March 9

How Eating Slowly Helps You Lose Weight

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We live in a fast-paced world.

Amazon delivers products to your door, sometimes on the same day. Lunch breaks are 20 minutes instead of an hour. The internet is available instantly, and we don’t have to wait for the next episode of our favourite show.

Like food is. It’s also just there. Whether we get it from the supermarket or order it on Deliveroo, food is available and fast. And we eat it fast. How many times have you opened a packet of crisps, and the next thing you know, the whole bag is finished?

You’re not alone. As a society, we eat too fast. We’re distracted when we eat, and we treat food like a task to be accomplished so we can move on to the next item on our to-do list.

Does this all sound familiar? What if I told you that slow eating would improve your health and help you lose weight?

Eating Slowly: The Key to Enjoying Food

Rushed meals are stressful. You eat so fast; you don’t know if you’re full. You could also end up stuffed and uncomfortable. You will probably put on weight.

For some real-world numbers: Fast eaters are up to 115% more likely than slower eaters to be obese.

On the flip side, when you eat slowly, you enjoy food more. You relax and take time to appreciate your food and your company. You’ll feel more satisfied, and you digest better.

Let’s look at the why and how of slow eating.

You’ll Probably Eat Less

If you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, it’s helpful to know that eating slowly promotes smaller portions without trying. 

How much we eat is controlled by hormones. After a meal, your gut suppresses the hunger hormones and releases fullness hormones. These hormones tell your brain that you’re eating and when you’re full during a meal.

But the process takes 20 minutes. If you scarf your food down in 5 minutes, you won’t know whether you’re satisfied or overly full.

You’ll Consume Fewer Calories

Yes, this point is similar to the above. But for slightly different reasons. Eating less also means fewer calories consumed.

If you feel full during a meal, you might stop eating even if you haven’t finished the meal. If you struggle with food rules, leaving food on the plate might be difficult, but it’s OK; you can leave food. It’s not wasted.

You might also feel fuller for longer, meaning you’ll consume fewer calories over the day.

It Aids Better Digestion

Do you ever eat so fast that you feel sick after? Do you get indigestion? Bloating?

Try chewing your food more. Digestion starts in the mouth. Saliva breaks down food and aids digestion, meaning less work in the stomach. You might even alleviate some digestive problems.

With more chewing comes slower eating, and… Fewer calories consumed.

Note: Chewing too much might lower your enjoyment of a meal through boredom and a sore jaw. Find a middle ground.

Enjoy Your Food

I used to have a client who was so ‘busy’ he would eat his dinner leaning over the kitchen sink.

Sitting down for a meal with someone else is one of the joys of life. You’ll feel less stressed, you’ll eat slower, and you’ll rest more between bites. 

Tasting your food leads to satisfaction, and satisfaction leads to feeling naturally fuller. Imagine eating your favourite foods but slowly and taking time to enjoy them? You can get the same great taste without finishing the whole thing.

Rebel Against the Fast Life

Mealtimes shouldn’t be stressful. We have enough in our lives to be stressed about. I understand that children might cause stress at mealtimes, but sitting down together with family, spouses, or friends, is a great way to slow down and be present.

You’ll feel motivated to cook, exercise more, and enjoy food with less stress.

Slow Down Disordered Eating

If you’ve ever experienced a binge-eating episode, you’ll know what it feels like. A powerful urge to eat as much food as fast as possible. Compulsive eating often feels like a lack of control, and after a binge-eating episode, you might feel guilty, ashamed, and regretful.

One way to curtail a binge-eating episode is to slow down. In the moment, it might be difficult. It takes practice. As soon as you realise what’s happening–slow down.

How do You Eat Slowly?

We’ve highlighted the why. Here’s the how.

  • Set time aside to eat – at least 20 minutes. You can set a timer at the beginning and try your best to eat at a slow, consistent pace. You deserve quality time with friends and family.
  • Chew more – you might be surprised how little you chew. Those big blocks of food hurtling down into your stomach aren’t doing you any favours. Try doubling the amount you chew each mouthful.
  • Put your knife and fork down between bites – this one is practical and could be a game-changer. Notice the next time you eat how you’ve already picked up the next bite of food before finishing what’s in your mouth.
  • Turn off your screens – and eliminate other distractions. Pay attention to your food and the people around you.
  • If you catch yourself rushing, it’s OK – eating slowly takes practice. Set your utensils down, take a breath, re-focus, and carry on. Don’t beat yourself up.
  • Eat foods that need chewing – it’s a lot harder to wolf down fruits and vegetables. They’re fibrous and require a lot of chewing.
  • Avoid extreme hunger – when you’re super hungry, you’re more likely to eat higher-calorie foods and eat them fast. Use the hunger scale to tune in to hunger levels.

Eating Slowly for the Win

Eating slowly doesn’t just happen. You might have to unpack years of bad habits (sometimes from childhood!) and learn to focus on and enjoy food.

Behaviours take, on average, 66 days to become a habit. Even if you just focus on eating slowly, you’ll notice changes in your stress levels, experience more food enjoyment, and you might lose weight.

We can help and support you to slow down and enjoy food again. Reach out today and book a call.


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