Skip Nav
Carbs in Popular Cheeses
Carbs
A Breakdown of the Carbs in the Most Popular Cheeses, Because You Deserve Nice Things
How to Get More Steps In
Walking
10 Super Simple Ways to Move More Throughout the Day and Crush Your Step Goals
CrossFit
I Do CrossFit, and These Are the 22 Exercises That Completely Transformed My Butt
Workouts
I Tried Halle Berry's "Fitness Friday" Ab Workout, and Damn, It Was Intense
Is CrossFit Right For You?
CrossFit
I'm a Chiropractor and a CrossFitter, and Here's What You Need to Know to Get Started (Safely!)

Are You Eating Too Fast?

I Started Setting a Timer When I Ate Dinner, and It Stopped My Overeating

Photographer: Sheila GimNo Restrictions: Editorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.

Have you ever spent 30-45 minutes prepping and cooking a meal, only to scarf your food in a fraction of the time? Until recently, I found myself going through this pattern most nights at dinner, which always left me feeling overly stuffed, like I didn't allow my body the time it needed to digest my food. I started to wonder if I would take in fewer calories and feel more satisfied if I made an effort to stop eating so quickly.

With some research, I found a study in the BMJ, which showed that eating slowly was linked to lower rates of obesity and smaller waists. I decided it was worth a shot to see if I would notice any changes in my appetite or mood in the evenings. Then a friend suggested a super-simple solution: setting a timer.

Shockingly, I ate dinner in just under seven minutes.
ADVERTISEMENT

That evening at dinner, I pulled up the stopwatch on my phone, determined to see how quickly I was eating. I started the timer at the onset of my meal and kept it going until I was finished. Shockingly, I ate dinner in just under seven minutes. I couldn't believe it, and I knew there was absolutely no way I was allowing my body the time it needed to decide if it was full before I mindlessly consumed everything on my plate. I decided that, from then on, I'd set a timer for 20 minutes and commit to not finishing my meal until those 20 minutes were up.

Let me tell you, it's harder than it seems.

Because I was in a habit of eating so quickly, I had to make a point to slow down between every bite, sip water consistently, and place my fork down on the table a few times throughout the meal. I kept my eye on the timer and tried to consume a quarter of my plate every five minutes to stay on track. It was a lot tougher than I thought it would be, but I will say that after just one night of eating slower, I felt noticeably better. I ate everything on my plate, but I was more aware of each bite and felt more connected to the nutrients and tastes — something I hadn't experienced before.

I enjoyed my food more when I was taking the time to savor each bite.

After a week of setting a timer and following my quarter-every-five-minutes rule, I learned to pace myself. And I can honestly say I enjoyed my food more when I was taking the time to savor each bite.

While I no longer set a timer at dinner, I have kept up those same habits. There are plenty of nights when I become full before my plate is empty, something that never used to happen when I was scarfing down my dinner in seven minutes. I save my leftovers and often eat them for lunch the next day or later in the evening if I get hungry again. Either way, it keeps me from snacking or eating dessert in addition to dinner, which wasn't always the case. Overall, I just feel better when I take my time, and I know I'm not consuming more calories than I need. I think most people would benefit from training themselves to eat this way — and it couldn't be simpler to do.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds