I’ve been a quick eater all my life. I even remember my dad telling me to slow down and chew my food when I was younger. Unfortunately, it didn’t stick with me at the time, although I wish it had. Too bad I was just a kid and anything my parents said went in one ear and out the other. Fifteen plus years later, and I’ve finally started to slow down and take my time eating my meals. (Thanks Dad!)
But why is it so important to take your time when you eat? You’d be surprised at the numerous benefits of taking your time while eating. Let’s go through a few.
When You Eat Slowly, You Eat Less
It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. This is where I always struggled. I would rush through a plate of food and immediately go grab seconds before letting my stomach settle. I found myself 30 minutes later so full I was uncomfortable. Recently, I have started to take my time eating and I’ve actually been eating less. Leisurely eating allows enough time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full.
So if you eat slowly, you will eat less.
When You Breathe More, You Burn More
Crazy right? This is something that I recently learned. Oxygen is a key-nutrient that helps speed up our metabolism. So in order to boost that metabolism, you need to slow down and breath in between bites.
But how does this work? The intestinal villi is in your small intestine, and its primary job is to absorb nutrients. The villi also extracts large quantities of oxygen to help breakdown food. When our blood lacks oxygen it means that the nutrient absorption by the villi decreases. However, when our blood has plenty of oxygen, the nutrient absorption increases and so does our metabolism.
So take a breathe in-between bites.
Mindful Eating is Key
How do you eat your meals? Do you eat sitting at a table? Sitting on the couch watching TV? While running to work? We tend to zone out when we eat our meals, which can be a slippery slope. When we are more aware and present while eating, we actually eat LESS. But when we mindlessly eat, we eat more than we need to. Awareness allows us to listen to our body, figure out when we feel satisfied, and then if we hit the point of feeling full.
A good rule of thumb is to not eat past 80% of feeling full. We don’t want to eat past that point because it will weigh us down and we will feel heavier. When we eat to where we feel satisfied, we feel energized and ready to go. Eating past that point can lead to discomfort.
Tips to Slow Down Your Eating
Here are a few tips that may help you slow down while eating:
Just a girl writing down her thoughts on life post-trauma, body acceptance and wellness.