Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

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Slow Down Eating

Need one more reason to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n y-o-u-r e-a-t-i-n-g? According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, eating fast reduces the release of hormones which help regulate appetite. Makes sense. Eating quickly is a learned behavior. The natural way to eat is to chew thoroughly and taste food so that your body can respond to what and how much you’re eating.

Eating quickly is nothing more than a bad habit. In fact, compared to sitting with intense emotions and changing irrational beliefs about food, eating, and weight, it’s, well, a piece of cake. What I’m saying is that it is one of the easier behaviors to change. So what prevents you from slowing down and eating at a more leisurely pace? The fact that most speed eating is unconscious and automatic. You’re so used to gobbling up food and paying so little attention to your actions, that you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

However, the payoff for slowing down is multi-fold. When you de-celerate, your entire body relaxes, heightening sensory pleasure. Here are several ways to help focus your attention on the speed at which you eat and become more conscious of slow-motioning the whole activity. Before you start to eat, notice your posture. Make sure you’re sitting up straight and that you’re not hunched over, with your face hovering inches above your plate or the food. Release body tension. Breathe deeply. Before digging in, visualize yourself taking one small bite at a time, chewing slowly, savoring food, and resting between bites. With conviction, declare that you will eat slowly. Say it two more times.

As you eat, observe yourself. Chew your food a specific number of times—10, 20, 30, whatever it takes to really grind it into mush. Maneuver food onto your tongue and let it sit there. Notice taste and texture. Don’t talk. Simply focus on sensation. After swallowing, observe your level of satisfaction and fullness. Put down the food or utensils. Look up and around, don’t hunch over and dig into the food. Breathe or sip water between bites. If you’re tense, do a couple of neck rolls, think of something funny, or visualize being somewhere peaceful. Ask yourself, Am I enjoying this food?

This process works best when you’re not engaged in other activities, so I firmly recommend having at least one food interaction a day doing nothing but eating. However, even when you’re eating with distractions, make an effort to slow down. Anyone can learn to eat at a more leisurely pace and, frankly, there’s no excuse not to do it. Once you teach yourself to eat slower, you’ll wonder why you ever ate so fast.

Decision Making
Diet and Your Mood

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This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.