Our Western world is obsessed with speed. Fast results. Fast solutions. Fast weight loss! Six pack abs in just six days!
We are rushing, rushing to the finish line—a finish line doesn’t really seem to exist. We’re working hard, always rushing, always trying to manage a packed schedule…
But this is making us sicker, over-stressed, burnt out, and unhealthy—especially when it comes to eating.
That’s right: when eating, there’s a lot of power in slowing down.
No matter what you’re eating, where you’re eating, when you’re eating, or who you’re eating with, it’s more important than anything to slo-o-o-w down.
Even if you get off track with exercise and your healthy eating plan, you can always return to eating slowly and mindfully.
Why is this important?
Because when you pay attention to the food you’re eating and actually take the time to enjoy it, your body is able to keep up. You give it a break with more time to digest and assimilate the food.
You also find yourself needing LESS food to be fully satisfied.
Plus, you’ll have less cravings. When you eat quickly and don’t pay attention to your food, your body hasn’t had time to process what you ate… leading to cravings an hour later and the feeling of “not having enough.”
When you practice really paying attention to your food and slowing down the eating process, that translates into everything else in your life.
Because think about it: getting real results in anything in life takes time, whether it’s school, relationships, or learning new things.
We all want rapid results, like quick weight loss from a crash diet… but it’s been proven that these fast results don’t last.
So slow down. Give yourself time. Enjoy your food.
Your Guide to Eating Slowly
If you’re used to scarfing down each meal, this might be a new experience for you, so give it time. Here’s where to start:
#1 Give Yourself 5-10 Extra Minutes to Eat
Eat your food as slowly as you can. Sit down and get comfortable.
After taking a bite, put down your fork or spoon and take a few deep breaths between each bite. Notice how you feel. Use a timer to find out how long it takes you to eat from start to finish, then try adding on more time to that.
Notice the different aspects of your food:
- texture: is it crunchy, smooth, soft, tough, etc?
- how it feels when you bite into and chew it
Enjoy the whole experience of eating!
#2 Eat Without Distractions
Try turning off electronics that you might normally have on while eating—the TV, your smartphone, your laptop, your iPad. Even if you normally read during your meal, give that a rest too.
Ideally you can do this while you’re alone, but if you’re eating around other people who are talking to you, take your bites in between conversation and focus fully on each.
#3 Don’t Get Stuck on Perfection
Remember, you don’t have to do this perfectly—that’s why it’s called a slow eating practice, after all. Just work on simply slowing down your eating overall.
#4 Leave Reminders
Set an alarm on your phone to go off right before meal time so you don’t forget about your new slow eating practice (then, turn your phone OFF to silence the distraction while you eat).
#5 Enjoy and Relax!
This exercise is an encouragement to enjoy whatever you are eating. Don’t think about calories or how much you should eat right now. Just slow down and enjoy.
And don’t stress. Let yourself relax. Realize that if you have weight to lose, you might not lose it right away—and that’s alright.
Eating slowly is the first step in building a more mindful eating practice to bring results that will last you for life—not for just a few months.
Use these techniques during your next meal:
- Eat it slowly and add 5-10 minutes.
- Take deep breaths in between bites.
- Inspect the food’s textures: How does it smell? How is the texture when you bite it? How does its taste change as you chew it slowly and many times?
- Repeat with each bite until you’re satisfied.
- Ask yourself what you noticed about the meal and how it was different than if you’d eaten it like you normally do.
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Note that this information is presented as educational in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure or prevent any disease.