Study after study have proven that it takes our brain at least 20 minutes to register a feeling of satiety, or fullness. This means that if we eat too quickly, no matter how many calories we consume, our brain will still be shouting “Hungry! Me Hungry!”
Conversely, if we eat even a very low calorie meal, but make it last for at least 20 minutes, the brain registers fullness and gives us an, “All Done!” response.
One of the most effective tips I can give you in your weight loss quest is to SLOW DOWN when you eat. Make each meal last for at least 20 minutes and you’ll see results even if you don’t change a single thing on your plate.
The fact is you’re much more likely to become full and stop eating before you finish what is on your plate when you slow things down. Even if you do end up cleaning the plate, after a longer meal you are not as likely to head back for seconds or find yourself lurking around the vending machine a half hour after you’ve eaten.
Another big benefit of slowing down: Guilt! It is a whole lot easier to “forget” that you ate a Big Mac when you do it at Mock Speed. Food just doesn’t seem to “count” when it is devoured. Eating deliberately forces us to be cognizant of exactly what we are putting in our bodies.
Now here are the rules for healthy eating:
- You do NOT get to eat more food just because you are taking longer to eat. We are serving ourselves a reasonable portion and then making that portion a dining experience that lasts for at least 20 minutes.
- Put your fork or spoon down in between bites and chew slowly.
- Savor what you are eating: once you do this you’ll realize how often we chew and swallow without tasting a thing.
- When dining alone, try eating half your meal and then getting up from the table to do a quick task like reading the mail, watering a plant or doing a few sets of crunches (a joke!). Then go back and finish if you are still hungry.
- Choose pieces of fruit over juice – peeling an orange takes longer than guzzling a glass of juice.
- Choose side dishes that take a little longer to chew like broccoli or have carrot sticks with dip. Big salads are always a great choice for time consumption as well.
- Don’t slice or cut your meat before sitting down. Take time at the table to cut into your chicken breast, bite by bite.
- Sitting down with family or a friend is a great way to linger over our food.
Eating while driving or watching television are awful habits, plain and simple.
It is impossible to eat mindfully while listening to the radio and navigating traffic. I sincerely hope you make changes to kick these two diet-killing habits.
That being said, I recognize that, once in a while, we all get stuck having to eat on the way to the office when the alarm goes off late, or eating in front of the telly when it’s down to the Final Rose ceremony on The Bachelor.
In any case, you can STILL slow down even with these distractions bombarding your senses. The trick is to make sure you eat a few bites and then really settle into the drive, listen to the radio before taking another few bites. As for television, eat during commercials which are easy to zone out on. Hey, at least they can serve some purpose.
Food Is Love
Eating should be a beautiful, enjoyable experience. As a culture we have gotten so far from what food really is – nourishment, an opportunity to indulge our sense of taste and smell, and a reason for gathering and celebrate with family and friends. I know this world is hectic but that’s all the more reason to make eating time sacred – a little daily break you can savor quietly by yourself or joyfully with the kids and family.
Tonight, start to slow your eating pace down. Light a candle and relax. You may want to time yourself until you get the hang of it. I promise you that once you become accustomed to savoring your meals you’ll find you actually resent when you are forced to rush.
As your appreciation for food and all it offers grows your waistline is bound to shrink - a perfect combination