Quick Tip: Eat Slowly When You're in a Group

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last night, I attended a benefit at one of our city's finest Italian restaurants. I found myself faced with two hurdles: 1. An overflowing Italian bread basket, complete with a half-dozen versions of mini focaccia, breadsticks, fresh-made bread and ciabatta. 2. Courses that were smaller than expected.
My initial urge, as I'm sure many people's would be, was to gorge on the bread and gobble down each course in a few bites.

I did eat three mini focaccia (but I've been diligent in my workouts this week and ate light today to compensate). House-made and fresh, they were worth every bite! However, with the smaller (read: appropriately portioned) courses, I took an alternate approach. I chatted between bites, took special attention in constructing each bite and set my knife and fork down between bites.

By the time dessert (a mini chocolate cupcake with a molten center) came around, I realized I was full and could only manage half of it.
Those small portions, when eaten slowly and over more than 20 minutes (the amount of time it takes for your brain to tell you you’re full), were just right.

Fit Sugar and I are on the same page today. That blog posted a Healthy Eating Tip about eating in groups. Check out her tips; they're quite good!

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, these tips are going to come in handy. How do you manage to keep yourself from eating too quickly or eating too much when you're in a group?

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I can do better with eating slowly. Taking time to prepare each bite on the fork sounds good. Never thought of that. Also, setting cutlery down between bites. Thanks for sharing. Report
I am usually damn hungry before a party or before I go out for lunch or dinner so that I gobble up what is in front of me.. Realizing how wrong that was.. Will plan on having a small snack and keeping myself charged next time I hit a party or eat outside. Report
We always eat too fast. We really need to slow down. Will try and keep this in mind while I am eating at all times, whether alone or in a group. Thanks for the eye opener. Report
Great article! My grandmother always told me to slow down. If I had listened to her all those years ago I might now be as overweight as I am now. Thanks for the reminder. Report
thats good information, thanks Report
My Dad and I are the slowest eaters in the family, everyone else would be finished, dishes cleared, and watching TV and we would still be at the table. When we have our work parties we go to this great local Italian place and I usually end up taking food home because I am up talking to everyone and it gets cold. Alone time is when I have my trouble. Report
I have heard that eating fast is bad for you but as a child I was always told to hurry up! I need to slow things down some. Report
Helpful info thanks Report
There was a wonderful special done on TLC called I Can Make You Thin hosted by Paul McKenna. I don't know if the series is still running, but I highly recommend trying to find it. You tube or Google videos might have the segments too. It has REALLY simple tips to eat better (like learning how to eat slower and to stop when you are no longer hungry). I LOVED watching it! Report
I'm a slow eater. Usually everyone at the table finishes before me. This can work to your advantage. Happy Thanksgiving Report
I come from a family where a lot of the holiday action happens in the kitchen. I plan to stay out of that room as much as possible. I also plan to take a very small portion of everything and savoring every bite. I am looking forward to visiting and savoring the time I spend with people-not food. Report
I tend to take a couple of HOURS to eat what begins as dinner and ends up my evening snack! I'm a picker, so eating slowly is what I do : ) Report
I've never been a fast eater. Sounds like a good thing to be. Report
I always used to eat slow but lately I eat to fast and I don't know why. I'm trying to slow down again- cuz I know that's the best way to do it! Report
My mother was strict on MANNERS at the table, so I never ate quickly and looked like a "glutton". Also, you took a small amount until EVERYONE had gotten some, and then you could have "seconds" if you still wanted more, but we didn't waste food, either. Report
yup i definately need to work on this
all the time mindless eating, not tasting and going for second portion yuck
i will consciously work on eating slowly thus enjoying each bite plus small portions
Eating slowly and putting my fork down between bites was the first consistent action that helped me overcome my 'mindless' eating. After all, digestion really starts in the mouth, doesn't it?
When I do eat out, I usually take home half of the meal -- the portion sizes are really much larger than needed. Please commend the charity event planner who acted on his/her belief that less is more. Report
I was raised to chew each bite 20 times, pause between bites, after you swallow to say something or sip water. My mother always wolfed her lunch as she had little time to eat at work, so she insisted my brother and I learn to eat slowly and politely. I have discovered its true if you eat slowly, you eat less. Holdiays especially should be savored along with the catching up with family and sfuff. Report
I know this is true from the few times I've experienced really amazing food that I've wanted to savor. But it's really hard to do with mediocre food (for me anyway). Ironically, I think I'm just going to have to work a little harder to slow down a bit while I'm eating. Report
I've always done this! Usually because I'm self concious about talking with my mouth full (thanks Mom!) Everyone always looks at me when their done before me- therefore I always end up leaving whats on my plate or taking it home in a doggy bag (usually for my doggie!) Report
I remember when I was in high school. My teacher would tell us if you wanted to get full faster, eat slowly. I believed her, but it did not help at all. It just made me want to eat more off my plate. Report
I tend to eat slow, but it drives me crazy when my kids take FOREVER to eat. I guess I need to be less hard on them! Report
yes this is true..i have been told for years to eat slower...lol Report
I've definitley gotta start doing this. I'm a fast eater and I never eat slow. That's probably what got me here in the first place! Report
I've always been a slow eater - and am now thankful for it! Report
I will have to start doing this.. Report
I am the slowest eater in my group. I was at a lunch with friend yesterday at a German Restaurant. We ate and talked at the same time, with our mouths empty between bites. The lunch started at noon & we didn't finish until 1:30.
I still felt full from lunch at 5 pm. Our family at Thanksgiving always talks while we are eating. It's a good thing too, because we (my husband & I) usually have a 3 hour drive home after the meal. So I am always still full when we arrive home. Report
Great reminder. I try to engage my family in conversation at the table and that helps us all eat slower. Report
I'm always the last one finished eating. I love truly savoring my food. And I'm usually eating with chatty people! =) Report
I've ALWAYS been a slow eater, to the point that Thanksgiving meal meant I'd be finishing my one plate of food while my brothers cleared the table so they could have pie. I enjoy each and every bite of food - always have, always will.

