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Eating Fast to Save Time Is Shortening Your Life

Eating Fast to Save Time Is Shortening Your Life

Brits only spend 41 minutes of their day, total, to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. To break that down, that means an average eating time of 8 minutes for breakfast, 13 minutes 45 seconds for lunch, and 19 minutes 27 seconds for breakfast.[1]

Americans take just a bit more time, with an average of one hour and 14 minutes a day spent eating the three major meals.[2]

While any one of us could easily justify the need for speed when it comes to eating (after all, there are always so many more things to get done in a day!), people who eat too quickly are likely to become obese, or develop metabolic syndrome, both of which increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke – all of which can be deadly.[3]

Your Body on Eating Fast

When you rush through a meal, no matter what time of day it is, your digestive system can’t keep up. When that happens, it can’t trigger the little flags in your brain that let you know you’re full. Inevitably, you overeat.

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    When you’ve ingested something, it takes a while for your stomach to catch up anyway – about 20 minutes, in fact. The process doesn’t start until your stomach begins to stretch. So if you slow down and give yourself a little more time, you may find that if you stop eating sooner, you won’t eat excess foods.

    Eating slower gives your stomach more time to start working on the food

      Think about the last time you were really hungry. Once you got your hands on food, you probably found yourself capable of eating just about everything in sight, and doing it quickly! You also probably suffered from serious heartburn later on. This is due to your stomach trying to catch up with the pace at which you were sending all that food down.

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      Eating slower and taking at least 20 minutes to eat at a time, allows your digestive tract to get a head start in the process of digesting the food.

      Additionally, when you eat too quickly, air gets into your stomach and overloads it. While this can produce more acid leading to heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it can also make you embarrassingly gassy.

      Eating at a slower pace can help you enjoy your meal

      Granted, you’ll already enjoy your food more if you don’t have heartburn, GERD, gas and bloating, but slowing down when you’re enjoying a meal can help you savor whatever it is you’re eating, as it allows you to be more aware.

      You’ll find that you’re more aware of the texture, flavor and smell of the food, making the meal more interesting and memorable. This is especially great if you’re eating at a restaurant and you want to enjoy the moment.

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      How to Adapt the 20 Minute Eating Rule

        If you have a habit of eating a lot, and doing so quickly, you won’t change that overnight. However, there are plenty of tips you can use to improve the time you take to eat a meal and eat as slow as 20 minutes for each meal.

        1. Choose high-fiber foods that take more time to chew

        What could you eat faster, raw broccoli or a breadstick? The high fiber, fresh veggie will take you longer to eat, simply because of its texture. Plus, the nutrients will fill you up faster! While you’re learning to slow down your eating habits, you’ll also be building some really healthy ones!

        2. Put down your utensils between bites

        This tip can feel daunting, but it isn’t as bad as you might think. In between bites, set down your utensil. It’s a small move, but the action forces you to slow down, even the smallest amount, and really focus on checking in with your body to determine if you’re full or not yet.

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        3. Try setting a minimum number of chews per bite

        When you aren’t breaking down your food into tiny pieces, it can be very challenging to digest later on. Try to set a minimum number of chews per bite. This can be five or thirty-five, whatever feels best to you. Once you get into the habit, you won’t even have to count anymore.

        4. Find another slow eater and pace yourselves to them

        If you are aware you eat quickly, it’s probably because someone you dine with has pointed it out to you. The next time you eat with them, focus on the pace in which they consume their meal and match up to them. You don’t have to mirror them to the point they are uncomfortable, just find some self-awareness.

        5. Talk with people who eat with you and slow down your eating pace

        Be sociable. When you’re dining with someone, carry on a conversation. You’ll be amazed at how much less you need to eat to feel full.

        Slow and Steady Wins

        As you approach your next meal, and every meal thereafter, try to treat the experience like a memory to be made. If you go into the experience aware of the need to make it memorable, you may find yourself having an easier time slowing down to eat.

        No matter how you have to train yourself to slow down, you’ll be grateful you took the time to do so. No meal and no rushed timeline is worth losing your health.

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Jolie Choi

        Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

        1. Create a Daily Plan

        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

        3. Use a Calendar

        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

        4. Use an Organizer

        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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        5. Know Your Deadlines

        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

        6. Learn to Say “No”

        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

        7. Target to Be Early

        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

        8. Time Box Your Activities

        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

        11. Focus

        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        12. Block out Distractions

        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

        13. Track Your Time Spent

        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

        15. Prioritize

        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        16. Delegate

        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

        For related work, batch them together.

        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
        2. coaching
        3. workshop development
        4. business development
        5. administrative

        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

        19. Cut off When You Need To

        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

        More Time Management Techniques

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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