Calories. Those sneaky little things that keep us from losing the amount of weight we want to. Today we are going to talk about a trick to losing weight. How to eat fewer calories.
Fast eaters, beware: rushing through mealtime is one of the sneakiest of the 10 behaviors that cause weight gain.
Yep, just when we thought giving up fast-food was enough, it turns out that we must also give up the habit of eating our food too fast. Even healthy food, when eaten quickly, can lead to an excess of calories the body doesn’t know what to do with (except store it as fat).
In a study conducted by the University of Rhode Island, of 60 adults eating lunch in a lab, those who ate slowly ate less. Slow eaters consumed about 60% of the amount of food that speed eaters consumed. Those who ate slower were eating fewer calories than those who snarfed down their food.
Surprising, eh? Well, not really. It’s obvious that in a given amount of time, slow eaters will simply not be able to pack in as many calories as fast eaters.
But even without a time limit, there’s a reason eating slowly leads to eating less: there’s a lag time between when the body becomes full and the brain registers the cue. Spending 30 minutes to eat gives us time to pick up the satiety signal, whereas if you eat your meal in 10 minutes, there’s a good chance you’ll be oblivious to the amount of food your body really wants—until it’s too late.
There’s yet a third reason that eating quickly can muck up portion control: it can affect the metabolizing process. If you’re eating quickly because you’re stressed out or on-the-go, then the body is directing energy away from the digestion process, and toward handling the stress or movement. Thus the body isn’t able to efficiently use the calories you’re consuming.
Here’s Why Changing Your Eating Pace is Tricky
If a lot of this seems like common sense, then ask yourself, are you still doing it? For me, I continued to fall into the fast-eating trap even after I had consciously decided not to. In the bustle of daily life, it seems that habits just kick in and do the eating for us.
For some people, eating habits formed as far back as childhood. For others, they’ve been formed by a fast-paced lifestyle. Here are a few possible scenarios:
1 – You grew up with fast eaters. Growing up in a big household or with other fast eaters meant eating REALLY WAS a race. When I went to a pizza party at one of my childhood friends’ houses, she instructed me to eat as much pizza as I could get my hands on, or it would be gone. Indeed, by the time I went back for a second slice, she and her sisters had devoured all of the (three entire) pizzas. To this day she still eats extremely fast, as if still fighting for food, and she continues to struggle with her weight.
2 – You don’t like food. If you don’t have a good relationship with a particular food, or food in general, you’re likely to eat faster. Maybe you find eating a chore and want to get it over with. Or maybe you formed a belief early on that healthy food is less tasty (Brussels sprouts!), so by scarfing it you don’t have to taste it.
3 – Your schedule is crazy. Possibly the most common scenario is that we’re in the habit of being in “go” mode. Frequently eating on the run, or at a desk while stressed out, forms a pattern that seems to follow us back home to the dinner table.
No matter the reason you eat quickly, it puts the amount of calories you consume beyond your control. A bad position to be in when you’re trying to lose weight!