Two minutes became 5, 5 became 10, and finally, about a week after I’d begun putting on the brakes, I set my timer for the 20 minutes and when the bell sounded, there was enough food left on my plate to mulch a garden. It felt great.
I then practiced making my lunches and dinners last 20-minutes. In a restaurant, I observed the paintings on the wall, the candles and flowers on the table. I listened to the cacophony of other diners conversing. I gorged on ambiance, not food. If I was alone, I practiced eating slower. In that way, I’d be completely comfortable eating slowly when I was with others.
A 20-Minute Meal will not be handed to you, but it is a luxury worth attempting. Four or five days can pass during which every meal is relaxing and pleasant. Then my schedule shifts and I might not be able to eat a leisurely lunch. Dinner is rushed as I need to eat is on the way to a meeting. Though life inevitably gets in the way, I try to create as many relaxing 20-Minute Meals, as possible.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner can become an oasis in the middle of your busy schedule. You’re entitled to three, 20-Minute Meals – one hour a day – when you’re doing something special for yourself. You are worth it.
When I eat slowly, the meal is peaceful and I often leave food on my plate. I’m filling up sooner because I am smaller. Eating slowly enables me to identify the feeling of satisfaction and to leave something on my plate, when appropriate. When I take the time to slow down, I feel stress falling from my shoulders and inches from my waist.
The new way is my comfortable and preferred way. Now, if I eat too rapidly, I feel unsatisfied, cheated, distressed, deprived, out-of-control, and physically uncomfortable. This further reinforces how important it is for me to slow down when I eat.
I used to be the first person at the table to finish everything on my plate. Because I ate so rapidly, I did not give my body time to process the food, or to send signals of satiation to my brain. It took many weeks of concentrated effort to achieve my slowest-fork-on-the-block status. I am no longer the one looking for second or third helpings, nor do I always look for dessert, coffee, or something else with which to end a meal.
When asked about the 20-Minute Meal, one person I teach gleefully answered: “Oh. It’s so civilized.” And so it is.
* * * * *
“I had just started using a fork and now I’m urged to put it down, but I do eat less and it’s fine. I’m learning.” Jenny S
“Slowing down was enormously helpful. And writing it all down was such an eye-opener. Amazing I didn’t weigh more.” Olive
Here is the 20-Minute Meal Chart.
Conquer your food Addiction
The 20-minute meal instruction sheet
|Stretch before every meal, even one item meals.
||Be present at mealtime.
||End meal by putting the utensils down.
|Say to yourself: It’s going to be okay. I’m fine It will be enough. I really want to weigh ____ pounds.
||Cut small bites.
||Push the plate one or two inches away from you.
|Deep breathe once or twice until completely relaxed
||Eat food individually.
||Push your chair back an inch or two.
|Re-Commit to your goal.
||Don’t shovel a spoonful of anything. Take human bites.
||Either remove plate or have someone else remove it for you.
|Acknowledge that speed eating does not work
||Put utensils down between bites.
||Acknowledge that what you ate was enough.
|Plan in advance the category of food you’re going to order out or prepare at home.
||Sip water between bites.
||Feel the satisfaction.
|Plan in advance the Number of items you’re going to order.
||Ask questions of your companions, and stop eating while they answer.
||Leave the table.
|Plan in advance whether to have a Filler or not.
||It alone, count to 20 or 30 before picking up your utensils again.
||Brush your teeth if possible.
|Plan the repatterning techniques you’re going to use if your original plan is not working.
||Make sure your mouth is empty before inserting more food.
||Go for a walk if possible.
|When eating, wear tight clothes.
||Reward yourself with a food-free present if you achieved your mealtime goals.
|Buckle your belt on “snug.”
||Give thought to the next meal’s plan.
||Leave food on plate.
||Rewrite this sheet into your logbook and read it during meals when you are alone. If eating with others, read prior to mealtime.
||Ask yourself during the meal if you’re still hungry.
||Leave the table if you’re eating too much, too late, too fast.
Unrealistic expectations can cause failure
Why not acknowledge small incremental improvements, times when you did better at one meal, one day, or one event than you might have? Focus only on what you did, not on what you thought you should have done.
Strategies to Stop Eating Junk Food !
There are no easy ways to fix junk food habits and make them into healthy habits, but I do have 7 quick strategies that you can easily put into place to start into motion your new lifestyle without junk food.
The Ritual of Food Addiction
If you’ve been trying to figure out the weight-loss game for as long as I’ve been coaching people – twenty five years – you’ve most likely been trying to avoid food, even though that point of view has not worked.
Good Food/Bad Food What's Left to Eat?
What's Good Today is Bad Tomorrow: What Can I Eat? We've entered the Twilight Zone when it comes to the multitude of diets being promoted today.
This article is an excerpt from the book Conquer Your Food Addiction authored by Caryl Ehrlich. Caryl also teaches The Caryl Ehrlich Program, a one-on-one behavioral approach to weight loss in New York City. Visit her at http://www.ConquerFood.com
to know more about weight loss and keep it off without diet, deprivation, props, or pills. Caryl welcomes questions or comments about this article and the behavioral methods she incorporates into her weight loss program.