Eating slowly is a tool used in a mindful eating approach. It allows to really focus on what it is we’re eating and how that food makes us feel.
Benefits of eating slowly
Eating slowly allows us to fully experience and enjoy our foods. Foods are not only meant to fuel us, but also to give us joy. By eating slowly, we are able to appreciate the flavors, smells, texture, and colors of our foods.
There is joy to be found in even the simplest foods.
Eating slowly improves our digestion.
There are many steps to digestion. Many people believe we start digesting food once it hits our stomach, but that is not true. We start the digestion process as soon as we smell and see the food.
Once we smell and see the food, we begin producing saliva. The saliva moistens our mouth in preparation for eating and it contains enzymes that helps break down the food, along with chewing.
The secretion of saliva also signals to other parts of our digestive tract, such as our stomach to produce more acid.
Eating quickly doesn’t give our body and brain time to register that it is full. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the start of the meal for the brain to send signals of fullness. It’s usually after we have overeaten that our bodies start to feel discomfort.
Eating quickly causes people to unintentionally eat more food. Because it takes 20 minutes for the brain to signal fullness, people don’t realize they’re full and take in too many calories. Overtime, this causes weight gain.
People that binge eat often have an overwhelming and uncontrollable desire to eat. During these episodes they rapidly eat an excessive amount of food and often feel out of control and guilt.
One way to battle binge eating is to slow down. If you feel a binge coming on or in the middle of a binge, if you can, try to stop and take 5 deep belly breaths. Afterwards, walk away or if you’re eating a meal, make a conscious effort to slow down.
Eating slowly will give you a sense of control and prevent overeating. So, how you eat slowly?
Below are my top tips on how to eat slowly:
Eat with your non-dominate hand.
Put down utensils when chewing food.
Drink a sip of water in between bites.
Use chopsticks to eat your food.
Set aside time to eat and use a timer for at least 20 minutes.
Enjoy a conversation with family and friends.
If you start to eat fast, put down your utensils and take a minute or two to refocus and slow down.
Add raw vegetables or fruit to your meal. It takes more time to chew raw produce than it does cooked produce.
What are your tips for eating slower?