Question: I still eat too fast. What can I do to eat more slowly?
Several months after surgery, I had lunch with a friend. I ordered well and remembered not to drink while eating. As the conversation went on I realized that I was shoveling in bites of my salad like I always did when I enjoyed lunch out with her. That day, I understood what a great opportunity surgery is to learn how to eat again, the right way. I have since tried to be more conscious of how I eat. A year later, I think it is finally becoming a habit.
Immediately after bariatric surgery it is easy to portion our food, eat small bites and chew thoroughly. Anything else would be uncomfortable, but as time goes by, we heal and our bodies can handle more. That is where we need to be conscious of our eating and we need to do it all the time, for a very long time before it becomes second nature.
Adopting these practices will prevent overeating, aid with digestion, better indicate that feeling of fullness and it makes every meal taste better.
- No Multitasking While Eating – Eating in front of the computer or the TV is common for many people, but there is no question that we eat more when we multitask. It is important to be aware of every bite you take.
- Portion Your Food – It’s easy to have one last bite if it’s sitting on your plate. Portioning out your own food assures that all the food needed for that meal is in front of you so know what is needed at that meal. If you are still hungry, you can always go back for more.
- Use Small Plates and Utensils – This struck me as silly, but I have become a big fan of small plates and small utensils. With a junior sized fork I can’t accidentally start eating big bites. I feel like I have a bigger meal when things are on small plates. 4 ounces of protein looks huge when it’s sitting on an appetizer plate it must be eaten with a little fork. You can buy these on Amazon: small plates and utensils.
- Take Small Bites and Chew, Chew, Chew – Some nutritionists will tell you to chew every bite 20 times. That is not possible with all food, but it is something to aspire to. Making sure that every bite is chewed thoroughly helps digestion, prevents damage to your little pouch or sleeve early on and will fill you up much faster.
- Lay Your Fork Down Between Bites – It is difficult to remember to take breaks while eating, but it works! By taking some time between bites it allows you to assess whether you are feeling full, it helps with digestion and it reminds you to chew thoroughly. I don’t remember to do that between every bite, but I do aspire to taking as many short breathers as I can remember during a meal. I can notice the difference. I feel fuller with less food, I enjoy my food more and it keeps my mind on the task at hand, eating my meal.
- Enjoy Every Bite – I learned to do this when I started adding an occasional square of dark chocolate to my snack repertoire. Knowing 1 square is all I get, I make sure I take teensy bites and let them slowly melt in my mouth. I learned that I enjoy that chocolate far more than I did when I ate at will. I have since tried to notice and enjoy bites of everything. The more I pay attention and practice these rules the more I enjoy eating! I appreciate the cool crunch of a cucumber, the smooth creamy texture of my yogurt or the perfect spices I used to grill a chicken breast.