My issues have been portion size, emotional eating, and fitness - and thanks to SP, I'm doing better with all of those items. Report
So true. When hubby and I were on our honeymoon cruise (3 yrs ago) I asked him specifically to help me eat slowly to avoid the typical 5 lb cruise weight gain. I've always been a fast eater so this actually was kinda hard for me, but with hubby there to gently remind me, I left the cruise without gaining any weight, woo hoo! Now the brother-in-law often eats dinner with us and last night I noticed he had eaten two portions faster than it took me to eat one. I'd like to think this is me making progress and not just him being a human vacuum cleaner! I've almost always been the first finished with my meal at restaurants so it will be interesting the next time we go out with friends to see how fast I eat. Report
Mmmm Italian food is my weakness and I refuse to give it up, so I too take your approach and plan on doing the same at Thanksgiving. Report
To eat slowly is a challenge for me. At work I only have 1/2 hour to eat. I do bring my lunch but by the time I put it together or warm it up I have to scarf it down drink my 2 bottles of water, do my "personal" stuff and get back to work:-( It is a bad habit and I find it hard to slow down even when I do have the time. Report
The a proch that I like to take when in eating in a group is talk first and longe then take a bite and listen longer. Report
Now I don't feel at all bad about eating slowly when I go out to eat. Report
awesome info! Report
This definitely helps me! Report
This is a great article! I'm proud of you for conquering what a lot of people have a hard time with! That's great! I'm definitely taking this one to the "table"!
Thanks! Report
I always try to eat slowly and only have a little of my most favorites! Drinking water in between the dinner and the desserts helps too. Report
Everything I'm cooking for T'giving is Spark Recipe except the pecan pie and that's my daughter's idea. I'm also using the T'giving survival guide and sipping green tea that day while. I'm staying away from folk who cook and eat "fat" and I'm planning to get in some running that day as well. I plan to be a good, little angel. One thing...can I PLEASE have some skin from the bird that day???!!!! Report
I need to try this....I tend to wolf down my food. Report
Thanks for the tip. I'm going try this out for Thanksgiving. That way I won't go up for seconds! Besides, when you eat more slowly you savor each bite. Report
I've done this before and it works, really trying to get back into the habit and just that make it my life long habit. I know I can do this if I just am mindful of the fact. It makes the food taste better as well. Report
Ummm... Hmmmmm... funny you should have this blog now. LOL I ate half a chocolate bar the other day... looked at my sister... and said "I don't even remember tasting it". Isn't that horrible? I definitely make myself enjoy every bite now. Report
I also have a huge problem with eating too fast. I guess this has come from only having 30 minutes to eat lunch at work. I bring my lunch from home, but still have to remind myself not to eat so fast. This is a hard habit to break. Report
I try to use conversation to pace myself. If I am too quiet at a social gathering it means I'm not gabbing enough...and if I'm not gabbing enough I am usually stuffing my face...lol! So everyone TALK MORE, one can't EAT and TALK at the same time! :-)

Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals SparkTeam Report
What an excellent idea! I will have to remember this since so many of my social gatherings coincide with meals or food of some sort. Report
Thanks for sharing that...I will definately try this for Thanksgiving dinner. I am always the first one done at dinner I eat really fast....that could explain why I always want seconds. Report
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