In June, I decided to eat slower than I usually do.
This is something I have been mindful of for a long time. Now I wanted to be consistent with it.
How did this experiment come to be?
You see, since January 2019 I have been running a new personal growth experiment every month (except for a short break in early 2020).
This is to force myself to improve the value I get out of my life, in whatever small way, so that I can be more useful to myself and those around me.
The premise is that 1% daily improvement compounded every 365 days makes you 37 times better. Hard to believe but this is how math works.
This is also part of my other experiments with food to give it the importance it deserves. Because we become what we eat.
Those experiments are not woo-woo diet experiments that you see around but mostly ‘return to simple’ and ‘basic’. I’ll write more on that some other time. For now, sharing these small bites that make the whole experiment.
For the experiment, I started by working to extend for how long I eat.
I changed it mid-way to record how long it took me to eat.
Both for the same outcome – be mindful during the times I ate, and slow down.
Why slow eating?
Because it increases the level of satisfaction you get after eating. It also reduces your cravings because your body is able to get nutrients out of your food when you chew it slowly. And, cravings are nothing but your body wanting to get its fill of nutrients when what you eat does not give to your body.
This is why junk food takes us on a never ending cycle of wanting more junk, because your body is always short on what it needs.
Back to the experiments, so I did not set a minimum or maximum amount of time that I needed to devote to eating.
I also did not set an arbitrary chewing count for each bite because I wanted to keep it enjoyable and not a chore.
At the time of starting this experiment, I was taking 10-12 minutes to finish my meals. So my goal with this experiment was to eat slower than this during lunch and dinner.
I did not include breakfast or evening snack time to this, to keep it simple and also because half the time, I don’t eat breakfast, and evening snacks are often very light, no more than ⅓ bowl of black grams and two cups of black coffee.
By the middle of the month, I realized that I was not following what I planned every single day so I changed my experiment to record the time to eat my lunch and dinner, instead of just being mindful about it.
The logic of this change was that in the past documenting what I did has helped me stick with whatever I was attemption. It also helps if I want to review later and see how I am progressing.
Better than just trying to visualize it inside my head.
What did I learn?
It is not too tough to eat slowly if you choose to do it.
Reduced cravings are a big side benefit.
How I fared?
Because my goal was documenting that I started during the middle of the month, and I documented it for full 9 days out of about 15 days, I consider the experiment a success.
You can see the spreadsheet with the results here.
At the time of this writing I am documenting it often, but I am almost always noticing how long I am taking to finish my meals. Hovering around 15 minutes.
If in a year’s time I am able to double it to 30 minutes it will be a big win. We’ll see 🙂