Making It A Habit

I excel in relaxation. Whether I’m vacationing on a tropical island or spending a weekend at home, I know how to relax and unwind. I enjoy it, and I don’t feel guilty about it.

But even during the week, I’ve noticed that time management is not my forte. Often times, I cut it close when showing up for meetings or spending time with friends. I watch my favorite TV shows on DVR because I’m never sure exactly when they air.
But last month I noticed one thing that I do without taking my time or relaxing, and that’s eating my food. I’m not talking about snacking or grazing. I’m talking about breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t eat particularly quickly. But I noticed that I would pick up my fork, and hold it continuously until I finished eating. I held it when I was eating and even when I was talking. I just never put my utensil down.
Soon after I noticed my habits at the dinner table, I started noticing the habits of the people around me. I watched strangers and friends, and I noticed that most of my friends who are in great shape put their forks down between most bites. They take a little longer to chew, and they drink water as opposed to other drinks. I drink water almost exclusively. I have no time for sodas or coffee, and I feel fuller than I did a year ago when I drank three cans or bottles or Dr. Pepper per day.
Anyway, I’ve decided to make a conscious effort, much like Jean Nidetch (founder of Weight Watchers) did. I’ve begun putting my fork down between bites — not every bite, but many. And while I still have to concentrate on doing such a thing, I am determined to make it a mindless habit.
I spend a lot of time exercising and preparing the right foods. Shouldn’t I give my body as many opportunities to feel satisfied as possible?
I measure my portions when I’m home and when I’m out. And while I have found that on some days, I feel full faster, the biggest change is that I know when I’m satisfied. By putting my fork down between bites, my brain has the opportunity to register that it’s full thus making it far less likely that I’ll overeat.
It may not seem like rocket science, but it’s taken several months of conscious effort to figure this out. Do you hold your fork continuously? Or do you take time to thoroughly chew and chat during your meals?

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Deb Willbethin
    February 13, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Huh. You know, I realized a few weeks ago that I continually hold my fork, too. I put my fork down when I realized that–but have forgotten about it since. Thanks for the reminder. I'll give it a more conscious effort! Deb

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  • Reply
    Weighting Around
    February 13, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Thanks, you made me aware that I do the same thing. My fork is in my hand until my plate is empty. And yes, I do eat too quickly. Time for me to slow down as well.

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  • Reply
    Mae Flowers
    February 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I'm pretty sure I hold my fork the entire time, but I'll have to pay attention. I have a habit of eating too quickly also.

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  • Reply
    WaistingTime
    February 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    This cracked me up because I am sooo the opposite – I am not good at relaxing and great at time management. (I even used to teach a class on it for my old company years ago.)

    Our meals, when my teens are with us, are too rushed. I should make them slow down too! And when we don't all eat together we eat with something to read or the TV on. Not paying attention to the food. A big No No. Maybe I can get inspired by your post today:)

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  • Reply
    Annie
    February 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I just found your blog a few days ago and I love it! I continuously hold my fork. Today I'm starting WW again, so I hope that this post will help me be more aware of my bad habits, too. Thanks!

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  • Reply
    MackAttack
    February 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    you know, I haven't paid attention. I will now. Thanks for pointing it out!

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  • Reply
    Beth P.
    February 13, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    What a great post! I pay no attention to HOW I eat, but I'm going to try now. I'm willing to bet I'm the same way you used to be. Interesting.

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  • Reply
    Diz
    February 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    A few weeks ago I went to a dinner where the foods weren't particularly healthy. It was one of the weeks I was particularly motivated so I decided to take the healthiest foods I could find out of the smoragsboard, and then, on top of that, eat those foods as slowly as possible so I would get full and not overeat, because those foods weren't that healthy that I did find. While I was struggling to eat slower and drink water and "relax" between bites, I started paying attention to everyone else there (about 10-15 people). I noticed the same thing; everyone else was eating 'painfully' slow, and drinking water, putting their forks down, chatting…etc. It was a huge realization to me because it was pretty much uncomfortable for me to eat that slow. Last night I went to din with the roomie and was starving so I pigged out. Afterwards, I remembered that experience and realized that I had eaten too fast and consequently too much again. Thanks for this reminder- this is definitely something I need to keep working on. 🙂 LOVES!

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