Americans spend an average of just 1 hour and 10 minutes a day eating and drinking. If you eat three meals a day and no snacks, that’s just 23 minutes a meal. Throw in the snacking that most of us do, and meal times get squeezed even more.
Why does it matter? It’s likely this speed eating is connected to our national struggle with excess weight.
Studies show that eating slower translates to eating less, and eating faster results in eating more—and obesity. It takes the body at least 20 minutes to register feelings of fullness. If we’re downing four pieces of pizza in 15 minutes, our body doesn’t have time to say, “Stop!”
Tips to Eat Slower:
- Create mindfulness at the start of your meal. Instead of diving right in, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can eat slowly and enjoy the food.
- Chew more than you usually would. Swallow each bite before preparing the next bite on your fork.
- Sip water regularly during the meal.
- Sit down and eat off a plate rather than over the kitchen sink, in front of an open refrigerator or out of a takeout carton.
- Focus on the food: how it tastes, smells and looks. Try not to stare at your phone or watch TV so you can avoid looking up and realizing your food is gone and you barely tasted it.
- Don’t wait until you’re famished to eat. When you’re very hungry, it’s hard not to scarf it all down.
Eat with chopsticks, if even you’re not having Asian food. Or switch your spoon or fork to your non-dominant hand.
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