Think back to your last meal. Was it pleasant and leisurely? Or were you rushing to wolf it down before hitting the morning commute? How often have you found yourself racing through meals on-the-go, or watching TV while mindlessly shoveling forkfuls of food into your mouth? Simply putting your fork down between bites could help you eat less and enjoy your meals more.
The common sense advice, to slow down eating by placing your fork on the plate between bites is actually a very useful tactic for reaching your weight-loss goals. Slowing down can be good not only for your digestion and your table manners, it can help prevent overeating. It forces you to relax and pay attention to chewing the food you already have, and allows you to notice more easily when you begin to feel full.
How long do you usually take to finish a meal? If it’s 10 minutes or less, you could be eating twice as much as your body needs without even knowing it! The body takes 20 minutes before it alerts the brain that it has had enough.That’s because it’s not your stomach reaching capacity that tells your brain to stop, it’s food reaching your intestines that triggers the signal to put down the fork. Eating quickly can cause you to eat dozens of extra mouthfuls of food before your brain gets that important message.
A study published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that slower eaters ate 10 percent fewer calories and felt more full. They also drank more water during meals. Another study published in The British Medical Journal, reported that eating quickly and eating until full was consistent with being overweight, and the combination of both of these habits tripled the risk of being overweight.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but have you ever actually tried putting your fork down between every bite, chewing your food, and not picking up your fork again until you’ve swallowed the previous bite? Try it today and pay attention to how it feels. If you’re eating food with your hands, like a wrap or a slice of pizza, put the food on the plate while you chew. Think about how many calories you could potentially save at every meal just by using this technique.