Confession: I Am a Fast Eater

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It seems as though I am always in a hurry. I’m not too sure if this is because I have so much to do or if this is just part of my type A personality. From the moment I get up in the morning, to the minute my head hits the pillow, I am either doing something or thinking of things I need to do. I have a to-do list a mile long. My goal is to check off as many of those tasks at the end of each day. For any uncompleted tasks they are either added to the following day's list or I abandon them completely. I’m not too sure why I feel so compelled to be in such a hurry about almost everything, but meal time is the one area I am consistently coming up short when it comes to slowing down.

One of the last unhealthy habits I am really hoping to break is rushing through meal time. A habit that I can trace back to the days of my youth when I would spend 15 minutes in the lunch line at school, leaving little time to eat AND talk with my friends. Studies have shown that the faster we eat, the more calories we consume and the fatter it makes us. Last month when I led SparkPeople's Official Healthy Habits Challenge, I wanted to finally break this habit of eating too quickly. So I started doing research on the steps to take to break this habit and in my research I discovered this is quite a common problem for many of us. Because we live in such a fast pace world where fast food restaurants can be found in almost any American city, this fast pace eating can be linked to the obesity epidemic.

It takes approximately 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to the brain that it is full. Because of this fact, many times I would be done with my meal before my brain ever got the signal, therefore I would find myself fending off the after-lunch or after-dinner munchies even after eating a full meal.

Below are a few tips they may help you slow down your eating. Meal times should be enjoyed and not rushed. And while I would like to say I have mastered many of the tips, some I have, and others I am still working on.
  • Drink a glass a water before eating your meal
  • Put your fork down in between bites
  • Pre-cut your food into very small, bite sized pieces
  • Take a sip of water in between bites
  • Enjoy and savor every bite
  • Avoid overloading your spoon and/or fork
  • Turn off the T.V. and put on slow music
  • Thoroughly chew each bite before taking the next bite
  • Avoid distractions--in other words try to avoid eating in front of the computer, television or reading a book at meal time.
  • Do not feel the need to feel stuffed. Remember it takes time for the stomach to signal to the brain that it is full.
  • Begin your meal with a salad. Eating raw veggies takes longer to chew which allows time to past before eating your entrée.
Changing unhealthy habits, that for many us that have been a part of our lives longer than we care to share, takes time. When we put thought behind the behavior we desire to change, it’s only a matter of time before we no longer have to think we just do, therefore we have developed a habit. Allowing ourselves the time to transform, even if it takes weeks and months, is just another leg of an ever-changing journey called life.

Do you find yourself rushing through a meal? If not, do you have any other ideas to help me slow down?

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