Gotcha! Did you think I was going to confess that I was slowing down on my exercise or with my commitment to living a healthy lifestyle? If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know that is not going to happen anytime soon.
No, I’m talking about slowing down the rate at which you eat your food. I have to confess that I am in the “Fast Eaters Club of America” and often finish my food way before anyone else does. Sometimes I blame it on being a mom and trying to finish my meal so I can help the kids if they need a drink refill or more of some food. But the truth is that I have always been a speedy eater.
Two Studies on Eating Speed
A study published last year found that people with a higher BMI tended to eat more rapidly than people with a lower BMI and another study found that men tended to eat faster than women. The study didn’t conclude that fast eating caused obesity, but just that overweight people tended to eat faster than those at a normal weight. I thought this study was worth talking about because slowing down your eating pace is an easy way to help you eat mindfully.
Mindful eating is a touchy topic for me because for it to work, your body has to be sending you some good cues such as carrots are better for you than cake, and that eating just one piece of pizza really can satisfy you. But I can see the benefit of eating slower both from a calorie standpoint and from a “training your mind” standpoint. I have written about mindful eating before, and some of you felt as though mindful eating came well into the weight loss process, while others have had success using a mindful eating strategy from the beginning.
When you eat slower, you definitely give yourself time to savor each bite, really think about what foods you are enjoying, and giving your body time to digest what you are eating. Not surprisingly, the study also found that people who ate whole grains ate slower than those people who were eating primarily white, refined grains. I can see why this is true because it takes my kids a lot longer to eat the whole wheat bread that I make as opposed to a roll or bun made from white flour.
Some techniques that might help you slow down if you are a speedy eater like me include:
1. Sit down while you eat. You may find that you eat a bit more slowly if you are not eating on the run.
2. Chew your food thoroughly. I am bad about this one, but when I do practice what I preach, I find it easier to slow down.
3. Put your fork down between mouthfuls. My mom used to tell me this one and I rolled my eyes at her, but it really does force you to slow down – unless your meal consists mainly of finger food!
4. Practice the art of good conversation. Unless you are a child who talks with her mouth full, carrying on a lively conversation with other dinner partners may help you slow down. Beware though – eating in groups can cause you to eat more than you intend because you are not paying attention to how much food you are eating.
5. Just eat. Instead of eating in front of the television, or while surfing the Internet, just focus on eating one bite at a time.
Where do you fall in the fast eater versus slow eater continuum? Ever try slowing down? Diane