Many emotional eaters eat fast – not just a little bit fast, but extremely fast, minimally chewing their food, and raising the next bite to their mouth before the bite they’re chewing is swallowed. This is not good for us because:
• You barely taste your food or experience having eaten it, and thus need more to feel satisfied.
• Your body doesn’t have time to give you physical cues of satiation, so you eat painfully past full.
• Insufficient chewing causes problems with digestion that are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.
People eat fast because they have more important things to do, so eating is low priority, more a functional necessity for the body than a pleasureable experience.
People eat fast to avoid emotions, be it anxiety, stress or anger. People also eat fast to invoke feelings of relaxation and calm.
People also eat fast to avoid being judged by others, especially if they are visually overweight.
We all have the capacity to eat slowly and enjoy our food, so remember:
• You have the right to take time for self-care and enjoyment – you don’t have to be productive every waking minute, nor should you be.
• You have the right to savour and enjoy delicious food in all its sensual glory, no matter what your current weight.
Here is an exercise that will slow your eating down, and help you tune into the experience of eating and the emotions you are feeling:
1. Cook a meal and sit at a table with no distractions from the TV, reading material, computer or other people
2. Place a notepad and pen next to your plate
3. Eat a mouthful and put down your cutlery
4. Chew the food noticing the texture, taste and flavour of the food
5. Notice how quickly it takes you to put food into your mouth, how many times you chew your food, and where in your mouth you chew your food
6. Become aware of other sensations in your body as you eat, and notice if you feel any emotions
7. Write notes in the pad as you eat your meal, being fully aware of the experience of eating
8. Check in as you near the end of the meal, and notice how full you feel and exactly where you notice this
What was your experience of eating slowly?