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Slow Your Eating Down—Here’s Why and How:


Sweet Emma made a lovely meal.  Delicious, visually pleasing and healthy. We sat down to enjoy and one minute later her plate was empty. 


I mean one minute! 


It was hard to believe.  


I considered it might be an aberration until we had dined together multiple times and the same thing kept happening.  She was self-aware and unapologetic, “I’m a very fast eater”. 


Now, Emma was not obese, but according to a recent study published in the online version of the British Medical Journal, fast eaters are much more likely to be obese than slow ones.


The study was conducted in Japan with almost 60,000 type 2 diabetic men and women over a 6-year period.  At the beginning, less than 10% of the study population self-identified as slow eaters.  Their average BMI (body mass index) was 22 (“normal”), whereas the self-identified fast eaters made up over a third of the study population and their average BMI was 25 (“overweight” in the U.S. and considered “obese” in Japan). 


That may not be surprising. 


The body takes 15-20 minutes to realize it’s satisfied, so if you eat a meal faster than that, you could easily overeat. 


Excess calories = excess weight.


The real value of the article is that it points to the idea that if you slow down your eating you can affect your destiny when it comes to your weight.


The researchers noted that if you became a slow eater, especially after being a fast eater, you were more likely to assume the weight characteristics of the slow eater group. 


Slow eaters did not gain weight as much as the fast and normal eaters after 6 years. They were much less likely to become obese.


Slower eating is a core premise for the French Diet or any Mindfulness practice — eat with intention (or as we say around here: be conscious with your food). 


Here are 7 practices that slow down your eating and at the same time enhance the overall enjoyment of a meal:


  • Sitting down at a table to eat
  • Having a place setting (using a plate, napkin and cutlery)
  • No distractions (no reading, TV or electronics.  Just savoring your food.)
  • Saying Grace (or somehow being grateful for the food you are about to eat)
  • Putting your fork down between bites
  • Taking smaller bites
  • Chewing your food thoroughly


Put one of these into practice today. 


What would it feel like to consider the path your food took to get to your plate? 

Does it feel decadent to use a place setting for breakfast? 

What if you noticed each taste with every bite?


The more connected we are to our activities, the more enjoyment we get. 


And if we notice something doesn’t taste fantastic, then we can decide not to eat it and start upping our food quality game. 


Things only get better in the slow lane.




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