10 Hacks for Slowing Down When You Eat
Do you wolf down food as though you were in a professional food eating contest? Did you know that that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to know that you’re full. That means that the faster you eat, the higher the chances you’ll overfeed yourself (because you’ll still think you’re hungry, although you’re not). This means that eating slower can give your brain time to catch up to your tummy and allow you to push the plate away when you should.
Of course, telling you to eat slower is easier said than done when you’re gotten into the habit of shuttling food into your mouth at the speed of light. It takes discipline and practice to master savoring each bite, but I will give you some hacks that ought to help you along. The added benefits is you’ll consume less calories, stop your digestive problems and lose weight. You’ll also be a step close to getting that thigh gap!
1. I generally discourage snacks in favor of full meals, but I realize that some of you haven’t been able to kick the snacking thing yet. Whether you’re eating popcorn, nuts or carrots from out of a bag, you can utilize this tip to help you slow down. Cut the smallest hole possible at the top of the bag so that one mini carrot or two fingers can reach in to grab one piece of popcorn at a time. If you split the bag wide open enough for you to fit your entire fist in there, you’re likely to do that and consume a lot more food per minute.
2. Sometimes you need to make a mental effort to do something until you do it naturally. For example, it is said that people form new habits after doing something for 3 weeks. Therefore, you can mentally count how many chews you take of a food before swallowing it for a few weeks before you’ll naturally start to chew your food longer whenever you eat. 30 to 50 chews is recommended. Make sure you also swallow each bite before taking another.
3. A classic trick for slowing down your eating habits is to cut things up into tiny pieces.The larger the bite, the faster you’re going to finish your food. When you take smaller bites, you can make the meal last longer. If you’re eating food that has to be cut up first – like a piece of meat or chicken – cut it up as you go instead of cutting everything up at the start and then digging in. With the later, it’s just too easy to get it all down quickly. As a matter of fact, anything that requires you to take some sort of action or work to eat is great, as you’ll naturally eat slower (e.g. peeling shrimp, cracking/peeling peanuts)
4. Another great trick for making sure you don’t overeat (because your brain still tells you that you can eat more food although your tummy is actually full) is to prepare portion sized meals in advanced and make sure you can’t go back for leftovers. How do you make sure you don’t go back for more? By preparing just the amount you need (one serving) or if you like to prepare your food in batches, freezing the rest immediately after the food is cooked.
5. This might seem a bit extreme, but again, simply do this for 3 weeks and you’ll naturally find yourself slowing down when you eat. You don’t have to utilize these practices forever! A great way to temper your eating pattern is to give yourself a set amount of time to finished your food. For example, say you have 20 minutes to finish your meal, instead of 5. Then, make sure that you stretch out your meal within that span of time.
6. If you notice you are loading the fork before you finish chewing, you’ve got a problem. Try to put your knife and fork down between each bite and don’t pick it back up again until you’re chewed and swallowed it. If you’re eating foods that don’t require utensils, put the food down between each bite.
7. Do you eat in courses? Well, you should if you want to slow down your eating. Most people won’t scarf down salad and veggies, but even if you do – by the time you get to the higher calorie portion of your meal, your tummy will already be pretty full. Works every time.
8. I do this all the time, and it really helps me to slow down the way I eat as well as consume less. Take meals apart. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a prepared meal outside of the home that doesn’t incorporate bread or some shuttle of some sort (wraps, crackers, etc.). I don’t advocate eating these things because of the carbs which gets turned into fat most of the time (I explain how this happens in the book), but realize some of you still do. I opt for eggplant or mushroom caps as my shuttles. Whether you choose eggplant or gluten free bread, instead of sandwiching your food, take it apart. Now you have 4 open faced items to eat, instead of 2 sandwiched meals. The additional time it takes to take your meal apart also helps you to slow down your consumption.
9. Don’t eat when you’re in a rush. When you’re pressed for time, either because you’ve got a really short lunch break, or have to get somewhere, you’re more likely to swallow your meal whole. Simply, wait until you have at least 30 minutes to eat your meal before sitting down to it. If you’re really hungry while you’re rushing, drink water or chew on a stick of sugar free gum.
10. Speaking of water, train yourself to take a sip between each bite or have a glass before every meal. Consuming water will fill you up and you won’t feel as ravenous to get through your food as quickly as possible.
BONUS TIP: If you really want to commit to eating slower, another hack (which I recommend using in the privacy of your home) is to eat with a teaspoon instead of a fork or tablespoon. Another option is to use chopsticks. Doing so will force you to pick up less food at a time, and thus reduce the speed at which you consume your food.
Like my hack tips? Got any of your own? Comment below!