The most effective (and sanity-preserving) tool for holiday eating may also be the simplest one: Eat slowly. (And stop at “satisfied”, instead of “stuffed”).
This strategy helps you avoid overeating for two main reasons:
Physiological It takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.
Psychological When you slow down, “sense into”, and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less but enjoy what you’ve eaten more.
Indeed, when eating slowly (and stopping at “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”) you can try all the delicious foods on Grandma’s buffet without guilt or needing to “work it off later”.
Read on for more great reasons why eating slowly is beneficial, including:
enjoying your food more
eating small portions
Looking for some tips?
Sit down to eat in a calm environment with minimal distractions. Don’t eat while driving, while watching TV, while texting, etc. Pay attention to your food.
Choose high-fiber foods that take more time to chew, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Put down your utensils between bites. Take a moment. Breathe. If you’re eating with other people, enjoy making witty conversation for a few minutes.
Try setting a minimum number of chews per bite. This will feel strange at first, but give it a try and see what you discover.
Use smaller plates or different utensils (such as chopsticks).
If you find yourself rushing, that’s OK. Put your utensils down and take a minute to re-focus. If slow eating isn’t habitual for you, this will take practice.
Find another slow eater and pace yourselves to them. Picky little kids and chatty dinner companions who hardly stop talking long enough to take a bite are often ideal for this.
Set aside time to eat – at least 20-30 minutes for each meal, and preferably even longer at dinner. Don’t just eat “whenever you get around to it” or treat it as an inconvenience. You’re fueling your body and maybe spending quality time with friends and family. That’s important. It deserves an appointment.