This nutrition habit is about slowing down while eating in order to give your body time to feel full and satisfied before overeating.
🎯 Habit Instructions:
- ✅ Easy Mode: Pick 1 strategy to help yourself eat more slowly during one meal today.
- ✅ Hard Mode: Combine multiple strategies to help yourself eat more slowly during at least one meal today.
📢 More Information:
It takes about 20 minutes from the start of your meal for your brain to send out satiety signals and hormones that indicate you are full and no longer need to eat.
If you eat too quickly then you will completely miss these hunger and satiety cues. You are very likely to finish your meal (and have eaten too much) before you realise you are full. You may even be tempted to go back for seconds or dessert.
This holds true for both junk food and healthy foods. (Yes, you can still maintain or gain unwanted weight from even the healthiest foods if you eat too much of them.)
Research shows that those who eat slowly are generally much better off than those who gobble down their meals as if someone is going to steal their food.
In fact, eating slowly can provide enormous benefit at very little effort cost:
- People who eat slowly tend to be less overweight in general and also gain less weight over time compared to quicker eaters.
- Eating slowly increases how satisfied you are with what you ate (which is more than just being “full”).
- People who feel satisfied from a meal are less likely to experience cravings soon afterward.
- Eating slowly increases how full you feel after a meal.
- People who feel full after a meal are less likely to eat as frequently.
- People who feel fuller after eating a meal are more likely to maintain or decrease their portion size next time, whereas those who never really feel full or satisfied from a meal are more likely to increase their portion size next time.
- Eating slowly reduces the amount of calories you eat in general (which can lead to weight loss or better weight management).
- Eating slowly improves digestion (digestion start in the mouth, so gulping down food sabotages that process), and when food isn’t digested properly we get indigestion and other GI problems.
While eating slowly is definitely not the holy grail of weight loss, it is a habit that will help you manage emotional eating, improve portion control, and feel more satisfied with what you eat.
Eating slowly is your safety net. If you ever feel overwhelmed, fall off the wagon, or find things not going the way you want them to, don’t panic. Slow down. Pause. Breathe. Relax… and go back to eating slowly.
🔁 Make It a Habit
- Just try. Pick one of the six strategies listed above to help yourself eat slowly and give it a try.
- Practice. You don’t just wake up one day and become a slow or mindful eater. It’s something that you have to work on over and over again, focusing on how you can get even just 1% better each time.
- Set a reminder. If need be, set a reminder to help yourself eat more slowly. This might be a reminder for just before meal time to help you remember to begin eating slowly, or it might be a reminder during your meal incase you forget half way through.
Intermediates and Advanced:
- Work on stretching out that meal time from the average 2-5 minutes for most people closer to the 10-, 15-, or even 20-minute mark.
- Combine multiple strategies to eat slowly at the same time, layering them in to help you slow down in different ways.
- Make it competitive by challenging someone else to see if they can eat as slowly or even slower than you, either in person or via a video call.