first, it wouldn’t make sense because then it’d be way more difficult to fit your rocks and pebbles in. But if you place your rocks first, and then your pebbles around them, and finally fill in the rest with your sand, then you’re good as gold!
  1. STRATEGIZE: Increase your activities 15 minutes at a time.

  • No one ever got everything done at once. When you find out the important activities that you want to do more of in your day, pick ONE of them. Replace 15 minutes of low-value activity with 15 minutes of that high-value activity.
  • For example, instead of 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram, do 15 minutes of meal prep for the next day. You can even put in headphones and listen one of your favourite podcasts while you meal prep to keep it interesting.
  1. PLAN: Schedule it in your diary.

  • If you wait until you “feel like it”, a lot of your time will be spent doing less important things. Schedule it in and more importantly, stick to it!
  • BONUS: Review how you spent your time at the end of the week.
    • If you did a lot of low-priority stuff, reduce any triggers that make you want to do them. This may require you to move the TV to the basement or limit your screen time with an app. Or you can get an accountability buddy, such as a friends, colleague or partner.
    • If you simply didn’t have time, look into hiring out some of the tasks like getting a healthy meal delivery service or arranging a nanny so you can go to the gym.

Don’t get distracted, stay focused and you will get $%@& done 😉

This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & Priorityfitness.

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Should I Quit Drinking?

The debate of whether a certain amount of alcohol is good or bad for you has been a long-standing one. Some of us enjoy the glass of wine with dinner. Others have a few beers on the weekend.  But do you need to quit it altogether to change your body or your health?

If you’re thinking that alcoholic beverages tend to show up a lot in life you’re not alone. Alcohol has become a huge part of the culture in New Zealand and in other countries around the world. Whether it’s a nice cold beer at the end of a workday or a bubbly champagne on New Year’s, it tends to add up. But how does that affect your health goals? Well, it’s kind of complicated.

You may have heard that drinking can be good for you as research has shown that moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, gallstones and coronary heart disease. There have even been studies indicating that drinkers live longer than people who don’t drink.

However, it’s important to know that experts recommend that if you don’t already drink, don’t start. Why? Because no one actually knows if ANY amount of alcohol is good for you.

I’m not going to tell you not to drink. But it’s important to know that most of the research on the potential benefits of drinking alcohol doesn’t actually prove anything due to how the studies are designed. The research tends to be large, long-term population-based studies that can’t say that it CAUSES anything, but rather that it CORRELATES with something.

So what is a “moderate alcohol intake”?

  • Women: 7 drinks/week, no more than 3 in a single day
  • Men: 14 drinks/week, no more than 4 in a single day

In my opinion, this type of moderation will land you in a host of health problems. Let’s take it down to 1-2 times per week with only 1 drink per setting. That’s better 🙂

A single drink can be a 330 ml can of 4% alcohol beer or a 100 ml glass of 12.5% alcohol wine.

Chances are, if you’re a human, you’re most likely underestimating your alcohol consumption. The occasional happy hour or birthday dinner can quickly take you from moderate to heavy drinker without you even realizing. The health risks for heavy drinking are much higher for major health problems, such as liver cancer, alcoholism, osteoporosis and a host of other diseases.

So how do you find a nice balance? What amount of alcohol gives you enjoyment while giving your body a chance to respond and recover from processing it? MY moderate alcohol intake guideline is a good start along with the following tips:

  • Keep track of your drinking habits. Do this for a week or two and ask yourself:
    • Am I drinking more than I thought? (Did you forget to count those couple of beers you like to have on Sunday afternoons?)
    • Are there patterns in my drinking? (Does your stressful job trigger your end-of-week binge drink?)
    • Is it helping me enjoy life or stressing me out? (Are you not sleeping well or feeling worried about drinking?)
  • Tune in to your body’s signals:
    • Do I feel good?
    • Am I recovering?
    • How do I feel afterwards?
  • Switch it up and experiment to break your routine:
    • Delay your next drink for 10 minutes and see if you still want it after.
    • Savour your drink. Look, sniff, and taste it.
    • Quality over quantity. Drink less, but have the good stuff.

Evaluate how drinking fits in with your goals. If you want six-pack abs, then that might mean skipping out on a few drinks at the bar. Taking part in Friday night “Happy Hour” means pushing back your Saturday morning workout. If you’re aiming for a more moderate alcohol intake then you’ll have to find a way to say “no” to certain stress/social triggers that make you want to drink more.

 

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Why Is Chiropractic Not a Treatment?

Each profession has an element that makes it unique, it’s reason it holds a niche in the market. At Revolution Chiropractic we take a distinct approach to your health by determining where shifts in your spinal structure exist and correct them as opposed to directly addressing the symptoms you may present with.

 

Our goal as structural chiropractors is to help your body work “more normally.” because we know that a spine in better structural alignment and movement is stronger than a spine with abnormal structure and movement.

 

Symptoms like pain, fatigue, dizziness, digestive upset, and so on, are warning signs. This means your body is giving you issues that are building up. Restoring your body to an optimal spinal structure and reducing stress on your system often has the flow-on effects of improved symptoms because your body doesn’t need to warn you of issues anymore.

The goal of the chiropractic adjustments we use is to allow your body to return to a more normal state. Whereas the goal of a treatment like medication or physiotherapy is often to treat the symptom. For example, we wouldn’t say that eating a salad is a treatment for diabetes.

