Eating Slower Improves Weight Loss

Last night I was making my annual batch of Christmas cookies for my family and friends to enjoy. I was preparing the cookies at the same time as dinner and when the first batch went into the oven my husband and I sat down to eat. I set the timer on the oven for 30 minutes before I left the kitchen.

I can’t say I’ve ever paid attention to how long it takes me to eat a meal. In fact, I have been so consumed over the past two years with monitoring the types of foods I eat and controlling the quantities that actually paying attention to how quickly I was devouring my food was not even a thought. However, last night I realized just how fast my husband and I eat our meals. Because I had just set the timer on the oven I had an actual gauge of our eating speed. From the time we sat down till the time I was clearing our plates only 14 minutes had passed (and this included a few minutes of sitting and talking so in reality our meal time was more like 10 minutes). Wow, and that’s our regular pace at meals.

Now, some may wonder why you should be concerned with the speed at which you eat your meals. After all, when dieting you are watching calories, portion size and nutrition anyway, so why bother being worried about how fast you eat your meals? The fact is that eating slower and chewing your food more thoroughly is a very simple way of promoting weight loss for a few reasons.

When I first started dieting I read that eating your meal slower will help you feel full while eating less food. I can’t say that I’ve actually tested this theory out, but there are a number of clinical studies that support this claim. When you take the time to actually taste your food and chew it thoroughly, your stomach has time to signal to your brain when you have had your fill. Smelling and tasting your food also sends signals to your brain that will help you feel satiated sooner.

Another reason why eating slower improves weight loss is that when you take the time to properly chew before swallowing, you get more nutritional benefit from your food. To begin with, chewing gives saliva a chance to breakdown food, which releases nutrients and improves overall digestion. Chewing also helps to breakdown fiber and stronger cells that contain nutrients. When food isn’t chewed properly, these nutrients remain locked away and pass through the digestive tract. Releasing more nutrients from the food you eat can help you feel satiated faster and, in some cases, help to increase your metabolism.

There are various published techniques about how to start eating slower. These techniques range from setting a timer that beeps every time you should take a bite (sounds really annoying) to self-hypnosis (see the video about the “Raisin Method” above). However, I am a firm believer in keeping it simple, so here are some easy techniques for you to try if eating slower is something you feel you need help with.

Easy Techniques to Eat Slower

  • Chew each mouthful of food at least 30 times, savoring the flavors and textures of the food.
  • While you are chewing eat mouthful put your fork down on the table.
  • Have a small sip of water between each mouthful to cleanse the palate.
  • Eat at a table instead of in front of the TV or computer and make meals a time for talking and relaxing instead of something that just has to get done.

For the next week I have vowed to put more effort into preparing our meals. I would like to make meals in our house a special time for savoring, tasting, talking, laughing and relaxing instead of mindless eating on TV trays that we are so used to doing. Especially now, with the first child on the way, starting a habit of family time, at least at dinner, would be good and if it helps to slow our eating down and improve weight loss at the same time then it is well worth the effort.

Other Related Posts and Articles you May Find Interesting: “Eating Slower and Weight Loss”, “Changing Your Eating Habits”, “Does Eating Late Cause Weight Gain?” and “Overcoming Emotional Eating”.

1 comment to Eating Slower Improves Weight Loss

  • Weight Loss Secrets

    This is the first time I heard about eating slower could help in weight loss plans, but from the research, undeniable it could really help. From my research, our stomach would send a signal to brain every 20 minutes that the stomach is almost full. Eating slowly is not only helpful in digestion, and also good in weight loss plan.

    Well done and thanks for the info.

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