In our society we rush through everything we do. We rush through the entire day with no time for anything, zipping back and forth between tasks and responsibilities. When we finally have the time for a bit to eat we gobble it down without any regard to what we are eating or how it tastes.

All this rushing leads to a stressful, unhealthy lifestyle. But we need not live like this. With the simple act of eating slower we can change and live a more healthy life.

This is not very hard. To eat slower you eat smaller bites, you chew your bits slowly and for a longer period, and you enjoy the meal more fully and longer. It extends the time of each meal by a few minutes and can have profound effects.

Here are a few reasons you should consider eating slower:

1. Weight loss. When you eat slower you will consume fewer calories, according to a growing number of scientific studies. You will eliminate enough calories to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating any differently. This happens because when you eat slowly you allow your brain the time is needs – 20 minutes – to register that you are full. If you eat fast your brain does not acknowledge this point and you can continue eating past the point where you are full. If you eat slowly you will have time to realize when you are full and can stop eating on time.

2. Food enjoyment. It’s hard to enjoy food when you eat so quickly you swallow it whole. If you eat tasty foods that are high in calories (dessert, fried foods, etc.) but eat them quickly, what is the point? If you don’t have the chance to enjoy the food then there is no real reason to eat anything you enjoy. If you eat more slowly, you will get the taste, enjoy it, and not eat as much. Eating more slowly will make your meals a more pleasurable experience.

3. Lowered stress. By eating slowly and paying attention to the food you are eating you will be able to be in the moment. It is a great form of mindfulness where you notice everything you are doing instead of rushing through the meal thinking about the next thing you need to be doing. Instead of running that to do list through your head, when you eat you only eat. This act leads to less stress because you are taking a break and not obsessing over the food. You mind will appreciate the break and the slower meal.

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