\When it comes to improving our nutritional habits, we tend to get caught up in the minutiae:
- “Do potatoes contribute to weight gain?”
- “If I skip a protein shake after my workout, does exercising become pointless?”
- “Is the keto diet truly the most effective way to shed pounds? Or should I be following the Paleo diet? Or maybe the alkaline diet?!”
Meanwhile, we hastily consume our meals over the kitchen sink, in our cars, or in a daze while glued to the television.
Is this a surprise? We have been conditioned to focus on WHAT we eat rather than HOW we eat.
It’s unfortunate because…
Practicing slow and mindful eating can actually have a profound impact on transforming our well-being.
I’m guilty of eating too fast. I think it’s a habit I developed during my pharmacy days when I attempted to eat my PB&J as fast as I could between patients.
So, this is a habit I’m working on with you.
Instead of obsessing over what foods to eat, how often, and in what portions – all crucial considerations – simply eating slowly is the easiest method for all of us to begin experiencing immediate improvements in our eating habits and overall satisfaction. Oh, and better digestion.
Why? There are two reasons:
- It takes roughly 20 minutes for our body’s signals of fullness to kick in. By eating slowly, we allow our system enough time to function properly, enabling us to better recognize when we’ve had enough.
- When we slow down and truly relish our meals, we tend to feel content with smaller portions and experience fewer feelings of deprivation.
Many of us often struggle with adopting this habit.
Sometimes things that are simple aren’t necessarily easy.
So, what can be done?
Start by practicing the art of slow eating. You have my permission to not do it perfectly. It’s okay. That’s precisely why dedicating an entire month solely to cultivating this one habit is a worthwhile idea.
To assist you on this journey, here are a few helpful tips. You can experiment with them during a single meal or embark on a complete “30-day slow-eating challenge” if you’re up for it.
Take a moment to breathe.
Before diving into your meal, take a brief pause. Inhale deeply. Take a bite. Then exhale. Proceed one bite and one breath at a time. That’s all it takes.
Extend mealtime by one minute.
At the start of each meal, set a timer and challenge yourself to make each subsequent meal last one minute longer than the previous one.
In addition to taking a breath (or three) between bites, try:
- Putting down your utensils
- Taking a sip of water
- Engaging someone at the table in cheerful conversation
Savor the flavors.
While eating, truly indulge in the experience. Enjoy every bite. Delight in the taste. Is it salty? Sweet? Does it linger on the roof of your mouth? How does it feel in terms of texture? Ponder over these questions with every mouthful.
Observe the factors influencing your eating pace.
Even subtle factors like silence or background music can influence our eating speed. That’s why some individuals have found success by listening to a curated “slow eating” playlist lasting 20 minutes.
Remember this golden rule: Refrain from loading your fork with food… if there’s still food in your mouth.
Happy slow eating,
Health Coach Carol
“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”― Lucille Ball