How many of you love to eat? I am willing to bet that most of you do, and that is great. I know I love to eat! In fact, it is one of my favorite things to do. 🙂
So, if you love to eat then how long do you spend doing it? How many bites do you take? How long do you sit at the table to enjoy your food? If I had to guess, I would say not very long.
I am often given a hard time because when my girlfriend and I have people over for dinner or go out with some friends I am consistently the last one done eating. Before the food is served there is a lot of discussion and fun, but as soon as the food is at the table, silence ensues, and it almost seems like it is a race to see who can get done the first. Except for me. I typically have half of my food left when everyone else finishes.
I am sure most of you realize that this is not a good thing, but it often goes overlooked in our society. Therefore, I want to show you some of the benefits of slowing down when you eat and some ways to go about doing it.
Benefits of slowing down:
-You actually get to enjoy your food.
-Better absorption of the nutrients ingested.
-Improved body composition due to better satiety signals, digestion, and absorption.
Men’s Health recently wrote an article titled, “7 Strategies to Satisfy Hunger and Lose Weight.” In it, they cited a study done by the University of Rhode Island, which found that eating more slowly decreases a person’s caloric intake by 10%.
This is largely due to better satiety signals. It takes time for our body to send signals to our brain telling it that we are full. Therefore, if you eat quickly your brain does not get that signal in time and you end up eating more food than you normally would.
The US is one of the most guilty when it comes to shoving down our food. Many other countries actually spend hours at the dinner table.
I have a friend who is from France and he says that on the weekends a meal can take up half of the day, and through the week dinner is often the same way. You spend time with your family and relax and eat good food, but it is never rushed. And you know what, he is in really good shape and so is his family.
Here are some ideas to slow down while eating:
-Chew your food more.
-Take time between bites. Talk to your partner/friend or take a few breaths.
-Relax. View the experience as a time to be with others, or yourself, and enjoy it.
-Sit down at a table and turn off the TV, cell phone, and computer. It is easy to rush and overeat when you are not concentrating on your food. And no, your car does not count as a table!
In the same article mentioned above by Men’s Health they include “sit down to snack” as a way to satisfy hunger and lose weight. Sports nutritionist and behavioral psychotherapist Lisa Dorfman, M.S., R.D. says, “If you treat every dining experience with greater respect, you’ll be less likely to use your fork as a shovel. And that includes snacks as well as your three squares.”