Are you often the first one finished eating? Do you sometimes have the impression that you eat too fast and too much and end up feeling too full and/or guilty? Try these 12 TIPS to simply SLOW DOWN!
We are a rushed, distracted, and very busy society and many of us eat too quickly. Multiple studies have shown that the odds of being overweight are greater and calories consumed higher by fast eaters. In addition, slower eating has been shown to help us feel full sooner. The benefits of slow eating can include better digestion, better hydration, easier weight loss or maintenance, and greater satisfaction with our meals. Start by asking yourself WHY you eat fast and then for improved health and well-being try these 12 simple changes to put on the brakes!
- Take time to eat and practice, practice, practice! It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness and feeling full often translates into eating less. In order to break the habit of eating quickly, make a point to practice mindful eating by scheduling it into the day until the new habits become automatic. Habits typically take 3-4 weeks to develop. For some habit developing tips, read more here.
- Eat regularly. Eating slowly and taking smaller bites can be very difficult, especially when we are busy and starving. It can be easier to slow the pace if meals are eaten regularly, about every 4 hours so we don't reach the famished stage.
- Sit Down. Sitting at a table to eat tells your brain you are having a meal. If you eat while standing, in the car or doing something else, you can quickly lose track of how much you’ve eaten. In addition, sitting down has been shown to help people eat less.
- Reduce sizes. A clean plate is a powerful cue that a meal is finished and studies show that people eat more when they are confronted with larger portion sizes. Smaller portions on smaller plates are a reminder to take time and savour each bite. Try not to save the “best for last” because you might not be hungry by that time and it just might force you into “cleaning your plate”!
- Remove distractions. Distracted eating has been shown to lead to weight gain. While reading, surfing the net, driving or watching TV, it is impossible to pay full attention to your body or your food.
- Take smaller bites. Looking at your full fork and purposefully putting back half – making half a bite – doubles the number of bites in a meal and automatically slows things down. Studies have revealed that taking smaller bites can help prevent mindless overeating,
- Put down your fork. Putting the fork or finger food – like a sandwich or burger - down can encourage us to relax and focus on chewing what we already have rather than on the next bite. Creating such a virtual speed bump that interrupts your meal can be a reminder to slow down and reassess hunger.
- Drink! Consciously sip your drink throughout the meal. This requires putting the utensil down, chewing and swallowing before eating more. It also adds liquid to your stomach and can help you feel fuller. Water is a perfect choice, but even sipping wine can slow down a meal.
- Talk! If you are using your mouth to talk it is really difficult and impolite to put food into it! Eating with friends or family and having a great conversation can be an ideal opportunity to slow down. Many people tend to eat slower when they are with others.
- Create a calm environment. Environment can have a big impact on our mental state and the way we eat. Set the food mood by dimming lights, lighting candles or quiet music.
- Chew more! Food that's ready to swallow goes down too fast. The simple act of chewing can slow us down and increase the satisfaction and improve digestion. Raw fruits and vegetables and high fiber foods tend to require more chewing.
- Use an APP! A Slow Eating APP can be a powerful coaching tool during the habit change process. Some popular ones include “Am I Hungry?® Virtual Coach” “EatSlowly” or “HapiFork”.
Finally, if you are interested in learning to eat more mindfully, contact me! On my “Whats Happening” Page, you will find many options from coaching to retreats to support you in your efforts! And remember...
"Slow change nurtures the world we desire better than quick fixes!"