Why This Habit?
No one has time for anything anymore. We’re constantly being rushed. From one appointment to the next, from one work assignment to another, do this and finish that. It’s forced many of us to eat while driving, on the go, through a window, and very quickly.
This is a huge problem because you’re never giving yourself a chance to actually feel satisfied from a meal.
It takes roughly 20 minutes for your gut to signal to your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. If every meal you consume lasts 5 minutes that’s 15 extra minutes you can keep eating until you actually know that you’ve had enough.
Yeah, but is eating slowly really going to make a difference? You bet your butt it is. Studies are showing that just by slowing down when you eat you’ll consume fewer calories. Enough to lose 20 pounds a year without making any other changes.
How can I scale this habit?
Are you 90-100% confident you can spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal? If this is too difficult try 15 or even 10 minutes. The specific time doesn’t matter. The idea is to eat slower than you normally would (to do a little bit better).
Below are a few techniques that may help. There are more we can try. I’ve listed these to get you started.
Set Aside Some Time. Because you’ll be practicing this habit for the next week I suggest looking at your schedule on Sunday and committing to eating during times of the day where you know you’ll have at least 20 minutes to eat.
Sit at a Table. This may seem silly but sitting at many of us now eat at desks, in the car, or even on our feet. Try eating all of your meals at a table this week and if you can’t – commit to waiting until you can find a table.
Eat In Courses. You can practice this by eating all of your salad first, then all of your veggies, than your protein, and finally your potato. Try and start with what you feel is the healthiest food on your plate and work your way to what you feel may be the least healthy.
Eat In a Calm Environment. When you’re eating in a hectic, busy, or rushed in environment you’ll feel the need to hurry your eating. This may include the people you eat with. You know who I’m talking about. That fidgety eater that can’t seem to stop moving.
Utensils Down or Use Chopsticks. One of the simplest methods for slowing down and one that has worked really well for me has been to put down my utensils while chewing. This keeps me from loading up on the next bite before I’m even done chewing. Thus, avoiding what I like to call the shovel and swallow syndrome. Chopsticks have also helped me to slow down. I simply can’t get as much food per bite that I could with a fork or spoon.
What can I piggyback off of?
For this habit, you can use the act of sitting down to remind you to eat slower or just try adding a reminder/alert to your phone to go off every couple of hours.
What are some other ways you can help yourself establish this habit?
Create your personal habit statement
You don’t have to take 20 minutes to eat a meal. The idea is to eat a little bit slower than you normally would. So if 20 minutes is a struggle for you but 15 minutes is still slower than normal – go for that. If you’re still not confident you can take 15 minutes, try 10 minutes as long as it’s a little bit slower than normal for you.
Finish the following sentence:
I am 90-100% confident I will take (insert number of minutes) minutes to eat slowly when (insert your trigger, what will remind you to do the habit), every day for the next 7 days.
I am 90-100% confident I will take 20 minutes to eat slowly when I sit down to eat a meal, every day for the next 7 days.
What You Can Do Next
- Come up with your own or borrow the ideas above for ways you can scale this habit so that it’s easier for you to practice. Use your weekly habit tracker to measure your progress.
- Decide what you can piggyback back off of
- Create your personal habit statement and carry it around with you this week. You can even set it up as a reminder on your phone.
- If 20 minutes feels too difficult strive for 15, 12, or 10. As long as you’re eating a little bit slower than you normally do that’s a big win.
- Download and use the appetite awareness tracker to discover how eating slowly versus not so slow can influence your appetite
- Use the contact box below if you have any questions about this weeks habit.
Nutrition Mission #2: Drink Zero Calorie Beverages
Questions about this habit? Submit them below.
Photo – Miriam Miles