Are you a fast eater or a slow eater?
It depends on how fast or slow we’re talking about I guess. I was a super-fast eater. I’d be the one finished and waiting for dessert before others were half-way through. I had no idea why or how I got that way…
Maybe I had to eat fast before my food was “stolen” by someone else. Or maybe I lived through a famine in a past life and didn’t know when the next meal would be. Sure seemed like that sometimes. I was an anxious eater too. Little did I know, this would create a severe weight problem for me as I got older.
The fast pace of our society doesn’t help either. We seem to have less time to just sit down and really enjoy our meal. And also the sheer quantity of food available these days encourages over-eating, right?
If you’re tired of the endless march of “new” diet books or programs, then try this instead – Eating Habits.
Eat slower! Okay, but how slow?
If you told some people (like me before) you need to take 30 minutes to eat your meal, they would cram-in all they could in that time. This would total defeat the purpose of eating slowly.
Eating slowly isn’t just based on time, it’s also about pacing yourself and taking your time to chew each mouthful. Being mindful as you’re eating.
“In one study in over 4,000 middle-aged adults, those who said they ate very fast tended to be heavier and had gained the most body weight since age 20.”
“Another study examined weight change in 529 men over 8 years. Those who reported being fast eaters gained more than twice as much weight as self-described slow or medium-paced eaters.”
What the research shows, and what I’ve proven by trying it myself, eating slower helps you eat less and feel more satisfied.
When you eat slower, your body has enough time to release hunger suppressing hormones. This reduces your appetite and makes you feel full. It takes about 20 minutes to reach this point.
As you can see, if you ate your meal in 10 minutes (I was much faster ~haha) you wouldn’t feel full and would start overeating. Like looking for more to eat like snacks, more dessert etc.
Here are a few tips for eating slower
- Don’t let yourself get too hungry
- Chew your food 2x longer than usual
- Set a timer for 20 minutes or longer (I do!)
- Don’t do anything else while eating – no TV, phone etc.
- Be mindful as you’re eating – Just eat!
People in Okinawa say this before every meal…Hara Hachi Bu! It basically means stop eating when you’re 80% full. This is very good advice that I have started following with excellent results. Try it!
Practice mindful eating
Being mindful of your eating will go a long way to helping you control your eating habits. When you eat, just eat. Improve your relationship with food. Focus on enjoying the aromas, the flavors and taste every bite completely.
Focus on how food makes you feel. You could even keep a journal to write down your experiences.
Whatever you do, just take your time and don’t be anxious about eating.
If you’re anxious about eating slow, you could try playing some soft, slow classical music as you eat. I love that!