The next time you sit down to a meal, time yourself and see how long it takes from start to finish. If you’re like most people, it’s pretty quick, so much so that a couple of hours later, you can hardly remember what you ate. Eating slowly is something we’ve lost sight of in our fast paced lives. Do you eat breakfast on the run, a quick lunch in front of the computer and dinner in ten minutes before whatever activity you are doing in the evening? I can see lots of you nodding your heads.
There are many positive reasons to try to change this habit. You will digest you food better, will actually taste what you eat and enjoy it more and it even might help manage your weight.
Studies have shown that people who eat more quickly are more likely to be overweight. There are a number of possibilities why this is so. When you eat slowly, you give time for your appetite-related hormones to do their job and let you know that you’ve had enough to eat. This can take about 20 minutes, and if you are eating quickly, you can wolf down way too many calories before that signal gets a chance to work. In addition, when you eat more slowly and really savour your food, you’ll find it easier to eat less.
It’s a healthy habit but not an easy one to start. Here are some tips:
- Slow yourself down by putting your knife and fork down between bites. Don’t pick them again until your mouth is empty. If you are having soup, put the spoon down between mouthfuls and if it’s a sandwich, take a bite, put it down, chew it well and then pick it up for the next bite. As you do this, it may seem uncomfortable but if you persist you will start to develop a new habit.
- When you are with people, chat in between bitefuls. Again, it will slow you down.
- I eat often with a friend who is a very slow eater. Without saying anything, I started to pace myself so I was eating like he eats. In the beginning, it felt strange but after a while, it became the way I was eating as well and now I am a much slower eater. So, if there is someone in your life who eats slowly, try to match their style to yours.
- Try not to eat when you are at the computer, in front of the TV or while you are reading. Instead, if you pay attention to what and how you are eating, its easier to eat slower, taste your food and eat less.
- Take smaller bites and chew your food more. This is hard to do but try it. Count how many times your chew before you swallow and then gradually start to increase. You’ll eat less and feel more satisfied,
- It’s much harder to eat slowly when you are really hungry. So, try to eat about every four hours and include small healthy snacks to keep hunger at bay.
All these tips may make you smile and at the same time you may be thinking that it’s not realistic in your life. And, it may not be realistic to do at every meal. But, try it when you can…you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.