S l o o o o o w Eating Games
The audio walkthrough has some slow eating games (listed below). Follow along, choose whichever work for you - and ditch the others.
Always remember that slow eating is a practice, NOT a perfect
NB You will need a timer for games 4 & 5 (use the one on your phone)
If the player doesn't work, just copy and paste this webpage address into your browser:
Games In This Walkthrough
- Deep breath before a mouthful
- Taste Detective
- Box Eating
- One Minute Mouthful
- Beat The Clock Backwards
- The Slo Mo Filmstar
UPDATE AUGUST 2019
I now recommend diaphragm breathing instead of box breathing for really optimising digestion. You can read the instructions here
However, if you are feeling super stressed and hungry, and are more likely to do box breathing (it is simpler), then choose that.
Experiment - which one is better?
To Be Aware Of...
We are aiming to eat without distraction. This means no phone, no book, no TV, no newspaper.
...Ok, I get it. You are not going to do this 24/7. One of these games actually involves eating at a PC. And eating with others can be a way to check out and escape being present.
However, it is really important that you get in the habit of regularly eating as an activity in its own right. The games are designed to help you do this.
Photo by Andre Guerra
More or Less
Best for food you eat with a spoon. In this game, you vary the amount of food you eat in each mouthful.
Spoonful 1 = tiny (a quarter of a spoonful)
Spoonful 2 = twice the amount of #1
Spoonful 3 = twice spoonful #2 (whole spoonful)
...and repeat for the whole meal. Start with say just a couple minutes of this game at the start of a meal. See how it plays with your perceptions of how much a whole spoonful feels like! Like an optical illusion for the soul!
This is an add on to any other slow eating game. It helps you extend the time you spend eating.
Look at Ross’ face when he finds out Rachel is pregnant:
NB Sometimes YouTube videos disappear. If you cannot view this, just search 'Rachel tells Ross she's pregnant' in YouTube.
Now imagine he is eating (and has his mouth closed) when she tells him the big news. He probably would not chew for a few seconds.
Ross Face is when you pretend you have just heard some surprising news in the middle of a meal. Just hold the food in your mouth for say 10 seconds and do not chew it. Surprisingly satisfying!
The 1 Minute Spoonful
This is great when you are pretty hungry.
Load up a spoonful of food. You are going to take a minute to eat it, but instead of putting it all in your mouth at once, take a say 4 to 6 nibbles nibbles of the food, and see if you can stretch it out to a minute.
No joy? How about 45 seconds?
This is my new favourite replacement for the 1 Minute Mouthful. Try it!
The Multitasker's Half an Hour
This is less of a game and more of a practice. If you liked the 1 Minute Mouthful, this may well appeal to you.
Everytime you eat, no matter if it a satsuma or a main course, you take half an hour to eat it.
You are allowed to do other things while you eat - just make sure that you take 30 minutes to clear your plate.
In practice, this is how I play this game: I will be deep in creating a podcast script or blog post and suddenly realise I am starving. I am loathe to stop working because the idea could slip away from me if I don't commit it to the page. So I take my food, place it next to the desk and set http://www.e.ggtimer.com/
(If I am not using the scree it is great to have the timer in large font on the screen!)
and possibly my A Forest https://www.forestapp.cc/en/ app if I don't need to use my phone.
As I start to eat, I divide the food on my plate into 2 mentally or by creating a dividing space with my fork down the middle of the plate. I know that I have to wait 15 mins before I can start the second half. If I eat too fast too early, I just set the plate aside out of reach until 15 mins has passed.
IMPORTANT: It is bad practice to eat all of your meals at work like this, but when needs must it is better than self sabotaging. And only YOU can decide if this game slows you down enough.
Do this when you are eating with someone who naturally eats more slowly than you do.
Your aim is simple: finish your food after they finish theirs. You use them to pace yourself.
Do not tell them that this is what you are doing, or the whole thing could get a bit tense. It is quite fun to make it a secret competition!
Take a deep breath then cut a piece of your food as if you are about to eat it.
Now cut it in half and eat it.
Next mouthful - can you go smaller? See how tiny you can go.
The 5 Second Chew
This takes focus, but if you are really uncomfortable being present while you eat, that may be exactly what you want.
Do this game with a salad that has celery in it. Celery because it is incredibly crunchy and that really helps.
What you do: Chew a mouthful of food once. That means grind your food up by bringing your jaw together...once. Look at the clock and wait 5 seconds. Now you can chew it again.
Wait another 5 seconds until the next chew and so on.
I created this game today (Jan 2020) and had about a 60% success rate...BUT it did really slow down my eating time.
Try it, you might like it!
Eating To The Point of Energy
This comes from Eastern philosophy. I learnt this during my eating psychology training, but it is hard to find any info on it online.
Eating to the point of energy is when you commit to eating until you are 80% full. The idea is that the extra 20% gives you extra energy.
Before I first tried this, I was flummoxed. How would I know when I was 80% full? But I had a go anyway. I set the intention to eat to 80% fullness then went into a sort of self observational mode.
That mode made me slow down naturally, without effort. At some point a kind of voice said that I had had enough. It was kind of amazing!
What I realised is that with this activity, you need to be in a relatively aware, present state of mind to begin with. So try this after meditating, during a day off.
Some Thoughts on If The Games Start To Wear A Bit Thin
I invented all of these slow eating games, and I am proud of how they are a great 'in' to allow you to prove to yourself that you can actually slow down when you eat. However, I never really stuck to any of them for a great deal of time in the same way that Buzzfeed has eye catching headlines but you soon get bored of all that link bait.
Recently, as part of The Shapeshifting programme, I have created a simple guideline for myself: to take a minimum time for each meal. I set my timer and make sure my last mouthful goes in when I reach that minimum time. You can hear my audio for that here
It may be that for you games are a great idea for beginners, but a simple rule like stick to the minimum time is what works longterm. Try both and see which is more effective.
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