On your marks, get set, eat! Is that how you approach every meal time? Are you competing to be the first one finished with their plate? If you find yourself wondering “what did I just eat?” or “was that food even good?” you are likely eating WAY TO FAST. It is very easy to eat an entire meal in 5 minutes or less. While we may feel that we don’t have any time to take longer than that (our Facebook and Instagram feeds may disagree…) eating in a hurry can really derail our health goals.
Developing a habit of fast eating can often lead to over eating, equaling MORE calories. If you do this for most of your meals and if you have been doing it since you were 10-years-old that can sure add up over time. It takes some time for our brain and hormones to register when we have actually ate enough to satisfy us, about 20-30 minutes. With this in mind you can see how eating at lighting speed would allow you to get in 3 more slices of pizza before your time is up.
Not only does eating slowly help us take in few calories it helps us feel more satisfied after we eat. You can really enjoy the food you are eating when you savor it. It also can improve digestion. When we eat quickly, we likely are not completely chewing our food. It speeds through our GI system in larger pieces that do not get fully broken down…which can result in not so kind treatment on our GI tract.
How to Practice Slowing Down
Some of the biggest things that keep us eating quickly are distractions. We eat at our desks at work while taking calls or on the computer. We mindlessly scroll through our social media. We binge the latest Netflix show while eating our favorite comfort foods. All these activities aren’t bad, just not the best while we are eating. Instead, make it a goal to eat your meals with limited distraction. Use it as a self-care practice to have NO SCREENS during meals. This can help you decompress, enjoy eating outside when possible, and have meals in community with friends and family. This will give you the opportunity to really taste and savor your food as well as an opportunity to intentionally destress.
Other fun things to try:
- set a timer for at least 20 minutes
- eat with your non-dominant hand
- eat with chopsticks
- put your utensil down between bites
- drink at least 2 glasses of water during meal times
- Close your eyes while chewing
- Chew your food completely before swallowing