How long does it take you to eat a meal?
I have always been a quick eater. I can remember my mother scolding me for swallowing forkfuls of macaroni and cheese whole without bothering to chew a single time. My mealtime speediness continued to be honed during my time in boot camp. Meals were inhaled so fast that my fork never stopped moving along the path from my tray to my mouth. At times utensils were skipped altogether and field rations were guzzled directly from their foil pouches. For me, a 3-minute meal was a stretch.
All that fast eating hasn’t done my body any favors. There is some lag time in the signal transmission between our stomachs and brains. By the time my brain gets the “full signal” from my stomach, I have most likely consumed hundreds of extra calories through mindless eating. Those extra calories can compound to become extra weight and an unhealthy body. Without fail, if I eat too quickly, I eat too much- no matter how healthy my meal is.
One of the simplest ways I have found to live the best version of myself is to SLOW DOWN.
Slowing down is easy to think about, but elusive and tricky to put into practice.
Here are 4 tools that I use to pace my eating:
- I settle myself before each meal. I bless my food, take a few deep breaths, let go of the day’s stress and focus on my meal.
- I drink water between bites. Taking a drink between bites slows me down by making me set down my fork. At the same time, it helps my body with digestion and nutrient absorption.
- I try to chew each bite at least 10 times. Again, this practice adds time to each bite and allows the enzymes in my mouth to do more work of breaking down my food before it hits the rest of my digestive tract.
- I socialize. When I am eating with others, I spend time building relationships and community. Not only does this slow me down, it allows me to share experiences and ideas with those I care about.
That’s it, I don’t have to buy any fancy pills, I don’t have to struggle through cravings for foods given up in pursuit of health.
I simply give my body the time to process.
You can do this too. It doesn’t have to be all 4, at the same time. Pick one and give it a try for a week or two. Listen to what your body is telling you during your eating experience and honor the “full signal” when it comes.Home