Have you ever stopped mid-meal to examine how quickly you’re eating?

Have you ever looked down at an empty plate and thought “I need to slow down”? If you have, you’re not alone.

Most Americans eat too quickly. And although you may not notice that you’re eating fast, it could be the reason you’re struggling to lose weight.

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By eating food too quickly, you’re not giving your brain enough time to register the signals from your stomach to let you know that you’re full. As a result, you may end up taking in more calories before you realize you’ve had enough.

Relationship with food

A recent study from Japan examined the eating habits of 1,700 young women. The results found that when the subjects ate more slowly, they felt full sooner and consumed fewer calories.

A similar study from Texas Christian University also explored the relationship between the rate of eating and calorie intake. The researchers found that people who ate slower ate 88 fewer calories on average than fast eaters.

eating slowly to lose weight_2The same study also found that people who eat slowly drink more water. Water plays an important role in digestion but also contributes to fullness as well.

Remember you should be aiming to drink at least 2 liters of water per day! A combination between slowly eating and drinking more fluids can help contribute to comfortable satiety.

Connect your mouth with your brain

As evidenced by these two studies and many others, eating at a slow pace will help limit your caloric intake. But more importantly, eating slower will heighten your senses and elicit the joy in eating that you may have lost over the years.

It takes roughly 20 minutes for your brain to process how full you are. You’ll be surprised at how much more filling your meal will seem if you take your time with it.

Slow and steady wins the race

Try to sit down and really stretch out your meal for 20 minutes. This may be difficult at first, so your first goal is to get a baseline number of minutes it takes you to eat your meal.

Then increase gradually from there, until you hit the 20 minute mark.

One way you can accomplish this is to put a forkful of food in your mouth and then put your fork down. Focus on the bite of food in your mouth instead of digging your fork into the next forkful of food on your plate. Take your time. How does it taste?

Do you enjoy the flavor, the texture, and the aroma of the food?

Focusing on each bite and chewing slowly allows you to get more enjoyment out of each bite of food and helps you to slow down. You will find yourself naturally slowing down when you eat this way. 

Challenge yourself to take time for eating. You’ll find peace, mental clarity and a trimmer waistline.

Connect with Expert Bonnie Giller

References:

Elsevier, research and journals, Slower paced meal reduces hunger but affects calorie consumption differently in normal weight and overweight or obese individuals.

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