Weighty Matters

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Eating Slowly

For most of my life, I’ve eaten quickly. While I stop short of shoveling in the food, I know that I still eat too fast. It’s a good suggestion to slowwww down. Chew thoroughly. Pause before delivering another forkful or spoonful of food to the mouth. It’s also part of mindful eating. When I eat more slowly, I pay more attention to what I’m eating, how it tastes, and how I feel as I eat.

I’m horrible at it. I do all the wrong things sometimes like eat while watching television. I’m better when I share a meal out but that’s because I’m more conscious of what I’m doing. Plus, I’m chatting with whomever is at the table with me.

It is difficult for me to figure out why eating slowly remains a challenging skill. Sometimes I think it goes back to the compulsion. We sneak eaters are like pickpockets — make the grab and quickly conceal the prize so we don’t get caught.

Anyway, it’s a very hard habit to break. It’s one more area, however, where the weight loss surgery is such an effective tool. Prior to surgery, when I ate too fast, I could easily eat more than I wanted or needed because the food was already ingested before my stomach transmitted the signal that it was full. Now if I eat too fast, my stomach immediately feels uncomfortable.

I don’t like being uncomfortable. My goal is to not put myself through that, nor do I want to risk eating too much. It is possible to stretch out the small pouch of stomach that remains. I plan to avoid that happening.

If I pay more mindful attention to my pace, I usually enjoy the meal more. It takes time to savor the flavors, the textures, even the aroma of good food. You miss a lot when you don’t let a lot of time lapse between plate and mouth. Eating slowly helps me to feel my satisfaction develop and reduces my eating disorder reflex to still want more. Not eating more when my mind tells me I really want to just creates unnecessary stress. I have to argue with myself to stay on track.

The contrary thing is that I know the techniques that help me eat slow. Knowing them and using them on a regular basis often prove to be two different things. So, once more I return to the basics. Look at my food and my eating one bite at a time for one meal at a time. Through that I can progress to eating slowly one day at a time. So, tomorrow is another day. I have a goal. Be mindful and slow in my eating for breakfast and build from that point on.