Did you mother ever tell you to slow down as you gobbled down a yummy dinner at Thanksgiving? The excitement of all the holiday food and treats can get anyone’s heart racing and their mouths chewing even faster.
Did you ever think that the pace you eat at could affect your waistline?
Well many research studies are pointing their fingers to YES! The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found that people who ate the quickest were more likely to be obese than slow eaters. The faster people ate, the more their body mass index rose — 2.8 percent for each “step” increase on the five-step eating-speed scale. That is about 4.3 pounds of weight gain. In 2008 Japanese study showed that people who eat quickly have a tripled risk of being overweight than people who eat slowly.
Americans spend around an hour and a quarter eating every day, according to the Society at a Glance Report, slightly more than only Canadians and Mexicans but less than half the eating time spent by the French. Despite this limited time spent eating, our obesity rates are the highest?!? Based on all of the above, I would say research is right, and genergous… For most of my clients’ and their busy schedules they are lucky if they get 15 minutes for a meal.
Where do you lye on this spectrum of eating too quickly? How much time on average do you think it takes for you to eat a meal? Can you relate to finishing a meal and wondering what did I eat? Do you too eat fast, but not sure if you eat too much? Have you ever thought about slowing down? The slowing down part is the biggest challenge we all face and it requires us to be Mindful and use Mindful Eating.
With anticipation of Thanksgiving and dealing with larger meals, distracted eating and overeating, my Advanced Wellness Group developed an amazing eating challenge for themselves. What I like to call the Eating Interval Challenge! The concept is simple so it will be very easy to practice at your Thanksgiving meal this Thursday!
Eating Interval Challenge:
(1) Take a small plate and take reasonable portions of the foods you love (which will of course include your favorite vegetables!)
(2) Look at your watch/cell phone and select a time that is 30 minutes later. Your mission is to make that small plate of food last those 30 minutes by:
- Take 3 deeps breaths before starting a meal
- Putting your fork down between bites
- Taking smaller bites, about the size of a dime
- Chewing your food 15-20 times
- Eating with less dominate hand
- Be the last to start and last to finish the meal
- Taste your food – notice texture, flavor, temperature etc.
(3) When the meal and/or the 30 minutes are complete, check-in with yourself. Ask how is my hunger and/or fullness. I recommend the hunger scale as a guide.
(4) If you decided you are hungry and want another plate of food, take a look at your watch or cell phone again. Decided to wait 15-20 minutes before you can have your next plate of food. 99% of the the time you will be full when that next 15-20 minutes roll around and you will pass on second helpings and calories!
My Challenge for you this week is to take on the Eating Interval Challenge starting with your Thanksgiving meal this Thursday and continue on through the New Year! Share with us what you do, to eat mindfully. Every minute could count in helping your stay trim this Holiday season.