How To Eat Slowly (And Why You Should!) August 4, 2010Posted by Jen in Mindful Eating.
I probably should have take my own advice, because I just finished my lunch faster than I intended to! However, every meal is an opportunity to eat mindfully and learn from our experiences.
One of my own struggles has been with mindful eating. Same with my clients. In fact, I think people who eat mindfully all the time probably have no problem with overeating and are probably pretty happy – I think mindful eating bleeds into other areas of life, too. Like being mindful about the negative thoughts running through your head, or mindful of how you treat your loved ones.
One of the key elements to mindful eating is eating slowly. You’re probably not being very mindful if you cram down your lunch barely chewing it, huh? So how can you begin to slow down? These are my tips and tricks:
- Set a timer. Yes, I’m serious. When I first started trying to eat slowly, I set the timer on my watch for ten minutes. Ten minutes doesn’t sound like that much time, but for someone who normally crammed down breakfast in five minutes or less, this was a good starting place. I would press “start” and then monitor the level of the food in my bowl with my watch. Most of the time since I was already setting my intention to eat slower, it was easy for me to stretch the bowl of oatmeal out for that much time.
- Chew until your food is liquid. That sounds kinda gross, doesn’t it? Chewing is your body’s first line of digestion, and chewing your food thoroughly will both help you slow down and help out the rest of your body when it is its turn to digest! I found that chewing things until they were liquid was hard for me, it seemed to take so long! But it sure does slow you down, so give it a try.
- Put that fork down! Do you ever hold up your fork or spoon and shovel in a second bite before you’ve finished the first? No beuno, people, no bueno! Take a bite. Put the fork down. Chew it until it’s liquid. Swallow. Pick the fork back up and take another bite. Put the fork down. Repeat. Same goes for the plate/bowl if you’re eating on the couch at night. Put the bowl down! Do NOT hold in your hands while you are eating it. Putting it (and your spoon) down will create a psychological distance between you and the food, giving you time to think about your next bite. Or at least that sounds good, and sure helps me out.
- Do not do anything besides eat. Eating is a pleasure, or it should be. Do not watch TV, read a book, surf the ‘net, fight with your loved ones, or distract yourself thinking about your next meal/work/world peace. Just eat. This step in and of itself will get you to slow down – what else is there to do besides eat and enjoy your meal?
- If you intend to eat slowly but are not, figure out what’s behind it. Why did I eat my lunch quickly today? Because I was reading blogs and not paying attention. (Luckily, my hunger signals are pretty strong, so I stopped eating when I felt hungry and put the rest of my lunch away. However, I didn’t get to enjoy it nearly as much as I would have!) Why wasn’t I paying attention? Same old excuse from me: I didn’t feel like it. Why not? Probably because today I feel sort of bored and unsettled, and I didn’t want to take the time to slow down to pay attention. However, I’ve noted the problem, and when I get hungry again I intend to savor every bite, slowly.
And, quickly, why you should eat slowly:
- Promotes weight loss, as you’re more likely to realize when you’re full
- Better for your digestion.
- Makes food much more enjoyable!
- You’re not as likely to choke on it :)
- By paying attention, you’re opening yourself up to listening to your body. This is extremely important to your overall health!
Do you eat slowly? What are your tips?