Growing up a competitive swimmer and heavily training at least 8 times a week (With lovely 430am rises! ) I was blessed with a ferocious appetite. When I finished training I would scrounge around for the closest morsel of food to replenish my last training session. Not only did I learn (and need!) large quantities of food, but I could also woof down my meal quicker than a commercial break.

Many of my clients often mention to me that they have a problem with their speed of eating. One the other day mentioned he finished his meal and was greeted with the noise of crickets as he patiently waited for everyone else to finish. What is the problem with this? Often it will lead to overeating because you will go back for more…

And then it hits you. Time to cuddle up on the lounge and have a nap. Or feelings of guilt settle in. And for some, with feelings of guilt come brilliant ideas like “I can just skip the next meal or snack” or “I will deprive myself of carbs next meal” and that’s when we really start to put a spanner in our metabolism and weight loss/maintenance efforts.

Slow it down:

Don’t skip meals or hold out for hours on end for your meal so that you are starving and ready to demolish the meal when it is put infront of you.

Minimise all distractions: Don’t eat infront of the television, whilst madly chop stick typing out a university assessment or replying to a long list of work emails. You need to pay attention to what you are eating.

Don’t shovel in the next mouthful until you have completely chewed and swallowed the last. Put your fork down on the table between mouthfuls.

Always sit down to your meal with a big glass of cold refreshing water. Use this to moderate your eating speed by taking a break to slow down and have a sip at intervals throughout the meal.

Taste the flavour, see, smell and appreciate the texture (mouthfeel) of your food.

Try eating using your knife and fork in the opposite hands (fork in right, knife in left… now that’s co-ordination!)

Dedicate at least 20 minutes to finish your meal

When you are finished… WAIT. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that you are full. Put that food on layby and see how hungry you feel 30 minutes post meal.

So there you go, have a happy meal time!