 

Blood Sugar

 

The goal of eating more fresh vegetables is to create normal, healthy functions in an individual whether or not they have diabetes. Because diabetic medication seeks to treat the issue, or symptom of high blood sugar. But doesn’t address the cause of the blood sugar being high in the first place i.e. poor diet, over stressed, lack of daily movement and exercise. Is changing the diet in a person with diabetes helpful for their condition? Very much so, because it helps their body move toward normal.

 

Are we anti-medication or the treatment approach that other models use? Absolutely not! In the case of a musculoskeletal injury using a treatment approach to target weakness and pain alongside a chiropractic approach to normalise structure can be a very effective approach. Or in the case of the diabetes example, a person with dangerously high blood sugar may need medication. To control the symptoms, whilst they educate themselves on making lifestyle choices to take control of their own health and body!

 

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2 Simple Tips For Reading Food Labels

If you are like most people you pick up a packet of food in the supermarket and turn it over to read the ingredients to see if it is good for you, all the while having no idea what you are reading. Eating healthy can seem complicated at first so let’s try and make it simple.

Putting the right fuel in your body is essential for your day-to-day wellbeing and performance as well as longevity. Poor diet is linked with many chronic health conditions. We encourage our patients to clean up their diet when undergoing structural chiropractic care to maximise their body’s ability to heal, recover, and re-structure. Think of it this way, if a builder uses cheap materials to build your home it probably won’t last long. Each day your body produces millions of new cells PER SECOND, so make sure you get the appropriate raw materials for your body to make the best cells it can.

Tips

  1. My first recommendation when it comes to reading a food label, is NOT to. Why? Because the food you eat shouldn’t need labeling since it has only one ingredient in it. Most of your diet should be made up of plants, lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains. If you buy carrots, there are only carrots in the pack. If you buy potatoes, same deal. As a rule of thumb, the more processing steps involved in getting a product from its source to your plate, the less good it probably does for you and the more potential harm it has.
  2. Okay so every now and then you will need products that do have a label on them. The simplest way to approach this is if you can’t read, pronounce or understand the ingredients list, it’s probably not good for you (this is a general rule, and with rules, there are always exceptions).

These two tips can be very helpful if you are new to eating better and you are trying to clean up your act. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the information out there, start simple and keep educating yourself!

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Eat Slowly

Here you are in the midst of modern society. No time. Rushed. Distracted. And eating… really, really fast. It seems like half the time you’re not even chewing our food properly! It’s time to discover eating slowly and what it can do for your health and well-being.

Learning to eat slowly is one of the simplest yet most impactful things you can do to improve your health. But it’s not always easy, so let’s explore why it’s so beneficial and worthwhile.

 

Hunger satisfaction

 

Eating slowly gives your body time to realize that it’s full. It takes 20 minutes from the start of your meal before your brain sends signals that it’s satisfied with the amount of food and nutrients you consumed. Imagine the extra calories you’ve been eating simply because you haven’t given enough time for your body to realize it longer needs food!

Eating until satisfied is different from eating until you’re full. Satisfied can be around 80% full, which is what you should aim for. When you take the time to slow down and take in each bite mindfully, paying attention to the tastes and textures of the food, you end up feeling way better about what you eat… even if it’s just a sandwich.

 

Improved Digestion

 

Before you even put the food in your mouth, your body’s digestive processes are already at work. As soon as we see, smell or think about food we begin to produce saliva which contains enzymes to break down the food and moisten the mouth to aid in swallowing. Your stomach then starts to secrete more acid and your small intestines start to prepare for movement and food transport.

When we eat fast, we tend to take larger bites and chew less before swallowing. Food that isn’t properly broken down can lead to indigestion and other potential GI problems. Anyone who’s experienced either can tell you it’s not pleasant.

 

Smaller portions

 

A study served lunch in two different ways to 30 average weight women. The meal consisted of a huge plate of classic pasta and a glass of water. All women were instructed to eat to the point of comfortable fullness. During one visit they them to eat as quickly as possible. On the other visit, they were asked to eat slowly and down their utensils between each bite.

Here’s what they found when they compared the difference:

  • Fast eaters: 646 calories in 9 minutes
  • Slow eaters: 579 calories in 29 minutes

That’s 67 less calories in 20 more minutes… which may not seem like much until you add up the three meals a day… 7 days a week. Do some simple maths and you’ll quickly realize that that adds up to 1407 extra calories a week!

On top of that, they found that when the women ate quickly they reported more hunger an hour earlier than when they eat slowly. This means that slow eating leads to less food consumption and more long-lasting satisfaction – which is both good for the wallet and the waistline!

What’s interesting is that they took the same study and compared the amount of water that the participants drank to find that the fast eaters drank an average of 289 mL and the slow eaters drank 409 mL! So they conducted a similar study, only this time they controlled water levels, and found that ate the same amount of food, but an hour after the meal the slow eaters reported less hunger and desire to eat.

So they concluded that drinking more water helps reduce portion sizes, while eating slowly seems to decrease hunger levels for longer. On top of that you get the other incredible benefits of drinking more water such as balancing body fluids, energizing muscles, helping your kidneys and bowels work better and improve skin appearance!

At the end of the day, if you’re eating slowly and drinking more water, you’ll consume less food and feel more satisfied.

Of course, eating slowly is not the end all be all for weight loss and health, but it will definitely help you with portion control and hunger satisfaction.

Here are 5 pro tips to eating slowly:

  1. Put down your utensils between bites
  2. Set aside time to eat
  3. Eat high-fiber foods (fruits and veggies)
  4. Set a minimum number of chews per bite
  5. Eat from smaller plates or containers

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Woman in Purple Top Eating Pizza · Free Stock Photo