The Power of Slowing Down

Are you someone who eats on the run? Maybe, you eat breakfast in the car or lunch in front of your computer. The truth is we all lead fast paced lifestyles, and we can go through life in a rush which can impact our food choices and eating behaviors. 

When we are in a rush, we tend to be distracted while we eat. When we are distracted and not paying attention at meals, we tend to eat very quickly and can potentially overeat.  Did you know it takes 20 minutes or more for your brain to communicate to your stomach that you are full?  If we inhale our food too fast, there is not adequate time for your brain to communicate to your stomach that you are satisfied.  We have all gotten to a point where we feel stuffed due to eating so quickly. If we can slow down and be mindful when we eat, we can prevent this from happening.

The best advice I can give is to slow down when you eat and avoid distractions.  When we eat quickly, we tend to not chew our food completely which can impact digestion.  Our food may not be broken down if we are not chewing it completely. 

Let’s take a step back and think about how our grandparents ate meals.  They sat together as a family and had a conversation over their meal.  Let’s go back and start to incorporate those habits! When we add the social component to eating, we are naturally going to slow down. 

I challenge you to try the Fork Trick next time you eat.  Take a bite of your food with a fork or utensil, put your fork down, and you can’t pick the fork back up again until you have completely chewed your food.  It allows you to taste your food, and it will naturally slow you down.  The more we can slow down, the more we can recognize when we are actually full.

Here are some ways to avoid distractions when you eat:

·         Turn off the TV

·         Put your phone down

·         Eat at a table

·         Avoid eating in your car or at your desk

·         Eat a meal with family, friends, or co-workers

Mindful eating is a tool that we can slowly incorporate into our lifestyle that can positively impact health.  Slowing down when we eat is easier said than done.  Try the Fork Trick for one meal next week and see the difference it can make.  Have a great week!

Staci Tobolowsky, MCN, RD/LD