Pick up any article on the obesity problem in the country, and you'll read about the fact that, as Americans, we're eating way too much food.
What the article may not mention is that we're eating all that food way too fast. And that's a significant part of the problem: when we eat food so fast, we don't give our bodies time to begin digesting it.
After we begin a meal, it takes about 20 minutes for our food to begin to work its way into our blood, changing the levels of sugars and other nutrients there. So if we eat a meal in 15 minutes, you could actually still be hungry, even after a full helping.
This strategy, the 25-Minute Meal, invites you to slow down your eating so that you extend the meal past the digestion point. Basically, you're going to eat your meals in 25 minutes, a job made more difficult by the fast-food mentality of our culture.
For this technique, an inexpensive kitchen timer would be ideal and worth what you pay for it (which will be less than the cost of most restaurant meals). If you don't have a timer, use a watch.
Timing Your Meal
1. At the beginning of the meal, set your timer for 25 minutes. (Or notice the time on your watch and determine when 25 minutes will be up.)
2. As you take the first bite, start the timer. The goal is to make this meal last the full 25 minutes.
3. Eat each bite slowly, carefully and mindfully. Use the BMB techniques as much as possible. Allow yourself to really enjoy your food!
4. Insert pauses between bites; this will stretch out the eating experience.
5. Take a deep look at your food at the 12-minute mark. You should be about halfway done. If you're more than halfway, you'll have to slow down even more. If you're less than halfway, job well done!
6. At the 20-minute mark, you still have 5 minutes to go. No, dessert does not count here. If you want dessert, that will be outside the 25 minutes. You may have to be extra deliberate during this last 5 minutes to have that last bite remaining at the end of the time.
7. At the end of 25 minutes, stop eating. If you've just finished the last bite of food on your plate, you have done well. If you still have food on your plate, let it go. You will likely not miss it.
8. Dessert is extra: if you choose to have dessert, give yourself an extra 10 minutes to eat it. Once again, take your time, and don't feel that you have to eat every bite of the dessert.
The 25-minute meal is designed to wake you up to the entire rhythm and velocity of your eating. It will bring awareness to an aspect of eating that you normally give over to habit and hurry. As you become comfortable with this technique, you might extend this to 30 or 35 minutes.