Eat Slowly: Simple, Effective...But Not Easy
Last week I talked about the magic of eating slowly, and how practicing this skill for 30-days could change your body and mind. And while this strategy is surprisingly effective and super simple, it is definitely not always easy to do.
For example, when was the last time you sat down to a meal with zero distractions and took 15-20 minutes to eat, chewing your food, pausing between bites, and focusing only on eating?
Yeah. Me too.
Slowing down is not exactly something we practice these days – we are used to instant gratification, having anything we want or need at the push of a button, and multitasking to get everything done in the day.
Eating has become an afterthought in many cases, something you do while you’re working or driving or watching TV (or your phone/iPad/computer etc.). It’s no wonder we have lost touch with our hunger and fullness cues, eat too much or experience digestive issues, and consume things that don’t ultimately make us feel very good.
Taking the time to eat a little more slowly and attentively can completely change your experience with food, but deciding to eat more slowly and actually doing it are two very different things.
I have been practicing slowing down my eating and coaching clients through the process for years, and I still have to consciously remind myself put away the distractions and eat slowly and mindfully. But when I do, it makes all the difference in how I feel and the choices I make.
If you’re ready to give slow eating a shot, here are some ideas for how to get started making this part of your daily routine:
- Start by timing a “normal” meal, and see how long it takes you to eat. Then, try to
extend that by just a minute or two at your next meal.
- Pause before eating and take a few deep breaths.
- Put a note by your place setting at the table or on the fridge reminding you to eat
- Put down your utensils between bites. Take a sip of water or a breath or two
before eating again.
- Eliminate distractions as much as possible. Put away the phone, turn off the TV. (If
you’re eating with others, obviously you’ll be engaging in conversation – you can use
that as your pause between bites of food and to check in with how you’re feeling.)
- If you’re eating with others, pace yourself with the slowest eater.
- Chew your food well, noticing the flavors, textures, and smells.
You don’t have to make every meal last an hour with zero distractions. You probably won’t even eat most meals each day without something else going on. And that's ok!
It bears repeating: this strategy is simple – and effective – but it is not easy.
Practicing even just a few meals a week where you really tune in and slow down, you’ll begin to build the skill of more mindful eating that you can then apply even when conditions aren’t ideal. And over time, it will become more habitual to eat slowly, notice how you’re feeling, and bring awareness and enjoyment to your meal - no matter the situation.
Whether or not you want to take on a 30-day challenge, perhaps you can give slow eating a try at your next meal and see what you think. Maybe try it again at another meal tomorrow. Experiment with different strategies to see what feels right for you.
The goal is not to be “perfect” about it, but rather to practice it consistently so it becomes part of your routine and a tool you’ll always have in your toolbox. And if you do give it a try, I’d love to hear about your experience! Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
I’ve said it enough times already, but I’ll say it again: this is simple, but not easy. If you’d like personalized guidance around eating slowly or other health and wellness strategies, send me a message or schedule your free consultation call.
...for your free 30-minute consultation call, or visit https://calendly.com/meganfschall/consultation-call to get started!