How To Slow Down When Eating

You know the person and maybe you are one.  The person who always finishes their meal about 10 minutes before everyone else does.  The person who gobbles up their food too fast without skipping a beat and then sits around eyeing the rest at the table who are still enjoying their food.

Speed eating or shoveling in food at a hurried pace has its drawbacks:

·        Overly zealous eaters are not necessarily always overweight but they may have more problems with indigestion and reflux.

·        Eating fast can lead to becoming overweight – they often are distracted and may not notice when they feel full.

·        They could be more at risk of choking by not thoroughly chewing their food.

·        They are probably not enjoying their meal or food to the fullest.

Why do some people eat so fast?

Often, the habit of fast eating develops in childhood from a variety of factors.  Maybe a person grew up in a chaotic household where meals were fast-paced and hurried to begin with.  Maybe there wasn’t enough food in the house and you had to eat quickly to get full before it was gone. Or some people just have sense of urgency or of things to do that makes them quickly snarf down their food. 

Is there a certain length of time a meal should take?

All cultures around the world have kind of their notion of what the length of time a meal should take.  It really depends on what you are eating and whether the meal is with family, friends, or by yourself.  It is ideal to take your time allowing at least 10 minutes but preferably up to 20 minutes or more.  Eating is one of the great pleasures in life and should not be taken lightly but rather enjoyed and savored.

How to pace yourself when eating

·        Limit distractions while you are eating so you become more aware of your portion sizes.  Turn off the TV, and allow no computers, cell phones or Ipads at the table while eating.

·        Put less food on each forkful.

·        Chew each bite more thoroughly.  To really slow yourself down when eating, chew your food to the count of 10 before you swallow.

·        Put your fork down between each bite of food.

·        Have a sip of water between every third bite of food.

·        Observe people who are slow eaters. Watch and mirror their every move including how much food they load on their utensils, when the utensil is put down, and the pace they use in bringing the food to their mouth.  Notice how long they take for each bite of food and try to emulate that.

·        Learn to listen to your body’s first sign of feeling full.  Slow the pace of eating down in order to recognize that subtle feeling gauging how much more you want to eat when that feeling is first noticed. 

·        Stop eating when you feel the first physical sign of comfortable fullness:

·        Comfortable fullness feels like slight pressure in your stomach.

·        You should not feel stuffed, bloated, or tired after you eat.

·        Put on some relaxing music rather than high paced music that might cause you to eat faster.

·        Set the mood for the meal – dim the lights, light some candles to create a mood of relaxation and ambience.

·        Avoid getting overly hungry.  This makes it hard to slow down the pace when you are really hungry.

·        Program your smart phone to time mode or metronome beat and set your eating pace to match the slower interval.