Slow Down at the Table!
By Donna Stark
I have always eaten fast. For as long as I can remember, meals were never really a time to talk. Instead, it was a time to eat, and to eat as fast as you could, because second helpings were hard to come by growing up in a family of 10. I think that habit stuck with me as I grew older and became busier with my life. There always seemed to be something more important to use that time for, so I continued to scarf my food down as quickly as possible.
I don’t think I am alone with that fast-eating habit. So many of us live a hectic, too-busy kind of life and oftentimes our meals are eaten while counting down the clock. And although you probably already know that it is a bad habit in terms of manners, did you also know that it can significantly affect your health?
Why You Should Slow Down
When you rush your meals, your digestion suffers, your weight suffers, and as I have pointed out, your dinnertime conversations may suffer too. It’s time to slow down, gain some control, and improve your overall health. Here’s why.
- Improved digestion - Food that is properly chewed and broken down can reduce your risk of indigestion and other gastrointestinal issues
- Weight maintenance - Eating slowly has been linked to less food consumption and longer-lasting satisfaction which can be a critical factor for weight loss and maintenance
- Better hydration - Eating slowly has been shown to increase water consumption during the meal
- Healthier attitude towards food - Slowing down to appreciate the flavor, texture, and smell of the food is linked to healthier eating habits
How to Break the Fast-Eating Habit
Committing to a new habit can be hard, but with enough practice, it can certainly be achieved. Here are some tips on how to eat your meals at a healthy pace.
- Lose the distractions - Don’t eat while driving, watching television, or sprinting to your next client meeting. Slow down and be intentional about your environment. Pay attention to your food.
- Add more fruits and vegetables - High-fiber foods take more time to chew and can give you a feeling of fullness faster, so try to incorporate more of them into your meals.
- Breathe between bites - Take a moment. Breathe. Isn’t that nice? Now before you take that next bite, try some conversation with the person sitting next to you.
- Set aside time to eat - Plan at least 20-30 minutes for each meal. Schedule it like an appointment. There isn’t anything more important than nourishing your body and spending time with loved ones.
Change Your Perspective
If you look at your meals as a time to slow down, refuel, rest, and rejuvenate, you may start to realize how important it really is to your overall health and wellness. And in case you forgot, you’re an adult now. There’s no need to rush to the table and elbow your sibling for that second helping anymore.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chino Hills, Calif.