Did you ever think about all the catchy sayings we have about time management?
- “Time waits for no man.”
- “Slow and steady wins the race.”
- “Move it or lose it.”
- “Slow down and smell the roses.”
- “Hurry up, time is a wasting.”
By nature we are an impatient lot, and we tend to let time manage our lives more than we manage our time. One area that most of us don’t even notice is the time we take eating. Often, what we do for a living tends to dictate how fast we eat. How often do you find yourself “grabbing a fast food” breakfast on the way to work, having a “quick bite” to eat for lunch, or “wolfing down dinner” in order to run off to a meeting at school?
Research has proven that the way we eat has a direct impact on our body weight. Most Americans eat too fast, and, as a result, they take in too many calories before they realize they've eaten enough. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Think about it this way: If you eat an average of three bites per minute, by the time your brain gets the message that you have had enough to eat, you will have consumed sixty bites of food.
Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. And feeling full translates into eating less. Not only does eating slowly and mindfully help you eat less, it enhances the pleasure of the dining experience.
Here are some tips to help you slow down, enjoy your food more and avoid over-eating:
1. Chew your food. I know, it sounds like something that your mother told you as a child. It's true, though. Chewing your food gives it more time on your tongue to enjoy, breaks up the food (making it easier to digest), and slows down the eating process, thereby allowing your brain to recognize when you have eaten enough to satisfy your body's needs.
2. Put down your knife and fork. It sounds so simple yet it’s a tough lesson to put into practice. We hate to waste energy picking up our utensils with each mouthful, so we tend to hold our silverware in our hands. As a result, we are often in the process of cutting off the next bite before we've really had a chance to taste the previous.
3. Remove the distractions. Turn off the TV, put your cell phone in another room and let your calls go to voice mail, and carry on a conversation with your family and friends. But don’t forget the other rule that your mom taught you: Never talk with food in your mouth. This is guaranteed to help you slow down the rate at which you eat.
4. Drink water. We all know that drinking lots of water is good for us, and many of us try to keep a glass or bottle of water handy for use throughout the day. Drinking water during a meal serves the purpose of helping you start feeling fuller, faster.
5. Don’t let yourself become famished. When we are overly hungry we tend to eat very fast, frequently eating second and even third helpings. You'll find it easier to slow the pace if you eat regular, smaller meals at three or four hour intervals, rather two or three meals with several hours between them.