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Slow Down Your Life to Slow Down Your Eating

  • Eating

I’ve blogged about slowing down eating, but it’s hard to do if you’re someone who generally races around at warp speed. If you tend to be productivity oriented, you may unintentionally zip through life—cleaning, putting away groceries, paying bills, driving, brushing your teeth, walking, and gassing up the car. And you might have a hard time slowing down eating because you’re accustomed to doing everything in fast forward.

I know this because, though I taught myself to eat slowly, I used to do most other things quickly. When I worked at my first job after social work school, my colleagues would see me zipping toward them and flatten themselves against the wall yelling, “Watch out, here she comes.” And I’ve had more black and blue marks on my body than most people from bumping into things I wouldn’t have bumped into if I’d been moving at a more reasonable pace.

I understand how I became habituated to racing around. My father, whom I take after, was the same way and I modeled myself after him. Do you understand what makes you addicted to moving fast? It usually happens when a parent or both are speed demons, and you naturally think that fast is the only motion setting. Or maybe one parent was a dawdler and the other yelled at them, so you avoided criticism by speeding up. 

For most folks, including myself, doing everything fast is nothing but a habit based on an underlying need to feel productive. Think about how much of a habit it is for you and whether you’d like to slow down. After my last run in with a wall while turning a corner, I decided that was it. I simply didn’t want to continue doing everything quickly and have made great progress in slowing down. I’m doing better at catching myself zipping along and purposefully slowing my stride—and have fewer bumps and bruises because of it.

Now that I’m in touch with how fast I move, I’m alert to that inner pressure that pushes me to go, go, go—usually for absolutely no reason at all. When I feel as if someone is pushing me forward, I now stop, stand still for a moment, and throw my shoulders back to elevate my awareness of purposefully slowing down. I take a breath and happily resume whatever I was doing, but more slowly.

Once you recognize this habit, have a serious think with yourself about whether it benefits you or not and how ingrained this behavior is. Set an intention every day when you awaken to move more slowly. Ask friends, family and colleagues to gently point out when you’re in Indie 500 mode. At the end of every day, consider your success in shifting into a lower gear. And notice if you’re eating is slowing down as well.