My name is Melissa, and I’m a fast eater.
Like, ridiculously fast. The title of this blog is the truth. I really did eat a subway sub in about 5min. I didn’t realize it was that fast until I called my mom after I had finished. I had been on the phone with her just before I sat down to eat and said I would call her right when I was done. So, that’s what I did! Except she wasn’t expecting it to be THAT quickly.
Ever since then I have been aware of how fast I eat. Generally, I try to slow it down as much as I can, but there are days I notice that it is still pretty quick, especially meals that I eat when out and about.
In the past I didn’t really notice the negative effects it had on me. Eating fast was just something I did because I needed the time to do other things. I mean, really, who has the time to take a full 20min to eat most of their meals these days? Going out to sit and eat at a restaurant is considered a luxury these days.
I was doing pretty well with my eating pace until I started prepping for my first bodybuilding competition. I’d get so hungry in between meals that I would inhale my food within minutes of it getting near me.
Of course, that was obviously counter productive, but I didn’t really think about it at the time…all I wanted was that food to be consumed as fast as possible. Logical thinking was definitely not a priority for me during this time.
Why is eating fast so bad for us anyways?
It takes around 20min from the time we start eating for our brain to send signals that we are feeling full. If we eat faster than that, we run the risk of eating more than we really need to feel satisfied. How many times have we eaten quickly, and then suddenly reach a point of feeling TOO full? It’s likely that eating too fast played a contributing factor to this.
Eating too fast can also wreak havoc on our digestive system. I notice huge differences in how my digestive area feels when I eat slow compared to when I shove food into my mouth at a fast pace. My stomach is so much happier when I take my time. Why? Because I’m actually taking the time to chew my food properly and giving my body time to prepare itself for the whole process of digestion. It’s a lot of work!
Eating fast also takes away from the pleasure of eating. Why do we enjoy going out to restaurants so much? Because the very act of eating can bring us joy, but we need to allow ourselves the time to actually feel that. Eating a sub in 5min? Definitely not enough time.
I’m going to be COMPLETELY honest with you here.
I STILL struggle with slowing down my eating. I have to say that if there is one major thing that I still consistently struggle with when it comes to my health, it would be this.
With that said, there are a few strategies that I keep trying to implement on a consistent basis to help me slooooow way down. They work with varying success, until I forget to do them and then I eat fast again. The trick, of course, is consistent practice that over time just starts developing into a habit.
Strategies to slow down the eating
Set a timer. A meal should take anywhere between 20-30min at minimum to eat. When I want to check-in with how fast I’m actually eating, I’ll set a timer to keep me aware of how far along into my food I am based on how much time has passed. This isn’t something I do for every meal, but rather use a reminder to check-in once in a while.
Put the fork down in between bites. Whenever you take a bit of food, immediately put the fork down while you chew. This will help to curb the temptation to start putting more food onto the fork and into your mouth before you’ve even had a chance to swallow the bite before that.
Sip water in between bites. Similar to the fork strategy, this forces you to do something else with your hands in between bites. Don’t chug a lot of water, just some small sips in between should be sufficient time to bring you back to slowing down.
Chew the food, count if you have too. This is another one that I will do once in a while to check-in with how fast I’m eating. Partially chewing food and swallowing leads to some major digestive distress for me, so making sure that I’m taking the time to properly chew and breakdown my food helps to ensure this doesn’t happen as often. I try to aim for 30-32 chews before swallowing, but this will obviously vary depending on the texture and consistency of the food itself.
Engage in conversation. If you’re eating with someone else, engage in conversation while eating your meal. It will help keep your mind off the act of eating and will force you to not chew and talk at the same time (because that’s not a very nice thing to do).
Do you have any strategies for slowing down your eating? I’d love to hear them over on my Facebook Page!