Eating Slowly:
The Game Changer You’ve Never Met

When you think about weight loss, where does your mind go? Does it go to calorie restriction and vigorous exercise? Sounds a little doom and gloom, but realistically speaking, you wouldn’t be too far off. It’s a no brainer that in order to lose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit and get your body moving.

While that part may be clear, what about other actions that you can take to produce favorable results? In other words, when it comes to nutrition, are there other, more realistic, longterm ways to lose weight and get the body you deserve without counting calories, points or measuring food? Why, yes there are…

While we could write a novel on “more optimal ways to produce favorable results”, we will hold off on doing so and focus today’s article on one of our favorite actions, eating slowly. Not only does this happen to be one of our favorite actions turned habits BUT we also like to think of it as, “the game changer you’ve never met.”

eating slowly the game changer you've never met

When working with clients in our Nutrition Coaching program, one of the first actions we introduce them to is eating slowly. Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe. Eating slowly can take a lot of practice to become a habit, but in the process, it can be pretty cool to see what such a simple habit can do for your weight loss goals.

You may be thinking, “how is eating slowly going to help me with my weight loss efforts?” Fair enough, I totally get it. It may not sound as impactful as “restricting calories” or “caloric deficit” but doesn’t it sound way more enticing and less doom and gloom? I think so 🙂

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Let’s explore why eating slowly is so awesome:

1) Tuning In – one of the coolest things about executing such a simple action, is that by eating slowly, you really get to collect information and at DTS, we love information. Information tells us how to adjust and move forward. Simple and sooo useful.

By eating slowly and tuning in, many clients at first are often surprised at how good their food can taste or the opposite, that maybe the meal, snack or dessert wasn’t even that good but they were just eating it to eat it. Sound familiar at all?

Maybe you never realize how much you love a simple side salad with simple lemon dressing or how much you really don’t care for microwave meals, but you do it out of convenience. Or maybe by slowing down, you realize how delicious a homemade cookie can be but that store one, totally not worth it. Again, collecting information and adjusting from there is the key.

2) In Further Control – another awesome benefit of slowly down is the ability to feel like you’re in control of your food. Have you ever eaten so fast that you feel out of control? Like maybe even to a concerning point? I know I have and it’s a horrible feeling, totally sucks. By slowing down, you get to reclaim some of that power and hold the cards. You’re in control, not the fork or the food. You get to decide when the next bite will be.

3) Less Overall Consumption – an obvious but truly awesome benefit of eating slowly is less overall food consumption. There is that caloric deficit again. Pretty cool that we didn’t even have to count calories or points to produce similar results, right? We think so.

Have you ever heard it takes 15-20 mins for your brain to pick up on the signals that you’re full? It’s not a myth, in fact it’s a real event 🙂 By eating more slowly, you are allowing your brain to receive those signals properly, which in turn results in less overall food consumption. Pretty cool, right?

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Let’s explore how to put eating slowly into action:

1) Rest your Utensils – the easiest way to slow down your eating is to place your utensils down every bite, every other bite or every few bites. If you never put your utensils down while you’re eating, start with every few bites and then adjust from there. There is that information collecting opportunity again.

2) Use a Timer – this action is one that our clients in our Nutrition Coaching program find to be super useful. If you normally eat your lunch in 5 mins, 10 mins would be a good place to begin with using a timer. Or if 10 mins is your norm, shooting for 15-20 mins would be perfect. Try to use all of the allotted time (or close to) to slowly eat your meal.

3) Converse More: – you can’t talk while you’re eating, right? Well, maybe not gracefully at least. More conversation with co-workers or family during mealtime equals less quick shoveling of the food. Recently, I had client tell me this was a game changer for both his eating habits and getting in more family time at dinner to catch up with his wife and kids. Win-win!

4) More, Small Bites: – a bit of an obvious one here, but smaller, more frequent bites of food will definitely stretch out your meal and slow it down for you. If you’re used to eating large bites of food, trying halving them and take it from there.

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Eating slowly = more conversation, more family time, win-win!

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When eating slowly doesn’t work…

We have now covered why eating slowly is awesome and how to execute the action. As I like to do, I’m going to contradict myself for just a moment….

Sometimes eating slowly during every meal just isn’t in the cards for you and that’s OK. As a Mom of a one year old, I totally get it. Lunchtime for me is generally a super quick assemble followed by an even quicker shovel into my mouth. This all happens in about 10-15 mins while I try to entertain my son with snacks in his highchair. Multi-tasking like a BOSS. I see you, Moms 🙂

And like most one year olds, he has a short attention span. So eating slowly at lunchtime just isn’t going to happen for me, not right now at least. Instead, I try to focus on eating slowly at dinner and proper portions (we will be talking portions in a few weeks) throughout the rest of the day to ensure when I do scarf up my plate, my portions are in tact at the very least.

If some of your meals are out of the question because your kids are having an epic meltdown or threatening to jump off the counter or you’re rushing from meeting to meeting while at work, that’s cool. Focus on the meal where you can shine and practice eating slowly. Focus on what you can do right now, not what you can’t do. That’s a mantra of ours you’ll be hearing a lot.

Focus on what you can do right now…

not what you can’t do

Next time you sit down for a meal, try eating more slowly than you normally do. Keep practicing this action, gather information and adjust accordingly. The more practice you have, the more likely you’ll develop a new, awesome eating habit, geared towards benefitting your body and your health. Happy eating slowly!
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Written by Sophie DeHenzel
Eating Slowly: The Game Changer You’ve Never Met

Photos: courtesy of BigStockPhoto

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Hi, I’m Sophie. I’m Co-Owner of DeHenzel Training Systems, Precision Nutrition Level 1 ProCoach, Certified Personal Trainer and Pre/Post Natal Specialist. I’m also a wife, mom, tennis beginner and ice cream lover.

Most importantly, I love helping people just like you gain control of their health and nutrition for good. If you’re tired, frustrated and still struggling to rein in your diet, check out our 365 nutrition coaching program and take the first step today.

About DeHenzel Training Systems: DeHenzel Training Systems offers In Home Personal Training services throughout Northern Virginia and Washington DC.  Aside from in home, personal training is also available at the office gym or outdoors at a local park. We also offer Nutrition Coaching services worldwide.

Within Northern Virginia, we service Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William Counties including: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Fairfax, Falls Church, Gainesville, Great Falls, Haymarket, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Lorton, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Tyson’s Corner, Vienna and Woodbridge.

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