By Judy Weitzman
In today’s world everything is fast. Especially with the onset of the Internet it seems like everything needs to be faster, and we seldom take the time to smell the flowers during our insanely busy days. The one thing that we should seriously consider slowing down is how fast we eat. Many folks blame it on their demanding schedules or rushing from here to there. No one is exempt from the craziness of today’s world. However, these are not good excuses for eating too fast. It is a very common problem that leads to overeating and discomfort after a meal. It is one of the biggest reasons why people are overweight today. Did you know it takes about twenty minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full? Most of us are done eating in less than that.
There are lots of tips and tricks for eating more slowly. First you need to be aware of your eating behaviors. One time I asked my cousin if he ate fast and he said he ate like a “vacuum cleaner”. He obviously was very aware of how fast he ate. It is not a race to the finish line. Luckily we do not live in a third world country where we have to worry about where our next meal will be. Yet some of us eat that way.
Have you ever observed someone eating a sandwich? Many men and women will pick up their sandwich with both hands and take a bite. No problem. What blows me away is that they keep holding the sandwich while they chew. Think about it. It happens all the time. It is not as if someone is going to swing by and steal the sandwich off their plate. They have the sandwich perched and ready for that next bite. By simply putting down the sandwich between bites, it will slow the process. Same goes for a slice of pizza, putting it down between bites will slow the eating process.
Most food is eaten with utensils, unlike sandwiches, when it is appropriate to eat with your hands. One way to slow down is to eat with chopsticks. Eating with chopsticks is an art form. Realistically we eat with regular silverware, which is fine. Once again, it is about putting down the utensil between bites. You can even take it up a notch by putting down your fork, then take a sip of water between bites to ensure you have thoroughly chewed and swallowed your food.
The size of your bites can slow you down. By cutting your food into tiny pieces (like you would for a small child) you will eat more slowly.
Take the time you need to eat. Try not to eat standing up at a counter or over the sink in the kitchen. Yep, we have all done it. Put your food on a plate and sit down at a table to enjoy your meal. Focus on what you are eating and enjoy the different flavors.
Speaking of flavors, they are enhanced by the smell and when you take more time to chew your food you will taste more and it registers with your brain that you are being satisfied.
The upside of eating more slowly is you will enjoy your food more, have better digestion, you will eat less and enjoy the experience more without the stress of rushing the meal. When you are not careful about eating more slowly, you risk having heartburn and reflux, which is not fun. Most importantly, eating slowly lessens the chance of overeating and becoming overweight.
The good news is that it doesn’t cost a dime to slow down. This is a serious lifestyle change that will give you a better life. So next time you have a sandwich, please put it down between bites!
“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”