Would you say you’re a fast eater or a slow eater?
For years I considered myself to be a fast eater, often finishing way before anyone else at the table. It was almost as if I was trying to win a sprint. Now, it’s frequently the other way around and I surprise myself sometimes!
But in times of stress or when I’ve got so much on my mind that needs doing in the day, I have to remind myself to slow down because I know that by doing this, not only will I know when I’m no longer hungry and therefore will stop eating “mindlessly” but I will be doing my body a favour as slow consumption has real health benefits.
Studies have found that people who take time to chew slowly have better hydration, easier fat loss or maintenance, and greater satisfaction with meals.
However, eating slowly is often hard. You think you can just do it, but then you look down at what is left on your plate and you realise that in just a few minutes most of it is gone! You try to put down your knife and fork in between mouthfuls but find yourself loading the next input before you can even say Jack Robinson (or whatever takes your fancy!).
Yet, it’s absolutely possible to correct your speed-eating habit by making just a few simple changes.
To get you started, I have listed below a few methods that have worked for me. Remember, it does take time to change a habit so stick with it and you will reap the benefits - better body composition, improved sports performance, and better resilience both mentally and physically.
· Try to chew each mouthful of food between 20 and 30 times. It may seem a pain, but the trick is to be mindful, purposeful and tenacious. Chewing slowly will help you reduce the amount of food you eat (or times you overeat) and improve gastrointestinal hormone responses as well.
· Put down your knife and fork between bites. Resist the temptation to load that fork as soon as the last load has entered your mouth! Enjoy conversation and the people around you, or simply appreciate your surroundings and this moment of calm.
· Always eat at a table – never at your desk (yes I’ve done that too!) or in front of the television.
· Savour the flavours and textures. Think about the food you're eating and the healthy ingredients in it. The more real, whole foods you eat, the more you'll be able to appreciate your healthy, tasty choices.
· If you’re really struggling to slow down, swap your knife and fork for chopsticks; I bet thatt will slow you down!
· As soon as you start to feel full, put down your fork, wait a few minutes, and then decide if you really want more or not. Many of us feel we have to finish our plate but the food doesn’t have to go to waste – save any leftovers for your next meal – this will also cut your food bill down as an extra bonus. As you progress, try serving yourself smaller portions. And before taking more, have a glass of water, sit for five minutes, and then decide if you reall want the food.