It’s a very simple principle that many find incredibly difficult to follow. Eating slowly is better – for your digestion and for your overall food intake. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to overeat. When you take it too much food at one sitting, your digestive system has to strain to keep up with the workload you’ve just asked it to perform.
And when you eat too fast, you’re almost certainly going to eat too much, which brings on unwanted weight. This happens because, by the time enough time has passed for the body to register fullness and to give off “You can stop eating now” signals, the fast eater will have already eaten to overfull. So you risk that uncomfortable bloated feeling, along with the extra weight.
Eating more slowly, while paying greater attention to the components of the meal and the environment in which we’re eating, helps ground us in the present. It’s a form of mindfulness. Even if your day is chock full of stress, the break you take to eat can have a different rhythm and degree of mindfulness… if you remember to slow down.
When you can more fully experience the smells, tastes and textures of what you’re actually eating, the pleasure you get from eating is enhanced. Think of how much more enjoyable a leisurely meal with good friends is, compared to a lunch you grabbed and wolfed down at your computer. You’re also much less likely to get heartburn from the leisurely meal.
If the idea of spending more time with your meals appeals to you, you may want to read more about the Slow Food Movement. Their manifesto includes this statement, “We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods.”
To begin, try shutting off the TV, putting down your iPhone, using the fanciest plates and serving dishes you own, turning on some soothing music and maybe lighting a few candles. These are the ingredients for a calm and slow meal.
If you still want a hint of sweet after a meal, try taking a slow bite or two of a dessert. Let it linger in your mouth. Fully experience it. That could be enough sensation to keep you from needing to eat the entire cake or container of ice cream.
Slower eating is an ideal way to eat anytime, but especially when you’re in treatment with the Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon.
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at firstname.lastname@example.org.