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UltimateYou Challenge Day 1: Eat Slowly and Mindfully

05 January 2016, 10:36

Research shows that people who eat slowly tend to digest their food better, lose or maintain weight more easily, and feel more satisfied with each meal.

On the other hand, those who rush their meals due to time constraints, distractions, or simply by habit tend to run into way more health-related problems such as eating more calories than they meant to, finishing their meals way before natural satiety signals kick in, ending up uncomfortably full, and experiencing poor digestion and below optimal nutrient absorption.

Getting into the habit of eating more slowly can provide enormous benefit at very little effort and cost. An example is you may often hear the recommendation to eat whole, unprocessed food because it is nutrient-dense and fills you up more.

The problem is if you gobble down your food and overeat before your body realises it is actually full then you may as well have just eaten a box of donuts or a tub of ice cream instead. (not recommended)

Either way you are going to be consuming too many calories and putting on or keeping on unwanted fat. It takes about 20 minutes from the start of your meal for your brain to send out satiety signals and hormones.

Next time you eat see how you can slow down your meal by being a bit more social (eat at a table instead of in front of the TV), drink some water in between mouthfuls, put the knife and fork down now and then, don’t start cutting your next bite until you have swallowed your current one, chew your food properly and so on.

If you currently finish most meals in 3-5 minutes, you don’t need to suddenly take 20 minutes for your next meal. Just work on slowing things down. Aim to slow the meal down by 5-10 minutes or so and see what a difference it can make.


This is not compulsory for today’s task but here is a little bonus tip for anyone who wants to take things a little further.

This one ties really nicely into the eating slowly strategy. Being mindful of how much you eat and whether you are still actually hungry before taking the next bite is a useful tool in losing fat and effortlessly maintaining a healthy weight.

There is a Japanese practice called “hari hachi bu” as a means to help regulate appetite and avoid overeating without the need to count calories. It refers to their cultural tendency (Confucian teaching) to eat until only about 80% full. It’s believed to be an important factor in the attributed mindfulness and longevity of their population. Interestingly enough, some sort of calorie restriction practice is common throughout a variety of different cultures, other than the Japanese, such as:

  • Ayurvedic tradition (eat until 75% full).

  • Islamic Qu’ran guidelines (excess eating is a sin).

  • The prophet Muhammad (describing a full belly as 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid, and 1/3 air – aka only 2/3 full).

  • German expression (“Tie off the sack before it gets completely full”).

  • Indian proverb (“Drink your food and chew your drink”)

  • French expression (“I have no more hunger” as opposed to saying “I’m full”)


    See you tomorrow for your next Healthy Habit.

  • - Health24

    Tags health

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